What Are the Best Whey Proteins for Women?
Last update on 2018-03-23 at 11:03 PST - Details
Women and Protein
So, you’re thinking that you might need some protein supplemented into your diet, but you’re not quite sure. You exercise and your eating habits are (mostly) pretty healthy, so do you actually need extra protein? And, if you do, what kind of protein supplement should you take and how should you take them—by pill form, a high-quality protein shake, a high-protein diet or something else? Even then, which brand or type should you be using of that specific kind of protein?
First off, there are many different protein supplements out there, such as soy protein, whey protein concentrate, casein protein, plant-based protein, amino acids and much more. Research shows that you can pretty much always use extra protein, especially if you exercise regularly, and there are several reasons for this. Protein is necessary for growth and repair of muscle tissue and also helps to supply materials needed for hormones and neurotransmitters.
Moreover, protein has the highest Thermic Effect of Food (TEF). This is the total number of calories it takes the human body to process and use a single nutrient. Protein has a TEF of 20 – 35%, meaning that your body actually expends 20 – 35% of the energy from the protein you consume just to metabolize it. In fact, protein has a higher TEF than both carbohydrates and fats, so people who have a higher protein diet may see faster fat loss results than those on a lower protein diet.
Exercise and Protein
Every time you exercise, assuming it is a rigorous workout involving cardio and strength training, you are breaking down muscle tissue. This muscle tissue recovers after your exercise, however, and uses the nutrients and protein available to the body at the time.
These nutrients come from muscle tissue, fat tissue, and—to a lesser degree—bones, which are also the three places you will see a loss of mass when you are on a calorie deficit diet for weight loss.
First of all, you want to make sure that you are consuming these calories and nutrients from your fat and not from your muscles (you need these to be able to exercise harder and longer). To do this, you need to make sure that you are consuming some extra protein post-workout so that you can spare muscle tissue loss.
Secondly, you need proper protein intake—which includes those essential amino acids—to help repair the damaged muscles you just ripped apart when you were exercising so that they can grow back even stronger.
If you are trying to cut down your weight, lots of protein is also recommended, as it takes much longer for your body to break it down and digest it, meaning that your digestion time will slow down and you will feel full longer and extending the time until you feel hungry again.
Unless you are a vegan or have a valid medical reason for not using whey protein, it is recommended that you use whey protein as your protein supplement of choice.
Whey comes from cow’s milk and this means that you actually take in more than just muscle-building as repairing proteins will also provide a decent immune boost thanks to this particular type of protein containing glutathione, which is a tripeptide that assists in boosting the immune function of the body.
Moreover, whey protein has been shown to be the most effective protein supplement in stimulating muscle protein synthesis and it is usually cheaper than other protein supplements. Many also believe that whey protein simply tastes better than others.
So, if you prefer to enjoy your protein shakes (or however you consume your protein powder), whey also has that added benefit.
How Much Protein?
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that the average woman consumes about 46 grams of protein per day. That being said, experts also believe that women who are active or trying to lose weight may need to intake more than that to keep their muscles strong and healthy.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend that female athletes consume 1.2 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. We recommend that you do the lower and higher math on this and check to see if you are consuming enough protein; the results might surprise you.
Keep in mind that even if you are consuming a ton of protein, you will not bulk up in the same way that your gender counterparts do. Female bodies contain a very small percentage of the testosterone needed to build up lean muscle tissue, so even with the supplementation of protein into your diet, you are not going to pack on muscle mass the same way that active men do. Moreover, any extra protein that you consume that your body does not use gets broken down into amino acids to be used as fuel, or simply excreted, so don’t worry about this either.
On a final note, before we dive into some of the best whey proteins out there, if you are exercising, experts also recommend that you should consume a 15-gram portion of protein soon after your workout to help effectively manage everything mentioned above.
What to Look for When Buying a Whey Protein Powder Supplement
When shopping around for a good protein supplement, it is important to take a look at the breakdown of macronutrients. This means you must look at the ratio of proteins to carbohydrates to fats on a per serving basis.
Typically, experts recommend that you should look for a protein powder that contains less than 5 grams of carbohydrates and less than 2 grams of fat per serving.
Also, (and this should be a no-brainer) protein should be listed as the first ingredient, as ingredient lists are always ordered from first to last in descending order of how much of an ingredient is included in the product.
Additionally, it is recommended that you stay away from purchasing protein powder that lists “added amino acids” among their ingredients, as these amino acids can be much cheaper in quality than a whole protein and may not offer the same benefits.
