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Protein Powder Comparisons

Protein is only for Muscle builders Right?... Wrong. 

Endurance atheletes are in the business of breaking down muscle and building it back up as quickly as possible to allow for more training and faster gains. This sounds all too familiar to any body builder.  When was the last time an endurance athelete turned to a body builder for advice? It happens, I’m sure, but not too often. Body builders by years of trial and error and shear dedication to just one goal have become the real experts in muscle rebuilding and they have reshaped the protein market place. However the most popular proteins on the market have evolved to become technical nightmares for newcomers to navigate. Also, as I show below, even the most diligent shopper is thwarted in their attempts to compare and contrast like products due to the lack of standardization of the dreaded “Serving size”.  What is a serving size, well to advertisers it’s anything they want it to be able to sell you the story they want. See how below they use it to create facts from fiction.
Protein best sellers per the Nutritional information on the packs.

 

 
Protein per serving
Grams /serv & cals
Enzymes
BCAA
Creatine
L- Glutamine
Multivit
*Approx Value $/LB
Muscle Milk
25g
70g/serv
300 cals
-
-
-
Peptides
 
Cheap multi-vit
10.4
Muscle Milk light
25g
 
50g/serv
195 cals
-
-
-
Peptides
 
Cheap multi-vit
14
 
Elite Whey (USA)
24g
31g/serv
114 cals
4 (40mg)
5g
-
4g
 
12.0
BSN Syntha 6
22g
44g/serv
200 cals
Y
Y
-
Peptides
 
 
10.0
BSN Lean Dessert
21g
35g/serv
150 cals
Y
Y
-
Peptides
 
 
12
BSN True Mass
46g
145g/serv
630 cals
2
Y
-
Peptides
 
50% cheap multi-vit
7.5
Monster Milk (USA)
50g
84g/serv
350 cals
 
Y
11.5g
1g
13g
25% cheap multi-vit
15.0
EAS Myoplex
42g
78g/serv
300 cals
-
-
-
-
Cheap multi-vit
12.3
ISO 100
25g
28g/serv
106 cals
-
6.5g
-
-
 -
12.9

Good4Life Whey Creatine Powder

20g
30g/serv
140 cals
- - 3g - - 13.3
*Note the Approx Value in dollars per pound is subject to change, does not include postage, and in an internet price, so they are not guaranteed but should be read as relative comparisons that were true at one point in time.
 
Looking at the data above it would appear reasonable to expect that BSN True mass and Monster Milk to have one of the highest protein contents… in fact the table below shows that True mass is actually the lowest, which to be fair is reflected in their price, and Monster Milk is in the mid-range. Also True mass boasts “630 calories per serving”, yet has less calories weight for weight  than Syntha 6. Lean Dessert is actually mid-range and only 5 calories less than the True Mass product!  My advice it to take the scoop measure and throw it away and use cup sizes and the chart below along with the knowledge that you cannot absorb more than 30g protein per serving. 100g is about 3 scoops, so for True Mass you only need one scoop to get the 30g of protein not the three scoops they advise, the bonus is that it will last three times longer.
 (BTW the problem in reading label information has been solved in European countries by standardizing all foods label information to 100g.   Any standard weight unit would do, however the  additional nice thing about 100g is that it is 100 so 77g of protein for instance is also 77% protein, pretty cool eh!  This allows any food substance to be measured and compared against any other food substance and easily understood by consumers. )
 
Quality of Protein ranking (all normalized to 100g or about 3 scoops)
 
Protein per 100g (or %)
cals per 100g
Enzymes per 100g
BCAA per 100g
Creatine per 100g
L- Glutamine per 100g
Multivit
*Approx Value $/LB -
BSN True Mass
32g
434 cals
2
Y
 
Peptides
 
50%  cheap multivit
7.5
Muscle Milk
36g
428 cals
-
-
-
Peptides
 
Cheap multi-vit
10.4
Muscle Milk light
50g
 
390 cals
-
-
-
Peptides
 
Cheap multi-vit
14.0
 
BSN Syntha 6
50g
455 cals
Y
Y
 
Peptides
 
 
10.0
EAS Myoplex
54g
385 cals
 
 
 
 
Cheap multi-vit
12.3
Monster Milk (USA)
60g
417 cals
 
Y
13.7g
1.2g
15.5g
25% cheap multi-vit
15
BSN Lean Dessert
60g
429 cals
Y
Y
 
Peptides
 
 
12
77g
368 cals
4 (129mg)
16g
 
12.9g
 
12.0
 
ISO 100
90g
378 cals
 
23.2g
 
 
 
12.9 
Good4Life Whey Creatine Powder 54g 380 cals - - 8.1g - -

13.3

(12.3) if creatine is worth $1/lb

*Note the Approx Value in dollars per pound is subject to change, does not include postage, and in an internet price, so they are not guaranteed but should be read as relative comparisons that were true at one point in time.
 
Other considerations.
Buying Creatine, Glutamine and BCAA's separately allows one to optimize or tailor to their workout needs, for example you may want to take them at a higher frequency or at different times in the workout cycle than your protein shake. 
The low quality cheap multivitamins in my opinion are a waste of time (pass out in your urine).  I recommend separately sourcing a food based Men's/Woman’s Multivitamin, which have far better absorption rates. 
Another tip: Your body can only absorb about 30 g protein in a meal so if you get the 42g-46g or 50g per serving proteins, decrease the serving quantity, saving money and making a "lighter" shake. 
My Recommendations: It depends who you are and what you want but personally but for obvious reasons I am currently either an Elite Whey fan which I would supplement with Creatine and a Men’s food Based Multi-vitamin or a Good4life Shop Whey and Creatine fan which has the great convienience of having the creatine in the same strawberry flavored drink and is one of the lowest calories.  After that BSN’s Syntha 6 looks good, though I’m not certain from the packaging how much Enzyme, BCAA and L-Glutamine is in it. It also has the highest amount of calories per 100g in the list if that is a concern.  If additional calories are a concern then it’s Elite whey, then ISO 100 or Good4Life, then surprisingly Myoplex, with Myoplex being cheaper and more convenient especially if going on a short trip, but ISO 100 has the highest purity level. 

What about Muscle Milk?  With the largest market share, it is the third cheapest per pound, and if you can digest it without enzymes and like the flavor, and do not want L-Glutamine and extra BCAA’s or Creatine then all is well.

Flavor is a personal choice that is very important, personally I like plain vanilla as I can add whatever fruit flavor I like to it. I have also kept the non-dairy products off the analysis for now as none of the above is relevant if you are allergic to milk proteins (Good4Life Soy Protein). 
Lastly, there are many other brands on the market and I’ll be adding some of them to the above list as I get the data in. Also the maths to convert is fairly easy so just calculate for 100g and compare to the above. If you find a better product be sure to share it back with me.
Note: Since writing this article Good4lifeshop.com has dropped all other proteins brands except our own brands and Elite Whey because we only want to give you the best deals.
Article submitted by Clive Griffiths (BSc, ACA, Member of the Institute of Optimal Nutrition)
Created for Good4Lifeshop.com on 09/24/2010. All rights reserved. Not to be copied without the express consent of Good4Life LLC.