best whey protein powder

Whey Protein Powder: Test & Reviews

Author: Anne Jonson

Diet & Nutrition Expert

As an athlete, you have an increased need for protein, which you can cover with dietary supplements, for example. The variety of preparations is very large. So-called whey protein is particularly popular for muscle building and regeneration. But what effect does the dietary supplement have and how does it have to be dosed?

In our Whey Protein Test, we show you the latest and best preparations from the respective categories. We also give you important tips and tricks on the subject of whey protein. Whether concentrate, isolate, hydrolyzate or protein mixtures, with us you will find the best whey protein products on the market.

  • Whey protein is currently the most popular source of protein. The dietary supplement is easy to digest and is particularly favored by athletes for building muscle and for regeneration after training sessions.
  • Whey protein has a balanced amino acid profile and can be absorbed particularly quickly by the body. However, it cannot replace a balanced diet, it can only be a useful addition.
  • While the importance of whey protein for building muscle is well known, the protein can also strengthen the immune system. Studies have confirmed this.

Best Whey Protein Powder

Best low-sugar whey protein

The ESN Designer Whey is one of the best known and most successful products on the market.

The Designer Whey from ESN is well suited for beginners who are into muscle building. It consists of whey concentrates (70%) and whey isolates (30%) and has a relatively low sugar content of 3.5g per 100g. One can already praise the transparency of the company, as ESN is one of the few companies that give precise information about their ingredients and does not exploit a legal gray area.

ESN Designer Whey is particularly impressive with its good solubility, a very natural taste and a protein content of 79%.

Best all-rounder whey protein

The “Whey Gold Standard” from Optimum Nutrition is considered a classic among whey proteins. It has a protein content of 78%, as well as a relatively high carbohydrate content of 8% and a low fat content of approx. 3%.

The powder dissolves well in milk or water, there are many different flavors and it is suitable for people with lactose intolerance.

Whey protein with the best value for money

According to the manufacturer, the whey protein from Scitec Nutrition is a high quality protein (73%), which is only made from whey. It is available in many different flavors and also as a tasteless variant.

In addition, an amino acid matrix with L-glutamine and taurine has been added to this product. The fat and carbohydrate content is relatively high at 8% and over 6%, so that the whey protein is also suitable for building mass.

Scitec Nutrition offers an unbeatable price-performance ratio.

Questions to Consider Before Buying Whey Protein

Athletes prefer to use whey protein. Anyone who is physically active has an increased protein requirement and usually wants to build muscle quickly.

You will now find out why many athletes prefer whey protein and what to consider before buying the food.

What is whey protein made from?

Whey protein can be obtained from milk. This is done using a process called ultrafiltration. Whey protein isn’t the only protein made from milk.

When cheese is made from milk, the whey is first removed, then the whey is separated from the casein.

Then lactose, water and milk fat are removed from the whey. Whey protein is the end result of this complex process.

Whey only contains three percent whey protein. The whey protein obtained has differences in quality and also has a different protein content.

What types of proteins are there?

In the following we list all the different types of protein in more detail:

Protein type Description Application
Casein
Casein is a milk protein with a biological value of 77. The absorption time is several hours. Thus, the body is continuously supplied over a long period of time.
For periods in which no protein intake is possible for a long time, e.g. at night.
Whey
Whey protein is whey protein. It is characterized by rapid absorption.
Ideally immediately after training.
Egg protein
Egg protein is obtained directly from the egg white. The biological value is 88. Egg protein contains very little sugar, as well as fats and carbohydrates.
Egg-protein can be used for general supplementation.
Soy protein
Soy protein is obtained from purely vegetable sources and can therefore also be used by vegetarians. The biological value is 80.
Soy protein can be used for general supplementation.

which food contains whey protein?

Whey protein is found in all dairy products. A prerequisite for this, however, is that the whey was not removed during the manufacturing process.

Comparatively small amounts of whey protein are found in milk, yoghurt or whey products. Since the whey is removed when making cheese, it does not contain whey protein.

Do I need whey protein as a dietary supplement?

If you are active in sports, whey protein has been shown to promote muscle building. Science has increasingly dealt with the question of whether whey protein can also be of benefit to other groups of people.

In general, whey protein is recommended for the following target groups:

  • Bodybuilders
  • Athletes
  • Competitive athletes
  • Endurance athletes
  • Beginners in strength training
  • Lose weight
  • Vegetarians

In the studies mentioned, a positive effect of the dietary supplement in weight loss, in wound healing, in cancer treatment or in elderly care was proven.

So it can be said that you can’t really go wrong with taking whey protein and that the whey product can actually be useful to everyone who wants to strengthen their immune system and is focused on fitness and performance.

What is the effect of whey protein?

Whey protein can be quickly absorbed by the body. The amino acids are available in the bloodstream just half an hour after ingestion.

This results in faster muscle building and shorter times for muscle regeneration. The metabolism is boosted and whey protein prevents muscle loss after training.

The positive influence on the immune system makes whey protein a versatile dietary supplement.

