The Best Protein Powders for Men: Your Ultimate Guide to Peak Fitness

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What’s the best protein powder for men?

Well, it depends on your fitness goals and personal preferences.

Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to settle this debate in India where this industry is infamous for shady practices, unreasonable prices and amino spiking, among other concerns.

With the relentless inflation rates and growing scepticism surrounding protein and the gym culture, staying fit and healthy isn’t an easy maze to navigate.

That’s why we decided to curate the list of the most trusted and authentic protein powders to buy online, loved by certified and expert nutritionists.

In this guide, we’ll be sharing

• The best protein powders to buy online & why we picked them

• The best practices for using protein powder correctly and their potential side effects

• What are some great homemade protein powder alternatives & how to prepare them

Eager to find out? Then let’s get right into it.

Quick Look at the Best Protein Powders by Type

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As there are different types of protein, it becomes difficult to decide which protein powder is most suitable for you according to your health and fitness goals. So let’s understand these different types of protein.

1. Whey Protein

Whey protein is a high-quality protein derived from milk during the cheese-making process. It is the water-soluble part of milk protein that represents 20% of total milk protein after the curdling process.

Why whey protein is the most preferred protein among fitness people because it is a complete protein with all the nine essential amino acids that the human body cannot produce on its own.

These amino acids are essential for various bodily functions, including muscle repair, immune system support, and hormone synthesis.

There are three main types of whey protein:

For a person who is suffering from Lactose intolerance, they can opt for whey protein isolate.

2. Micelle Casein Protein

Casein protein is another type of high-quality protein found in milk, making up about 80% of the total protein content in cow’s milk.

Here’s why casein protein is effective

• Slowly Digested Protein: With a steady release of amino acids into the bloodstream, it supports muscle protein synthesis over time. Therefore, the best time to consume casein protein is at night as it helps increase muscle mass and strengthen gains.

• Aids Weight management: The slow digestion of casein promotes a feeling of fullness, which may help with appetite control and weight management.

• Anti-Catabolic Action: Casein’s slow digestion makes it beneficial for preventing muscle breakdown during extended periods without food.

• Rich in Amino Acids: Like whey protein, casein protein contains all nine essential amino acids necessary for various physiological functions.

3. Plant Protein

Unlike animal protein, plant protein is obtained from plant materials and plant-based foods.

Although plant protein can also provide all the essential amino acids, they have them in lesser quantities than animal protein.

Some common plant-based sources of protein include

© Shutterstock

Our Picks for The Best Protein Powder According To Your Fitness Goals

1. Best Whey Protein

Optimum Nutrition (ON) Gold Standard 100% Whey

© Amazon

Optimum nutrition contains 24g of protein sourced from whey protein isolate, concentrate, and peptides. The product’s natural content of 5g of BCAAs and over 4g of glutamine and glutamic acid per serving makes it ideal for promoting muscle strength and recovery.

Also, it’s certified by third-party Informed Choices and NSF Certified for Sports which guarantees that the product undergoes rigorous testing, providing consumers with confidence and peace of mind when including it in their nutrition regimen.

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2. Best Budget Whey Protein

AS-IT-IS Nutrition Whey Concentrate Protein

© Amazon

AS-IT-IS has revolutionized the Indian fitness market with its protein powder, offering it at an incredibly low cost without compromising on quality. With minimal processing, no added preservatives, artificial flavours, and gluten-free, it stands out as the best protein powder for those on a budget.

As a user of this protein powder, I can attest to its excellent mixability and use it in my daily diet in smoothies or shakes.

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3. Best Whey Isolate Protein

Isopure Low Carb Whey Protein Isolate Powder 2.20 lbs

© Amazon

Isopure Low Carb Whey Protein Isolate Powder is a top-notch choice for the best whey isolate protein.

This premium product offers 25g of protein per serving, sourced from 100% Whey Protein Isolate, along with 5g of naturally occurring BCAAs and 4g of Glutamine.

