The Best and Worst Protein Powders

5 min read


Ever been to the gym and seen people talking about their favourite type of protein powder?  Want to join the conversation but don’t know how, join us to find out how.  


First and foremost, protein isn’t for everyone.  But if you’re serious about your training and gains for days from your workouts, you may need protein supplementation to achieve your protein macros for the day.  


Why do I need protein?
The science behind muscle growth all comes down to muscle protein synthesis, in other words, how protein helps your muscles grow.  For all you science academics, muscle protein synthesis doesn’t create new muscle cells, instead it creates a state of something called hypertrophy and in this state, individual muscle cells increase in size.  There are three main components to muscle growth that work together:
  1. Exercise-induced micro-injuries - sometimes referred to by the rest of us as sore legs after leg day
  2. Naturally occurring hormone’s, including testosterone and growth hormones
  3. Sufficient diet containing enough protein to meet the demands placed on your body


How much protein do I need?
We’re fans of Mike Matthews, the founder of Legion Athletics and his go to formula for anyone that trains for muscle growth.  You should be looking at between 1.3-1.8 grams of protein per kilo of body weight.  For example, if you whey (sorry, that joke had to come up once in this article), weigh 80kg, then your daily intake of protein should be 104 grams to 144 grams.  Using MyFitness Pal, here’s some typical examples of the amount of protein you could have with a meal: 
If you’re looking deeper into your nutrition like how to balance your macros, we highly recommend buying the Mike Matthew’s book Bigger, Leaner, Stronger.


Isn’t all protein powder the same?
Without getting into the nitty gritty of artificial sweeteners, fillers, xanthum gum that causes tummy trouble and supplement BS, let’s focus on the main types of protein powder you can get:
  • Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) - is usually the least processed and consequently is usually cheaper.  The lack of processing does mean you’ll often find higher fat and lactose levels along with varying amounts of whey protein from 30%-89%.  Great for beginners, not so great for digestion due to the higher levels of lactose.  
  • Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) - is processed further to yield a higher percentage of whey protein to yield at approximately 90-95%.  This means less fat and less carbohydrates, and a bigger price tag along with easier digestion.  
  • Whey Protein Hydrolyzed (WPH) - is processed further again by using special enzymes to break peptides down into smaller ones to help your body absorb and assimilate protein faster.  Additional processing means, yep you guessed it, the highest price tag.  There is varying information out there on the benefits of the higher price tag including potential destroying of some whey protein health benefits along with a 2-5% improvement in whey protein, which in comparison to the higher price tag, sometimes doesn’t stack up.
Isn’t Whey just Whey?
Yes you’ve heard of all the fancy terms like GMO free, antibiotic-free, hormone free and grass fed.  While the first three can be proven fairly easily, grass fed, isn’t as straight forwards.  Grass fed cows could be grass fed for 1 day or for their whole life, plus “Grass fed” isn’t something that’s regulated on a global scale.  The key thing to look for in any milk is the amount of somatic cells. These cells are white blood cells and the more of these present in a cow’s milk, the sicker the cow.  There is clear evidence in studies that show cows that eat more grass (instead of grains or soybeans, have more nutritious milk and beef [15][16][17].  


The bottom line, if you’re expecting high quality whey, you would want it to come from a healthy cow.  


We hope this article has helped you feel more confident about being able to converse about whey protein.  Take the time to know what you’re putting in your body.  


In the mean time, why not try our Legion Athletics Whey+ (WPI)?  And insider’s tip, if you’re always having your Legion Athletics Whey+ in a shake, try our Unflavoured Whey+ (it’s cheaper!).



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