Scientific studies have confirmed that whey protein also has a role as an antioxidant. Antioxidants protect the cells, make you less susceptible to illnesses and also ensure a youthful complexion.

Your body loses protein not only during effective exercise, but also during a diet. You can compensate for this deficit very well with whey protein, for example in the form of a shake directly after training.

Nutrition experts are also increasingly recommending whey protein regardless of weight training or diet. The protein can stabilize blood sugar levels, supply the body with energy and stimulate fat burning.

How to dose whey protein?

You should take whey protein at a time when your body is particularly susceptible to it. This is the case in the morning, immediately after getting up, as well as immediately after your training sessions.

How high the daily dose should be depends on your fitness level and your desired training goal.

Current fitness level Recommended dose in g per kg body weight
Untrained
0.8
Occasional recreational athlete
1.2
Trained athlete
1.5
Competitive athlete
2.0
Endurance athlete
2.5

A normally trained athlete can assume a maximum daily dose of 30 grams of whey protein. If you ingest more, you will not necessarily achieve more with it.

Your body can only use a certain amount of whey protein and convert it into amino acids. The additional amount absorbed would then be lost unused.

By the way, it makes more sense to take whey protein with water instead of milk. In connection with water, whey protein can be absorbed and used more quickly.

What types of whey protein are there and which one is right for you?

Basically, one can differentiate between four different types of whey protein:

  • Whey concentrate
  • Whey isolate
  • Whey hydrolyzate
  • Whey protein mixes

Which one is right for you largely depends on your personal requirements for the product and the results you want to achieve by taking whey protein.

Whey concentrate: Advantages & Disadvantages

Whey concentrate provides you with a good introduction to this form of dietary supplement. It is the simplest and cheapest preparation from this list. The protein content of the concentrate is around 75 percent. Look at the list of ingredients, there you can find out what form the protein is.

Whey concentrate is less filtered than whey isolate. Nevertheless, you can assume a high quality product.

Those who want to gain weight benefit from the often slightly higher calorie content. If you are more concerned with losing weight, you should better use whey isolate.

The direct comparison makes this clear:

  • Whey protein concentrate (30g): 21g protein – 130 calories
  • Whey Protein Isolate (30g): 25g protein – 105 calories

It is particularly important for athletes not to gain weight when preparing for a competition.

Whey Isolate: Advantages & Disadvantages

Whey isolate has a protein content of more than 90 percent. You can therefore assume that you are purchasing a product that is low in fats and carbohydrates.

You have to dig a little deeper into your pocket for whey isolate than for the cheaper concentrate, but you get a high-quality product that is also lactose-free.

Whey Hydrolyzate: Advantages & Disadvantages

Whey hydrolyzate is less common than concentrate and isolate. Hydrolyzate can be obtained from whey concentrate as well as from whey isolate.

For this purpose, the protein is specially treated and processed in such a way that the digestive work is simplified and the protein is therefore available to the body particularly quickly.

Hydrolyzate has a particularly high bioavailability. The slightly bitter taste is less appreciated.

Only for a few competitive athletes who primarily want to burn a lot of fat in a short time does this product really make sense.

Whey Protein Mixes: Advantages & Disadvantages

Protein blends consist of whey concentrate and whey isolate. With this you can strike a good middle ground.

You should be particularly targeted when choosing, because there are big differences in quality and composition. The protein source mentioned first on the label makes up the majority of the ingredients.

Purchase criteria: Use these factors to compare whey protein

In the following we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and rate whey protein. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a certain whey protein is right for you or not.

In summary, these are:

  • Degree of purity
  • Personal tolerance
  • Composition
  • Expiration date
  • Quantity
  • Flavor

Degree of purity

We already addressed this point when it came to the different types of whey protein. Whey concentrate is inexpensive and has the lowest degree of purity.

The protein content fluctuates very strongly and is between 30 and 80 percent. Whey concentrate is only slightly filtered. Therefore, fat and carbohydrates are also retained.

Whey isolate is filtered more strongly and therefore has a higher degree of purity. Different processes are used for the filtration. For example, the ion exchange process, in which the whey is treated with electricity, is common.

The end product has a high degree of purity. The protein molecules repel foreign substances; only certain salts can accumulate.

Personal tolerance

Generally speaking, whey protein is very well tolerated. Nevertheless, there can always be people who are allergic to certain substances.

If you’re having trouble tolerating milk, chances are you might feel the same way with whey protein.

If you experience the following symptoms, you are most likely allergic to whey protein:

  • Itching
  • Skin rash
  • Swelling
  • Irritations of the mucous membranes

You should play it safe and clarify which substances you are specifically allergic to.

In this context, it might be interesting to mention that vegans should generally refrain from whey protein, because unfortunately there is no vegan whey protein.

Although isolates in particular are adequately filtered, the fact remains that whey is a component of milk. If you are a vegan, hemp protein, pea protein or rice protein are good alternatives.

Composition

Particular attention should be paid to the composition when buying. Whey protein in powder form is always a mixed product.

