Your Complete Guide to Finding the Best Protein Powder for Men
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It seems like everyone has an opinion on the best protein powder for men, including the companies that manufacture and market them. When you look at products with terms like ripped and shredded on the labels, you might assume that they’re targeted to men.
The truth is that men and women can benefit from any type of protein powder. However, men have some different nutritional needs that can steer them toward a more appropriate supplement for their bodies. Especially if they’re trying to lose weight, men should make sure that they aren’t losing lean muscle mass as they’re dieting.
Besides that, men can seek out protein powders with certain vitamins and minerals in which they may be deficient. They can also stand to consume products with plenty of calories and protein.
When people ask me what is the best protein powder for men’s weight loss, I explain that there are many factors that go into choosing this supplement. In this article, I aim to clarify some of the confusion surrounding protein powder for men and recommend the ones that are most appropriate for men’s nutritional needs.
Do Men Really Need A Gender-Specific Protein Powder?
Men and women truly are different when it comes to weight loss. Part of this comes down to eating preferences; men tend to prefer meat, while women often crave carbohydrates.
There is a reason that men have a hankering for protein. Because they have more testosterone than women, they also have more muscle tissue. They need to consume muscle to retain lean muscle mass, which helps keep the metabolism high and fend off fat gain (1).
Men need more protein…
According to Healthline, most nutritional organizations recommend that men take in approximately .36 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. However, Men’s Health reports that most adults could use more than that. A 180-pound male who works out for an hour five days a week might perform best when he eats about 100 grams of protein a day (2).
…and could use more calories
In general, men have higher calorie needs than women. WebMD explains that a moderately active man should take in about 2,400 to 2,800 calories per day. After age 51, you need fewer calories. You may need more calories if you work out frequently and intensely. The average moderately active woman needs only 2,000 to 2,200 calories per day to maintain her weight.
If you’re trying to lose weight, taking in these calories from protein can boost your metabolism and prevent you from putting on extra fat. Be aware that consuming more calories than you need to support your fuel needs can make you gain weight even if those calories do come from protein.
Men also have higher levels of circulating red blood cells. Therefore, they may not tolerate low blood sugar levels very well. Using a protein powder as a snack can prevent men from experiencing low energy due to a drop in blood glucose (3).
Should men focus on micronutrients or macronutrients?
Micronutrients and macronutrients provide all of your nutritional needs. Macronutrients, or macros, are the main components of food: protein, fat and carbohydrates. Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals that you need for optimal health.
If you’re considering using a protein powder, you should obviously pay attention to how much protein it contains. Research shows that eating a moderate amount of protein per meal is best for building muscle (4). Only about 30 grams of protein consumed at one sitting contribute to muscle growth. One popular study says that active young men experience maximum protein synthesis when they take 20 grams of protein at once (5).
Protein absorption may be important
You should also think about how quickly the protein is absorbed by the body. Some researchers say that only about 15 grams of whey protein can be absorbed by the body within about an hour and a half. Others have found that protein metabolism doesn’t change whether you eat all of your protein at once or not (6).
(Just to compare, you absorb the protein from an egg at a rate of about 2.9 grams per hour). Digestive enzymes can improve absorption and are an added ingredient to look for in the best men’s protein powder.
Scientists also say that whey protein is digested faster than casein, another type of milk protein. But whey comes as a concentrate, isolate and hydrolysate. Whey hydrolysate is the most processed form, and concentrate is the least processed.
Studies show that hydrolysate is absorbed the fastest. This type of protein may be perfect for people using it for muscle building and recovery. Concentrate is absorbed more slowly than the other types of whey, but it may contain more healthy ingredients because it’s less processed (7).
Balancing fat and carbs perfectly
To sum it up, you should look for a protein powder that delivers between 15 and 20 grams of protein at once. If you’re trying to lose weight, limiting your carbs may be a good idea. Fat can help you feel full. Therefore, you shouldn’t worry too much about the fat content in your protein powder.
However, each of us is different and finding the right balance depends on many factors. This video can help you get a better idea on how to mix macronutrients for the most beneficial impact according to your goals:
What micronutrients should men look for in a protein powder?
