You know the No. 1 rule of muscle-building nutrition: Eat enough protein to maximize muscle growth. That means at least a gram of protein for each pound of bodyweight each day, minimum. That also means using protein powders at certain times of the day, like around workouts, because they’re more quickly digested. To find the products that are right for you, consider the following when choosing protein supplements.
Look for protein products that emphasize whey isolate.
Whey protein is one of the best fast-digesting forms of protein for fueling muscle growth, and it’s also the most common type of protein supplement available. Look for whey protein isolate as the primary ingredient in your product — it’s the most pure form of whey protein. Whey protein hydrolysate is also a good option because it digests even faster than isolate.
Check to see how much protein is in the product.
Whey protein products don’t often promote this, but they also contain carbs and fat. Obviously, you want a protein product that’s primarily made up of protein. To find out just how much protein your supplement contains, use the label to find the percentage of calories from protein. To calculate this, divide protein grams per serving by total grams per serving. Quality protein products are at least 80 percent protein.
Consider add-ons and other ingredients.
Often, protein products contain other ingredients, like individual amino acids, digestive enzymes or probiotics. These may support better muscle building, but they also may increase the price of your product. And they’ll lower the percent protein per serving, which may be fine because you’ll be getting additional beneficial ingredients. Consider whether these individual add-ons are important to you when choosing your protein product.