Supplementing your daily fitness regime with suitable supplements like protein is always advised - to boost performance, muscle growth and support weight loss.
With an abundance of choice available in the market plus a new brand being launched every other day, it can often be difficult to find a protein that is best for you. Just one wrong choice could potentially damage your results or worse, damage physical health! So, this guide is definitely going to come in handy.
Buy only from reputable companies that are committed to quality and transparency.
How do you know if a company is reputable or not? One way is the number of years that they have been in this field. If a company is in this industry for over 20 years and well recognized in their respective field, there is a good chance that they are not cutting corners when it comes to product quality.
Although this is NOT always the scenario. Some large, well-established companies have been caught using inferior protein sources to reduce their costs and increase profit margin. Look out for certifications and transparent labeling.
Read the label carefully
✔ Protein Source
- Check the Primary protein source coming from.
- Choose whey protein over any other protein as it has the highest biological value, fastest absorbing protein as well as has all 22 amino acids including the highest amount of BCAA for muscle growth.
- Whey Isolate and Whey Peptides / Hydrolyzed are always a superior choice among all proteins. Try to avoid Whey protein concentrates, Milk protein and Plant-based proteins like pea protein or soy protein
✔ Ingredient List
- The ingredient list should be as short as possible -- the cleaner, the better.
- If a product does not disclose the necessary information, they do not want you to know the answer. That makes it in a no-buy list!
- Some Common fillers (cheap substitutes) in protein supplements are Whey Protein Concentrates (WPC), Skim Milk Powders, Milk Solids, Soy Protein, Pea protein, Gluten, Dextrin, Maltodextrins Vegetable oils and fats, gums, coconut flour or psyllium etc.
✔ Protein Content
Select a protein with minimal “fillers” … like carbs, lactose, Fat, the higher the % of protein the better. Look at the serving size and protein per serving and calculate protein %.
Let’s do the math: For example – a protein supplement serving size is 31 gm and you get 25 gm protein per serving.
Protein % = Protein(gm)/Serving ✕ 100 Serving Size (gm)
Protein % = 25 gm ✕ 100 31gm= 81%
The higher Protein %, the higher protein amount per serving and fewer fillers. A protein %, up to 85% considered as best.
Some products have a protein percentage as high as 93%. These would certainly be false label claims or made through Cheap Ion exchange method and the product is flat out lying to its innocent consumers.
It’s commercially impossible to produce a product with more than 85% protein after adding the flavors, emulsifiers, sweeteners and additives like cocoa and enzymes.
Quality Assurance Certification
1. Third Party Lab Tested certification
Always look for a supplement that is certified and verified by a recognized third-party.
❝ Third Party Lab tested certification means an independent organization (NABL Accredited) has reviewed and evaluated the product and has independently determined that the final product contains the ingredients advertised on the label as well as do not contain toxic substances such as arsenic, bacteria, pesticides residues, or lead. ❞
It is a way of being transparent so that you know that you can count on supplements when you need them most. Afterall protein supplements are not just palatable, it should also be safe for your body.
2. Internationally Recognized Certification: Informed Choice and Informed Sports
No one wants to buy a supplement that contains illegal stimulants, steroids or banned substances. Even unintentionally consuming a supplement with banned substances could be a career-ending mistake and should not take any chances.
Therefore, those concerned with banned substances and contaminants like athletes should look for products certified with Informed sports and Informed choice. These are two of the most respected independent testing organizations around.
• Informed Sports Certification - A quality assurance test that certifies every batch of product ingredient has tested and cleared for banned substances in the sports by WADA which is the World Anti-Doping Agency.
• Informed Choice Certification - - - A quality assurance test that the certifies your supplement has been ‘skip-lot’ tested (at least once a month tested) for banned substances by world-class sports anti-doping Agency.
By using these strict certifications, supplement companies make sure that every product they are selling is unquestionably legal.
3. Mandatory Quality Assurance Certification in India:
• FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) certification- facilitate food safety and regulate the manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import of food.
4.Other Quality Assurance Certifications are:
• HACCP certified – It is an International standard defining the requirements for effective control of food safety.
• cGMP Compliant – Its certification means the product making process is reviewed and complies with specific standards for Food safety and quality.
• ISO 22000:2005 Quality Assurance – sets out the requirements for a food safety management system. Also, ensure that food is safe at the time of human consumption.
• Gluten Free certification – certifies product has been tested by a third party and contain less than a limited quantity of gluten.
Buying certified supplement is one way to ensure the quality of the product as well as to avoid fake and cheap quality products available in the market.
Mixability, Taste and Sweetness
With advances in flavor and texture, manufacturing companies have started making delicious protein supplements in a wide variety of flavors with smoother texture and consistencies like never before! With wide options ranging from vanilla, chocolate, strawberry to swiss milk chocolate, Mango lassi, Mocha cappuccino….and so on. They taste more like real milkshakes even without added milk. Find one that you can drink and enjoy on a regular basis.
❝ Stevia is a natural sweetener extracted from a plant leaves and 200 times sweeter than sugar but has no calories. It is absolutely safe for human consumption.❞
If possible, go for supplement sweetened with natural sweeteners like stevia leaf extract and do not contain harmful color and flavor.
Artificial sugars and colorings should be avoided. Since they are not adding anything positive, plus they might have possibly some harmful side effects including headaches, migraines, gastric distress, bloating and acid reflux.
Cost may be the most important factor for tight budget buyers, but its always better selecting supplement by checking above mentioned factors and comparing, not by how cheap it is.
Inferior quality proteins are mostly less expensive. Buying these may save your money, but you might sacrifice your health and performance.
Sometimes very expensive, heavily branded supplements made with the old formulation and cheap raw ingredients. In this case, it would make no sense to buy the expensive option because you would just be paying for the brand name. Instead, it’s worth trying brand with the new, innovative formulation and superior raw ingredients.
It is very important you choose the right protein powder that fit into your nutritional needs, support your health and performance in every way. Ignore all the marketing hype on the front of the package and go straight to the ingredients list and nutrition label. Look for high-quality protein source.
If you are buying protein, IT SHOULD BE PROTEIN! And it should be of the HIGHEST QUALITY! Avoid products with plant-based protein, lots of fillers and added sugar. FEWER INGREDIENTS = BETTER.
Select a protein supplement that are made from high-quality ingredients, safe, and must be third-party verified. Look for a supplement without added any unnecessary artificial color, flavor and sweeteners. And, of course, they should taste great.
At the end of the day, do some market research, check and compare supplements and take your time when it comes to choosing the protein powder that is RIGHT for YOU.