It is gluten-free, aspartame-free, and suitable for vegetarians.

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4. Best Whey Concentrate Protein

MuscleBlaze Biozyme Performance Whey Protein

© Amazon

MuscleBlaze Biozyme Performance Whey Protein is a standout choice for the best whey concentrate protein. This award-winning product has been recognized for its exceptional quality and innovation in the sports nutrition category.

It has undergone rigorous testing and certification by reputable organisations such as Informed Choice Program U.K., Labdoor USA, and Trustified, ensuring the accuracy of label claims and purity.

The Biozyme series is designed with an Enhanced Absorption Formula (EAF) that ensures 50% higher protein absorption and 60% superior BCAA absorption compared to other whey protein supplements.

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5. Best Plant Protein

Fast&Up Plant Protein

© Amazon

Fast&Up plant protein is one of the best plant proteins and it is made up of rice & pea making it ideal for vegans.

Fast&Up plant protein is made up of rice and pea making it ideal for vegans. This protein contains 26g of pla

Plant Protein contains 26g of Plant Protein Isolate, combining pea and brown rice protein sources.

Additionally, it offers 4.6g of naturally occurring BCAAs and 4.8g of Glutamine, essential for supporting muscle health, enhancing recovery, and preventing muscle breakdown.

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6. Best Budget Vegan Protein

Mypro Sport Nutrition Plant Protein Powder Pea Protein Isolate & Brown Rice Vegan Protein Powder

© Amazon

Mypro Sport Nutrition Plant Protein Powder, with its powerful blend of Pea Protein Isolate and Brown Rice Protein Isolate, offers an excellent budget-friendly option for those seeking a vegan protein supplement.

This natural plant-based protein powder provides a complete balance of amino acids, making it a suitable choice for gluten-free, vegan, and keto diets.

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7. Best Hydrolyzed Protein Powder

Dymatize Nutrition ISO 100 5 lbs Whey Protein Powder with Hydrolyzed 100% Whey Protein Isolate

© Amazon

Dymatize Nutrition ISO 100 5 lbs Whey Protein Powder stands out as the best-hydrolyzed protein powder, delivering a fast-digesting and highly absorbable protein source.

ISO 100 is rich in essential amino acids, including a generous amount of glutamine peptides, further enhancing its muscle-building benefits.

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8. Best Casein Protein

MyFitFuel MFF Micellar Casein Protein Powder

© Amazon

MyFitFuel MFF Micellar Casein Protein Powder provides an ultra-slow release of protein that provides a continuous supply of amino acids for up to 6-8 hours.

This makes it an ideal choice for consumption before bedtime or during mid-meals, ensuring a steady and prolonged release of nutrients.

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9. Best Egg White Protein

HealthyHey Nutrition 100% Egg White Protein

© Amazon

HealthyHey Nutrition 100% Egg White Protein is the best egg white protein supplement, offering a unique and exceptional natural source of high-quality protein.

The raw material used for this protein is derived from chickens that have not been treated with growth hormones, ensuring a pure and clean product.

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10. Best Collagen Protein

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Unflavored Food Supplement Powder

© Amazon

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Unflavored Food Supplement Powder is the best collagen protein powder, offering a powerful combination of essential ingredients to promote overall health and wellness.

This advanced powder is enriched with vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, enhancing its benefits for healthy hair, skin, nails, bones, and joints.

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11. Best Protein for Weight Loss

MuscleTech Platinum 8 Hour Protein

© Amazon

MuscleTech Performance Series Phase 8 Protein stands as the best protein supplement for weight loss, offering a unique and premium blend of 7 high-quality proteins (Whey Protein Concentrate, Milk Protein Concentrate, Micellar Casein, Calcium Caseinate 97%, Whey Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Isolate Hydrolyzed & Whey Protein Isolate) with sustained-release properties.

This protein powder provides an 8-hour amino acid delivery, effectively supporting muscle repair, recovery, and growth.