The best protein powder for men also contains micronutrients that help with muscle growth, recovery and hormone balance.
- Choline enhances communication between the brain and the muscles. Men don’t really need more choline than women, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. But because approximately 90 percent of Americans don’t get enough choline in their diets, almost everyone could use some choline supplementation (8).
The best sources of choline are liver and lima beans, which explains why so many people are deficient. A protein powder might be an easier way to take in this micronutrient.
- Iodine supports testosterone in a roundabout way. Because the mineral is necessary for a healthy thyroid, it also helps regulate testosterone levels. Hypothyroidism can cause men’s testosterone levels to decline and estrogen levels to rise (9).
- Creatine is a blend of amino acids that are naturally found in muscle. It helps move extra energy into your cells so that you can use it to fuel your workouts. Men’s Health says that it can help you increase your physical workload, which in turn can make you stronger.
- Glutamine is the most plentiful amino acid in the body. It helps fuel the cells and regulate many metabolic processes. When taken as a supplement, it can support muscle growth and slow tissue damage (10).
- Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) can prevent muscle breakdown while you work out. If you’re doing a lot of lifting, you might want to look into a protein powder that contains BCAAs to optimize your strength gains.
Myths and truths about protein powder for men
Is protein powder really necessary?
The Mayo Clinic says that protein shakes can be an effective way to lose weight if you use them to replace meals. However, real food contains bioactive ingredients that can’t be replicated in a powder (11).
Snacking on protein-rich foods can keep you from overeating throughout the day, research shows. Grabbing a protein shake is one way to fill up. Plus, most of them are tasty enough to curb your cravings for treats (12).
The bottom line is that you should strive to get most of your macro and micronutrients from whole foods. If you need or want to supplement a well-rounded diet, using protein powder is much easier than making a snack or meal from scratch.
Do protein powders really work?
To answer this question, I need to address what men are trying to achieve by using protein powder. If you have trouble consuming the appropriate balance of macronutrients, you can certainly boost your intake with a supplement.
If getting stronger or building bigger muscles is your goal, protein powder could help. Doctors agree that it’s not a magical solution that will enhance your muscles alone. However, ramping up your protein intake can accelerate muscle gain if you do resistance training exercises (13).
Not everyone works out to get stacked, though. Common health and fitness concerns for middle-aged men include a lack of energy, little time for exercise, poor food choices due to a busy lifestyle and poor quality sleep.
Protein powder can make eating a balanced diet more convenient, helping you make better food choices. You might be able to increase your energy by eating protein, especially if you’re dieting, says trainer Jillian Michaels (14).
Are protein powders healthy?
All protein powders are not made equally. They’ve all been highly processed in order to pack all of the nutrients that they contain into one scoop of powder. To make them taste good, some manufacturers use artificial flavors or sweeteners.
However, most protein powders aren’t harmful to a healthy adult if they’re used in moderation. Make sure that you eat a balanced diet with plenty of other proteins, fruits and vegetables to optimize your nutrition and fitness.
Best Protein Powder For Men
From consistency to ingredients and additives, when it comes to protein powder every detail matters. Now, considering that men have different needs and each sets a different goal for himself, choosing the right product may seem like a real struggle. We’ve embarked on this journey and picked five of the most beneficial powders for men; let’s check them out and discover which is the best item on the list!
Because Isopure contains 25 grams of protein per serving and no fat or carbs, it’s ideal for men who are focusing on taking in more protein without adding other macros into the mix.
Plus, it’s low in calories. One scoop delivers only 100 calories, which means that you won’t end up with a bloated calorie count even if you snack on this a few times a day.
It doesn’t have fat or carbs, thus making it perfect as a post-workout snack; the fact that it’s absorbed quickly makes this powder a perfect choice to boost muscle recovery and healthy growth. You may want to add other ingredients, like coconut oil or hemp hearts, to make your shake more satisfying. This powder works well for adding protein to baked goods.
