Protein up, brah.
Protein powder is an excellent whey (see what I did there?) to get pure muscle-building protein directly into your face after a workout. It is designed as an easy, fast, convenient method of protein delivery that you can just mix into water and chug down. If you are working out (or even if you aren’t!), it might be a great step for you to buy some protein powder and work it into your daily diet if you haven’t already. Trying to get 150 grams of protein per day is very difficult without it. You don’t have to just drink it, either – you can mix it into oatmeal, baked goods, milkshakes, or anything else that can stand up to a dose of dessert-flavored powder. It is a great nutritional tool.
However, not all proteins are created alike. I’ve tried five popular types of protein and have reviewed each of them below, then picked a winner based on flavor, texture or absorption into other substances, nutritional profile, and cost. If I’ve missed anything important, let me know.
DISCLAIMER: None of these companies know I exist or that I am reviewing their products. Nobody has bribed me to change my opinions. I do this purely for fun and for spreading the word. Amen.
1) Isolyn Whey Protein Isolate
Cheapest available from: This whey protein is manufactured by American Muscle, and can be purchased on their website.
Taste: Very clean, genuine flavor. Sweet, but not too sweet. I tried this in Chocolate, and it tasted like a low-fat chocolate milk. Comes in Vanilla, Chocolate, and Banana.
Texture: Excellent absorption into water, with a lighty, foamy texture and no graininess. Have not tried baking with it.
Nutrition: 1 scoop contains 26 grams of pure protein and 110 calories. No fat or cholesterol, and a negligible carbohydrate count. A nutritional powerhouse. Also sweetened naturally with stevia!
Cost: 30 servings for $49.99. (That’s $1.66/serving.)
2) MTS Machine Whey Protein
Cheapest available from: MTS is an exclusive product from tigerfitness.com.
Taste: Very tasty, almost dessert-like. Would drink this any day of the week. This comes in chocolate, which tastes like rich chocolate milk, and vanilla, which has a birthday-cake quality to it.
Texture: So thick it’s almost too rich. I don’t like super rich drinks, so I added a touch more water than recommended to thin it out a little bit, and then it was perfect for me. Great absorption with no chunks of protein floating at the top. I also tried making pancakes with a couple scoops of this mixed in, and they came out slightly dense but otherwise not noticeably different from regular pancakes.
Nutrition: One scoop has 140 calories and 25 grams of protein, along with a small amount of calcium. Also contains 3g fat, 5g carbs, and a whopping 20% of your daily recommended value of cholesterol.
Cost: 67 servings for $44.99. ($0.67/serving.)
3) Isoflex Whey Protein
Cheapest available from: Bodybuilding.com.
Taste: Has a somewhat frightful, bitter aftertaste . I’ve only tried this in chocolate, but it tainted everything it touched with vomit-scent. Comes in Arctic Orange Milkshake, Chocolate, Chocolate Mint Supreme, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Strawberry, Vanilla, and Banana Creme Supreme.
Texture: Thin and gritty. Improves vastly with the addition of milk rather than water. Doesn’t dissolve as well in baked goods and adds a spongey texture that is off-putting.
Nutrition: Varies between flavors. 1 scoop of chocolate contains 111 calories and 27 grams of protein. Also 1.5 mg cholesterol, 140 mg potassium.
Cost: 30 servings for $39.99 or 75 servings for $87.99. ($1.17/serving for the bigger jug.)
4) Gold Standard Whey
Cheapest available from: Bodybuilding.com. Also available in almost any GNC – very popular.
Taste: Nice flavor, sweet and drinkable with no nasty aftertaste. I’ve only tried this in chocolate. Comes in more flavors than Baskin fucking Robbins.
Texture: Absorbs pretty well, though there was a slight sediment at the bottom of my shaker bottle. Thick and rich.
Nutrition: Varies between flavors. 1 scoop of chocolate contains 120 calories and 24 grams of protein. Also can contain 60 mg of cholesterol (as much as the MTS) and 9% of your daily recommended value of sodium. (!?!?)
Cost: Anything from 14 servings for $14.99, all the way up to 154 servings for $104.99. ($0.76/serving for a 5-lb jug.)
5) Whole Foods Soy Protein Powder
Cheapest available from: Only available at Whole Foods.
Taste: Tastes like basically nothing, with a slight tinge of chocolate dust. Have only tried this in chocolate, thank God. Comes in chocolate and vanilla, neither of which I want anything to do with.
Texture: Literally did not dissolve at all in water, but hardened into a blob that floated in the middle of the bottle. Dissolves okay in baked goods, though.
Nutrition: I serving of chocolate contains 14 g protein and 130 calories, as well as some vitamins and a solid 39% of your daily value of iron.
Cost: Depends on the Whole Foods, but you couldn’t pay me to ever drink this again.
After trying all these brands and kinds of protein, I picked a winner in each category. The results were as follows:
Taste winner: MTS
Texture winner: Isolyn
With wins in two separate categories each, it would appear that the win is a tie between MTS and Isolyn. The question, really, is whether you are willing to pay more for a more pure product. This is just my personal opinion: I’ll be sticking with MTS. But hopefully I could shed some light on the protein world for you.