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12. Best Protein for Weight Gain

MuscleTech Nitrotech Whey Protein Powder Milk Chocolate

© Amazon

MuscleTech Nitro-Tech Whey Protein Powder in Milk Chocolate flavour is the best protein supplement for weight gain, specially formulated to provide you with a potent blend of premium whey protein.

The supplement contains 3g of creatine, which can support greater gains in muscle and strength when combined with the protein.

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13. Protein Powder for Diabetics

Vidavance Advanced Nutrition for Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes

© Amazon

Vidavance Advanced Nutrition for Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes offers a comprehensive blend of nutrients to support their specific nutritional needs.

This specially formulated product is designed to help manage blood sugar levels, weight, and energy in individuals with Type II diabetes and pre-diabetes.

Vidavance provides Iron, Iodine, Vitamin C, B1, B2, B12, Pantothenic Acid, and Manganese, all of which support normal energy-yielding metabolism.

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How Do We Choose A Protein Powder

© Bhavjot Bhasin

Quality and Purity

Choosing protein powders with a focus on quality and purity ensures that you are consuming a safe and effective product.

We look for products that are certified by third parties such as The Informed Choices, Labdoor, ICMR etc. make the product safe for consumption, are pure, good quality ingredients and have safe manufacturing practices.

Ingredients and Nutritional Content

© Shutterstock

Another main factor is to look for its ingredients and nutritional content. It is important to look at the label because it helps us to know if the product aligns towards our fitness goal, health or not.

We also check what type of filtration method they use to make protein, whether is there a heavy metal substance or any amino spiking in the protein powder.

Customer Reviews and Rating

The product we choose has good customer reviews and ratings from multiple sources, some of the product is even used by us in the MensXP.

Reading honest feedback from other users can help you gauge the product’s effectiveness, taste, mixability, and overall satisfaction.

Protein Powder Home-Made Alternatives

If you prefer to avoid commercially available protein powders or want to try homemade options, there are several nutritious alternatives you can make at home. Here are some protein-rich homemade alternatives:

1. High-protein smoothies

© Shutterstock

Ingredients

• 1 cup frozen mango chunks

• 1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks

• 1 ripe banana

• 1 cup unsweetened milk (or any milk of your choice for vegan)

• 1/2 cup plain Greek yoghurt

• 1 tablespoon chia seeds

• 1 tablespoon almond butter

• 1 scoop of your preferred protein powder (whey, plant-based, or any protein of your choice)

• A drizzle of honey or maple syrup (optional, for added sweetness)

• Ice cubes (optional, for a thicker texture)

Instructions:

1. In a blender, add the frozen mango, pineapple and banana.

2. Pour in the milk and add the plain Greek yoghurt.

3. Add the chia seeds, almond butter, and protein powder to the blender.

4. If desired, add a drizzle of honey or maple syrup for extra sweetness.

5. Now, blend the ingredients till its all smooth and creamy.

6. If you prefer a thicker consistency, add some ice cubes and blend again.

7. Voila! Your smoothie is ready.

Hard-boiled eggs

© Krisztina Papp Pexel

Hard-boiled eggs are a highly popular and convenient source of protein, providing up to 8g of protein per egg. They are an excellent choice for individuals looking to fulfil their protein intake organically.

Homemade Vegan Protein Powder

© Shutterstock

Ingredients

• 1 cup chana dal

• 1 cup moong dal

• 1 cup quinoa

• 1 cup almonds

• 1 cup pumpkin seeds (kaddu seeds)

• 1 cup flaxseeds

• 1 cup sesame seeds (til)

• 1 cup oats

Instructions:

1. Dry Roasting: In a large pan, dry roast yellow split peas, green gram, quinoa, almonds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, and oats separately over low to medium heat. Do it until they turn slightly golden and emit a nutty aroma. Make sure not to burn them. Allow the roasted ingredients to cool completely.