Offering pure hydrolyzate would be absolutely uneconomical and would not really appeal to you due to the bitter taste. By the way, hydrolyzate is often offered in tablet form. Then the bitter taste is no longer the problem.

Back to the whey protein mixes. When buying, pay attention to the specified protein content. This should not be less than 75 percent. Lower values are a sign that there is only a small amount of high-quality isolate.

High-quality whey protein mixtures should also contain the following eight essential amino acids. These cannot be produced by the body itself and must therefore be supplied through the daily diet.

Amino acid Recommended amount in g
Leucin
11 - 17
Lysin
4 - 10
Valin
6 - 9
Isoleucin
6 - 9
Threonin
3 - 7
Phenylalanin
1 - 3
Methionin
1 - 2
Tryptophan
1 - 2

The proportion of essential amino acids should make up about half of the protein content. Whey concentrate can contain a maximum of 80 percent protein.

Expiration Date

Before buying, make sure that the product has a sufficient use-by date. Every whey protein has an expiration date.

This is often not recognizable at first glance and can be hidden on the label on the back or on the bottom of the can.

Whey proteins have a shelf life of at least one year. It will likely take some time to use up the cans.

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Once the use-by date has passed, this does not automatically mean that you have to throw away the can. If the date is exceeded, however, the equally high product quality can no longer be guaranteed.

If whey protein is overdue, the proteins can lose their structure. This is not a big problem, on the contrary, because your body breaks the proteins down into amino acids anyway after ingestion. Otherwise recycling would not be possible at all.

You will have to cut back on the taste of overdue products. Added aromas disappear quickly. Whey protein is low in fat, but if it becomes rancid, the preparations spoil more quickly and germs have an easy time of it.

Overdue whey protein will dissolve more poorly in liquid, will not taste as usual and can also cause diarrhea and nausea.

Quantity

Different pack sizes are offered. The preferred amount depends on the need. If you only need small amounts and only consume whey protein occasionally, tubs with several kilograms of content are not recommended.

In purely mathematical terms, these are initially cheaper to buy, but they cannot be used up quickly enough.

If you want to test whey protein first or if you want to try a new flavor, the smaller 700 gram bags are also ideal, because you have to first find out whether the whey protein meets your taste.

Flavor

It is well known that tastes are different. Almost all of them are served at Whey Protein.

The selection of different flavors is reminiscent of the ice cream menu in a café. Classics like vanilla, strawberry and chocolate can also be found, as well as unusual flavors with peanut butter, orange cream, apple cinnamon or chocolate mint.

Since the tastes sometimes take a bit of getting used to, it makes sense to look out for sample packs and test the products before buying.

Facts about whey protein

We have already given you a whole range of information and advice on your way. You have probably already convinced yourself that whey protein is available on the market in many different flavors and pack sizes.

You also already know the difference between concentrate and isolate and can estimate which product is best for your needs.

A few more points about the dietary supplement, which is popular not only with athletes, are addressed below.

What is meant by the biological value of whey protein?

Bodybuilders will know what this is talking about. The biological value indicates how proteins are absorbed and used by the body.

A high biological value therefore indicates a correspondingly high efficiency. The standard of biological value for proteins is 100.

However, whey proteins of very good quality can have a biological value of up to 170.

Can taking whey protein cause side effects?

The effects of whey protein have been adequately researched. If the recommended dosages are observed, consumption is harmless to health and there should be no side effects.

Deficiency symptoms in the context of increased training or a diet can be effectively compensated for.

If there is hypersensitivity to lactose, typical hypersensitivity reactions can occur.

In general, it can be said that the intake of whey protein contributes to well-being and fitness and, with an optimal dosage and no hypersensitivity, the consumption of the dietary supplement is free of side effects.

What does whey protein do for me as a non-athlete?

You don’t have to be committed to competitive or weight training to benefit from the positive effects of whey protein. Everyone needs protein in sufficient quantities to ensure the smooth process of cell structure.

Whey protein makes an active contribution to cell protection and can thus delay the aging process. A strengthening of the immune system has also been proven by taking whey protein.

Even if you don’t go to the gym, your muscles are strained every day. Whey protein can reduce muscle breakdown and the blood pressure lowering effect of the proteins has also been confirmed.

The positive effects of whey protein at a glance

  • Cell protection
  • Antihypertensive
  • Anti-aging effect
  • Promotes fat burning
  • Strengthens the immune system

Can I Lose Weight With Whey Protein?

Whey protein stimulates fat burning. It is therefore obvious that the products can also be of interest to those who want to lose weight.

Whey protein is added to numerous diet products. Whey protein isolate is preferred because it contains hardly any fats and carbohydrates.

Studies have shown that a high protein diet combined with regular exercise can burn more body fat. In return, more muscle mass is built up.

As fat is burned, the metabolism accelerates and it becomes easier to burn calories.

Another benefit of whey protein in connection with weight loss is the long-lasting feeling of satiety.

If you are full, you automatically eat less and thus whey protein can effectively support weight loss and at the same time supply the body with important nutrients.

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