Other ingredients to avoid include cellulose, maltodextrin, wheat grass, and apple fiber, which are often used as cheap bulking agents and take away from the protein that you are truly looking for.
The Best Whey Proteins for Women (In Our Humble Opinion)
Last update on 2018-03-23 at 11:03 PST - Details
We think that this protein is a great all-around protein and the company behind it has a strong reputation too. Muscle Pharm is the official protein brand of the UFC, but don’t let that fool you.
This protein is great even for people who aren’t able to train as hard as UFC fighters.
Each serving of this powder contains 25 grams of protein, 5 grams of carbohydrates, and 2 grams of fat, which is the maximum recommended doses per serving of the last two and more than enough protein, which we know is a good thing
It contains a mix of fast, medium, and slow-releasing proteins, which will help keep your muscles fed all day after your workout and help with appetite management throughout the day. There are 5 total proteins in this product and 3 of those are whey proteins and make up the vast majority of protein in this product.
They have also added BCAAs, which is a great supplement. BCAA stands for branched chain amino acids, specifically leucine, isoleucine, and valine and often come in their own standalone supplement product.
These are taken by athletes to help reduce the breakdown of muscle tissue for energy by the body, keeping the breakdown more on the fat tissue in the body and nutrients consumed. Combat is also gluten-free and we think it tastes great.
We consider the price to be on the low-end of mid-range and it is only slightly more expensive than the cheapest product on this list, Optimum Nutrition.
Recommended Flavor: Cookies N’ Cream
NorCal is one of the cleanest and purest whey proteins we have come across in a long time and we highly recommend it for the impressive quality of this product.
You may have even seen this product being promoted by Harley Pasternak, a celebrity trainer, nutritionist, and New York Times Bestselling Author of 5-Factor Fitness, 5-Factor Diet, The 5-Factor World Diet, and The Body Reset Diet.
This protein is 100% whey and also 100% organic. The cows that produce this whey graze year-round in Northern California on fresh pastures of native grasses, rye, and clover
This is also a non-genetically modified product verified from start to finish and is certified by the American Humane Association (AHA).
The proteins in this powder come from milk that is high in conjugated linoleic acid, lactoferrin, and immunoglobulins and these nutrients make it directly into the whey protein itself due to the cold-processed microfiltration, small batch drying, and unique techniques used by NorCal to convert liquid whey into powdered form.
Each serving contains 21 grams of protein, 1.5 grams of fat, and 2 grams of carbohydrates, giving it better ratios than Combat above. It also contains 4.9 grams of BCAAs and 150 milligrams of glutathione per serving, all naturally occurring in this organic product.
Moreover, they only use one other product—Sunflower Lecithin acid—to aid in the solubility of the protein and it is used at less than 1% of the total product; the rest of the product is entirely organic whey protein. There are no added sugars, sweeteners, preservatives, colors, or flavors and the product is both soy- and gluten-free.
If you care about the world, animal rights, genetic modification, or just want to have a pure high-quality whey protein powder, we absolutely recommend NorCal. That being said, NorCal is also a very expensive whey protein supplement and almost double the cost of the other two proteins on our list.
Recommended Flavor: Regular (there is only one)
Last update on 2018-03-23 at 11:03 PST - Details
Optimum Nutrition is another brand that is very popular and well known in the protein supplement community and industry. It has a strong reputation and offers quality products, just like the rest of this list. Each serving of this whey protein contains 24 grams of all-whey protein, 1 gram of fat, and 3 grams of carbohydrates, in addition to 5.5 grams of BCAAs and 4 grams of glutamine.
This whey protein also comes in a whopping 20 flavors to choose from, giving it the highest selection of flavors we have ever seen in a whey protein powder. It does have a few more fillers than the previously mentioned proteins, but most of these are for taste and mixability.
Moreover, we noticed that after a week of using this product, we could train harder and longer while exercising and found that our muscles recovered very quickly after workouts. This product does contain soy ingredients and also happens to be the cheapest (although not much cheaper than Muscle Pharm) protein on our list.
Overall, it is important to realize that protein is essentially important in maintaining a healthy diet and healthy body for both men and women.
We recommend that women supplement daily with quality whey protein in order to maintain muscle health, assist in weight loss and fat burning, and boost immune function.
The whey proteins we have listed here are the best for women in our opinion. Muscle Pharm and Optimum Nutrition are two of the best known and trusted brands in sports nutrition, and NorCal is one of the purest high-quality whey proteins we have ever seen.
We recommend that you base your decision around what you are looking for specifically, but we absolutely recommend one of the three products listed here.