2. Grinding: Now, transfer all the cooled roasted ingredients to a powerful blender or food processor. Grind them until you achieve a fine powder consistency. If your blender is not big enough, you can grind in batches.

3. Sifting: Now, it’s time to fine-sieve the ground powder to remove any large particles or coarse bits. This will give you a smoother texture.

4. Storing: Store the homemade vegan protein powder in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. It will stay fresh for several weeks.

Usage:

You can add 1 to 2 tablespoons of this homemade vegan protein powder to your smoothies, shakes, or plant-based milk.

You can also incorporate it into baking recipes, such as muffins, pancakes, or energy bars, to boost the protein content.

How To Use Protein Powder Correctly?

© Andres Ayrton Pexel

1. Determine Your Protein Need

Check your protein consumption according to your height, weight, your daily diet, age, exercise intensity and what are your fitness goals. A protein powder should supplement your daily diet not replace your whole food source. For adults, the Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) for protein is 0.75 g per kg of body weight per day, or 56 g for men and 45 g for women of average body weights (75 kg and 60 kg, respectively).

2. Choose the Right Type

The Protein powders should be according to your dietary preference and goals i.e. Whey for quick digestion, isolate whey protein for someone who suffers from lactose intolerance, plant protein for vegans etc.

3. When to consume protein powder?

Timing matters when consuming protein powders, such as before or after workouts, to aid muscle recovery and growth. Protein intake throughout the day also helps maintain protein synthesis.

4. Avoid High-Heat Cooking

If using protein powder in recipes, avoid high-heat cooking to preserve the protein’s nutritional value.

5. Stay Hydrated

Increase water intake when consuming protein powder, as it requires water for proper digestion and absorption.

6. Balance Fiber and Nutrients with Protein

Include fibre-rich foods, vegetables, and fruits in your meals to balance the protein intake and promote overall health.

What are the Potential Side Effects of Protein Powder?

© Freepik

1. Managing Digestive Issues

People with sensitive stomachs often experience digestive discomfort after consuming protein powder in higher quantities or when they are not used to consuming concentrated protein supplements. Common digestive issues include bloating, reduced appetite, tiredness, gas, headache, cramps, and diarrhoea.

Here’s what you can do to manage these side effects:Start with a smaller serving size and gradually increase it as your body adjusts. Drinking plenty of water and consuming protein powder with meals may also help ease digestion.

2. Dealing with Allergies and Intolerances

Protein powders, especially those derived from soy, dairy (whey, casein), or eggs, can trigger allergic reactions or intolerances in some individuals. Symptoms may include hives, itching, swelling, breathing difficulties, and digestive distress.

If you suspect an allergy or intolerance, discontinue use immediately and consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and alternative protein options.

3. Protein Powder Long-term Effects on Kidney Health:

Consuming excessive protein, including protein powder, over an extended period, may put strain on the kidneys, especially in individuals with pre-existing kidney conditions. High-protein diets can increase nitrogen waste in the body, leading to potential kidney stress.

To minimise risks, avoid consuming protein in amounts significantly exceeding your recommended daily intake and maintain proper hydration.

4. Contamination and Safety Concerns:

Low-quality protein powders may be contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides, or other harmful substances. Always opt for reputable brands that undergo third-party testing for quality and safety.

Check for certifications such as NSF, Informed Choice, or GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) to ensure the product’s purity and safety.

Conclusion

While protein powder can be a valuable supplement for many people, it’s crucial to use it responsibly and in moderation.

Pay attention to your body’s response to the product, and if you experience any adverse effects, consult a healthcare professional.

Additionally, remember that protein powder should not replace a balanced diet but rather complement it to support your fitness goals and dietary needs.

References

1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/B978008100722800005X

2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022316622087429

3. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.jafc.1c04289

4. https://www.nutrition.org.uk/healthy-sustainable-diets/protein/

5. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-833/whey-protein

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