- Comes in many unique flavors, including unflavored and alpine punch
- Gluten and lactose-free formula may be easier on the digestion
- Zero carbs and low calorie count makes this ideal for weight loss
- Contains 240 g sodium, which can make it taste a little salty
- Has a slight buttermilk flavor
Because this powder is made from hydrolyzed whey protein isolate, it should be easily absorbed by the body. The powder is also designed to blend easily with liquid without the need for a blender. That makes it extremely convenient to use as a post-workout snack.
With almost 9 grams of BCAAs in each serving, this protein powder delivers the foundation for muscle building. It also contains 15 grams of other essential amino acids.
The manufacturer recommends that you use this as soon as you wake up, before endurance exercise and after strength training. Because one serving contains so much protein, you can easily split up the consumption to reduce your calorie load or spread out your protein intake throughout the day.
- Low in fat and carbs (works well for any diet)
- 30 grams of protein in a 140-calorie serving
- Contains digestive enzyme for enhanced absorption
- Some customers say the flavors are too strong/sweet
This is some of the best whey protein for men because it contains various protein sources including hydrolyzed whey protein, as well as isolate and whey protein concentrate.
The different absorption rates help this supplement keep you full for an extended period of time. The best times to use it would be between meals and as your last snack of the evening, especially if you wake up hungry.
Add a little to your morning coffee to give you energy before a workout without filling your belly with food, or work some into baked goods for extra protein.
PHASE8 also contains calcium, which doesn’t get enough attention for men. About 25 percent of men will experience a fracture related to osteoporosis. Taking in enough calcium can help protect your bones.
- Contains calcium and BCAAs for quick muscle recovery
- Has 26 grams of protein in 150-calorie scoop
- Contains 5 grams of glutamine per serving
- Relatively high in carbohydrates
- Might not be well-tolerated by people who are sensitive to lactose or milk
Like the Muscletech protein powder, this one contains a variety of protein sources to help you stay satisfied after consuming it. In addition to whey protein concentrate, hydrolysate and casein, it contains egg albumin, which is highly bio-available.
The digestive enzymes in the powder can also help your body absorb the protein rapidly. Because this powder also contains BCAAs and glutamine, it can be used before and after a workout.
The calorie count is low enough that supplementing your diet with this powder shouldn’t hinder your weight-loss goals. It’s also one of the best whey protein for men if you want an option with a little less protein than the others.
- Has digestive enzymes to help absorption and prevent bloating
- 25 grams of pure protein in a 130-calorie scoop
- Contains a blend of healthy protein sources
- May create digestive problems for sensitive consumers
This is one of the best-tasting protein powders with some unique flavor combinations, including Cinnamon Swirl and Strawberry. The incredible flavors give you versatility. Mix them with water or milk, or combine them with any recipe to enhance the flavor and protein profile.
It also contains digestive enzymes and BCAAs to keep your digestive system at ease and enhance workout recovery. Although this powder isn’t carb-free, it’s relatively low in the macronutrient, which makes it fit most diet requirements.
The calorie count is low enough that supplementing your diet with this powder shouldn’t hinder your weight-loss goals. It’s also some of the best whey protein for men if you want an option with a little less protein than the others.
- Mixes well with yogurt or baked goods
- 28 grams of protein per serving (enough for an active lifestyle)
- Has digestive enzymes that prevent unpleasant symptoms
- People who are lactose intolerant may be sensitive to whey concentrate
It was difficult to choose the best protein powder for men’s weight loss because all of them are high-quality and taste pretty good. Regardless if you’re sensitive to lactose or not, I would recommend the Isopure Zero Carb Whey Protein Isolate because it has plenty of protein and helps you meet the daily recommended macronutrient intake. This makes it convenient to use on a daily basis to get your much-needed boost of energy – and speed up muscle recovery in a healthy way.
The formula is ideal for men who are on a ketogenic diet or are trying to restrict their carbohydrate intake. Furthermore, this powder contains additional vitamins that strengthen the bone and articular structures – both essential for fast recovery and energy throughout the day.
Experimenting to determine what works best for your body might be the best way to achieve weight loss results with protein powder. Try changing the amount that you consume as well as the times of day that you use it. Remember to continue exercising and eating healthfully to get the best results.