You//Fitness and Health
by Marcus Leach
Head down to your local gym and chances are you will see more guys in the changing room using a protein supplement than those who don't these days. The is an ever-expanding market for protein companies, which in turn means an every increasing number of options for you the user.
Whilst most of our nutrition should come from good food sources there is nothing wrong with supplementing your training and diet with a protein powder. However, with so many on the market nowadays it can often be a minefield just trying to decide which one to buy. In a bid to make life a little easier for you we here at The Essential Cyclist have reviewed some of the leading brands to try and make your decision making process a little easier.
Kinetica: Easy to mix and with a fairly natural taste Kinetica Whey Protein offers a decent amount of protein per serving, as well as essential amino acids. They also offer smaller sample servings on their website, meaning you can find a flavour that you like without having to buy a whole tub of it first. Look at the ingredient list of most proteins out there and they are both long and full of words you might not even know how to pronounce. However, with Kinetica the focus is on simplicity with just seven high quality ingredients.
Optimum Nutrition: The 100% Whey Gold Standard from Optimum Nutrition has a smooth taste, very easy to mix and again has a focus on fewer ingredients ensuring you get the bets possible end product. If, like us here at The Essential Cyclist, you are training hard and eating a good diet your protein shake can be seen as something of a treat, and the double rich chocolate flavour is definitely one for the chocolate lovers out there.
Natural Whey Company: If you want a proper thick shake after training then look no further than the Natural Whey Company's aptly named Natural Whey Protein. With great nutritional content and a very natural tasting chocolate orange flavour this gives you a shake that not only replenishes your muscles but fills your stomach too. Add in the fact there are no additives or extra, unnecessary ingredients and you have yourself a great protein here. On a side note, for those who might want to cook with their protein powder, this makes great chocolate orange protein truffles and brownies.
PhD: Not only do you get a very good protein for your money with PhD's Pharma Whey, but you get one packed full of added amino acids that are vital for your body's recovery after a gruelling session in the gym. Easy to mix, if a little watery, the banana flavoured whey was exactly that, banana flavoured. Too many proteins are too sweet, due to added hidden sugars, but PhD have got their flavourings spot on.
USN: Not that there is anything inherently wrong with USN's Pure Protein but it was our least favourite of all that we tried, with the chocolate flavour a bit of a let down. It is also lacking on protein content a little, but that said it boasts some quality ingredients and mixes well.
Bio-Synergy: For many the biggest factor, above taste and texture, when buying a protein powder is the nutritional content. If that's you then then Bio-Synergy's Whey Better wins every time. Super low in fat and carbs your shake will be packed full of protein and a few bonus amino acids too. The Essential Cyclist found it to be a little watery in taste, but there is no arguing with the quality of ingredients.
The Essential Cyclist's Pick: This was a tricky one and as such we have gone for two proteins. First is The Natural Whey Company for the fact that, as well as good nutritional content, theirs was a tasty, thicker shake with the others all being a little more watery in comparison for our liking. However, if it's purely nutritional content you are concerned with then you can't beat Bio-Synergy. All of the proteins had good nutritional content but theirs was that much better.
Note: All shakes were made with the recommended amount of water.