Supplement Mania - Protein Supplements

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Protein Supplements

Protein Supplements

Whether you want to lose weight or gain it, one thing is for sure - you can't afford to lose muscle tissue. Healthy muscles not only support and power the body, they consume a great deal of nutrients. This means for those trying to lose or maintain weight, it's essential that muscle weight is not lost. Those trying to gain weight want to gain more muscle.

In either case, protein supplementation is recommended to insure the body gets enough protein to properly rebuild muscle and so it is not starved enough to tap existing muscle for energy. There are many kinds of proteins available, but the most pure and bio-available (usable by the body) is whey protein isolate.

You do need to watch out for artificial sweeteners and other performance enhancers in some whey protein powders. For most people I recommend a simple, pure whey protein isolate flavored with stevia and mixed with organic skim milk or pure water one to three times per day.

Finally! A mainstream protein powder has arrived that does not contain artificial sweeteners. I have been waiting for these products to hit the market for many years now. In the past there were only a few very specialized sources for whey protein powder that did not come loaded with chemicals, and they charged a fortune per pound.

But now, the best selling whey protein finally comes without artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors, or chemicals! This is definitely the whey protein product I recommend for most people. It is sweetened with all natural stevia and fructose (fruit sugar).

Here’s the best part... it’s cheap! (Can you tell I’m excited that this type of product has finally made it to the mainstream?)

I suggest every athletic person take a protein supplement, especially on workout days, even if you’re trying to lose weight. This is the one you should be taking right now. Mix it with organic skim milk, and you’re good to go.

One minor note.. this product will be changing names at some point, and combining with the original Gold Standard Whey. So the all-important “Natural” in the name may disappear. Just make sure you check the label and get the version with stevia and fructose, without artificial sweeteners.

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Optimum 100% Natural Whey Gold Standard

Designer Whey is another well-known, top selling brand in the protein field. I'm pleased to report that they now have an all-natural product that has no artificial sweeteners or flavors.

This product is another favorite of mine in the whey protein field. It's flavored with all-natural flavorings plus stevia extract to give it a little sweetness without any chemicals. It's made from a blend of whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate... exactly what you want in a post-workout supplement.

If you're an athlete you need protein to build and rejuvenate muscle tissue, especially right after a strenuous workout. What you don't need are chemical sweeteners and flavors. I highly recommend the Designer Whey Natural series of products. I personally like the chocolate best, though vanilla isn't bad either. At this time they only make the natural version in these three flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla, and Natural. I found that all of these have a mild, smooth flavor and they mix quite well.

The third flavor in the natural series is the natural flavor (Confused? Yes it's Design Whey Natural - Natural Flavor). It's basically just unflavored whey. For some this will make for a great shake because there isn't much flavor. What I really like it for is adding it to oatmeal or cereal with breakfast. Instead of eating a quick breakfast and mixing up a shake, I just dump it right into my breakfast directly. It's almost flavorless, but still adds that valuable protein you need, especially when eating a carb-heavy breakfast such as cold cereal.

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Designer Whey - All Natural

MuscleMilk is an interesting supplement because it provides not only protein (whey and casein), but also fats. It doesn’t include just any fat though, it includes MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) which are burned by the body as energy, and not stored as fat. These are found in high concentrations in breast milk and feeding formulas.

This product provides not only muscle-building protein but also energy from quality fats. I recommend this product for athletic people trying to either gain or maintain their current weight.

The best news here is that this product, much like the Optimum Natural Whey, now comes without the artificial sweeteners.

I tried the original Muscle Milk when it first came out, and I absolutely loved it... until I realized it was sweetened with artificial sweeteners. Blech!

But now there’s a Natural version that contains no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners! Hurray! This version is sweetened with all-natural stevia and Lo Han Guo extract.

This product performs well, tastes better than other similar products, and costs less. I do suggest most people only need half the recommended serving size (1 scoop instead of 2), especially if you’re taking it with milk. You do need to be a little careful how you store it, because I have had it clump together and become very difficult to mix. This is especially true in individual use packets.

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Cytosport Muscle Milk Natural

Performance Whey Protein

This is where my enthusiasm begins to fade. First of all, I should note that I’ve taken Nitrotech for years, and have always thought it was the most effective whey protein formula out there. This is NOT just a regular whey protein. It includes several other substances, including nitric oxide producers and creatine complexes.

If you just want to get more protein, then you definitely don’t need this elaborate of a supplement.

But here’s the major downside… it has always had artificial sweeteners in it, sucralose (a.k.a. Splenda®) and acesulfame potassium. I’m a big opponent of all artificial sweeteners, but I did make an exception for this one product. However, recently they changed this product to use aspartame instead of the other sweeteners. I was absolutely appalled at this.

When I got my last container I immediately noticed a dramatic decline in taste (that’s the aspartame) and took a glance at the label I thought I was already familiar with. I suddenly realized they had added my worst enemy to mix… aspartame. This is an extremely dangerous chemical sweetener, and one I want no part of.

So unfortunately, I no longer take this product and can no longer recommend it for others to use. I will say in its defense, it is a product that works for gaining and maintaining muscle. Unfortunately now those results come at the cost of the vast array of aspartame related disorders including brain cancer.

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Muscletech Nitro-tech Hardcore

I first got a taste of this thanks to a whole bunch of free sample packets BSN sent me. I was fairly amazed at taste of this stuff (I had the vanilla ice cream flavor). This product is geared toward a sustained release of nutrients.

It does contain medium chain triglycerides (good fats for energy – and probably what helps improve the flavor) like Muscle Milk, along with a more solid whey protein set. Unfortunately this product is flavored with artificial sweeteners sucralose and acesulfame potassium. It is, at least, aspartame free.

This is a good performance supplement for athletes who want to get ahead. However, due to the artificial sweeteners I would recommend you go with the Optimum Natural for post workout, and the Muscle Milk Natural for pre-workout/overnight/sustained-release instead of this product until BSN comes out with a naturally flavored version.

As a quick note, I have contacted BSN several times asking if and when they might release naturally flavored substitutes for some of their products and I've always gotten ignored.

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BSN Syntha-6

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