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Optimum 100% Whey Protein

February 13th, 2009 1 comment

Optimum 100% Whey Protein (Vanilla Ice Cream Flavor)Buy Now

Optimum 100% Whey Protein


Protein Highlights

  • 24g protein per scoop, 30 scoops per jar (2lb product)
  • 4 whey protein formulas
  • low fat
  • added digestive enzymes

The Most Popular Protein

Despite me using the ON whey for a few years now, this is actually a strange review to write. It’s become such a staple for me I don’t even think about it! My brother recommended it to me after seeing me go through several protein brands when I started lifting.

The Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Protein is one of the most popular supplements out there. It won the Supplement Of The Year and Protein Powder Of The Year awards for all of 2005 to 2008. Every gym I’ve been to has it in stock, and it’s never let me down. Why is this?

Good Protein

To start, ON sells this as a blend of various whey proteins – 2 kinds of Whey Protein Isolates, Whey Protein Concentrate, and Whey Peptides.

The Whey isolates come in 2 forms: Ion-Exchanged and Microfiltered. The ion-exchanged whey, while providing a high bulk of protein, does leave behind some fat. Unfortunately the process also denatures some of the amino acids resulting in a less than perfect blend. Luckily, the microfiltered portion provides a good boost of essential whey fractions (the good, health promoting molecules that make whey so beneficial) without any lactose or fat left behind. ON has blended the two types of whey isolates together into a very effective mixture.

The other two portions of the blend – the concentrate and the peptides – are spot on. Even with including a whey concentrate the fat content per serving does not top 1.5 grams. While whey concentrates can vary widely in quality and protein percentage, ON’s concentrate is about as high as you go for protein makeup – there’s just such little fat and cholesterol!

The whey peptide portion is a super fast acting protein source. It’s been hydrolyzed to split it apart into easy to digest molecules. When you go to drink this postworkout, the peptides are going to hit your muscles first.

Digestibility

While most protein isolates contain very little lactose, this can be a big deal for some people. ON gets around this problem very nicely. They’ve blended in lactase and Aminogen digestive enzymes into the mix to basically cancel out any digestion problems the lactose might cause.

Does it help? Yes! Some wheys leave me feeling bloated for an hour or two after drinking. I’m quite happy to say the Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey has never given me digestion problems.

Other Goodies

ON also includes 4 grams of glutamine and glutamine precursors in each serving. This won’t replace a glutamine supplement, but it’s a welcome addition if you care about repairing muscle tissue post-workout. As for amino acids, this whey has 5 grams of the branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) valine, leucine, and isoleucine in each scoop. BCAAs are essential amino acids your body needs to build muscle tissue.

The Bottom Line

Does Optimum Nutrition’s 100% Whey deserve to be the most popular whey protein powder? Yes! ★★★★★

Cytosport Muscle Milk

February 16th, 2009 2 comments

Cytosport Muscle Milk ready to drinkBuy Now

Cytosport Muscle Milk ready to drink


Highlights

  • 34g protein (17 oz bottle)
  • zero trans-fat
  • low carbs

The Claim

“Muscle Milk is an “evolutionary” muscle formula promoting efficient fat burning, lean muscle growth and fast recovery from exercise.” –CytoSport

Evolutionary?

Cytosport’s protein blend is called EvoPro – short for evolutionary based protein. They don’t use use just whey protein isolate, instead preferring a mixture of various proteins including casein and whey isolate.

Why?

The various proteins will absorb at different rates and give your muscles more protein than just a quick shot of whey isolate would. If taken before bed, the casein will digest as you sleep, actually making you grow healthier muscles overnight.

The real kicker is the ratios used in Muscle Milk. They’ve formulated this stuff to have the same nitrogen and protein ratios as found in human mother’s milk! Think about the last time you were undergoing explosive growth (hint: you couldn’t talk, had to be fed every few hours, and ended up tripling in size in a few years). What were you eating then? A mixture high in certain fats and proteins.

In that regard Cytosport’s hit a grand slam. This is a great nutritional blend of the right fats and proteins to build muscle.

Drinkability and Fat

Muscle Milk is yummy. It smells and looks good, just make sure to shake it up very well.

Look at the label – the fat levels in the ready to drink mix are high. 17 grams of fat per serving. This goes a long way to improving the taste of this drink, but thankfully without causing problems.

The fats are actually medium chain triglycerides. These types of fat have a low calorie count and and burned as energy much more easily than normal fats. This means they give a nice rich flavor to this shake, but won’t pack on the fatty tissue.

The Bottom Line

A good protein drink for nighttime or as a meal replacement. Will help you gain muscle without putting on more fat. ★★★★★

Optimum 100% Natural Whey Protein

February 22nd, 2009 1 comment

Optimum 100% Natural Whey Protein (2 pound, vanilla)Buy Now

Optimum 100% Natural Whey Protein


Highlights

  • 24 grams of protein
  • no artificial ingredients
  • added digestive enzymes

The Claim

“No artificial stuff” –Optimum Nutrition

No Artificial Anything

Let’s look at the label. Protein blend, fructose, natural flavor, lecithin. No artificial flavoring or colorants. The sweetness is provided by a moderate (70mg) addition of stevia per serving – a natural plant with no carbs like sugar, but a very sweet taste.

Optimum Nutrition is right – this is a natural protein, free of additive junk.

How’s The Protein?

Let’s not just judge this protein by what’s not in it. Does it deliver the muscle building goods?

Yes! ON’s gold standard whey is always winning awards for being the best whey protein powder on the market. The protein in this product is a protein blend composed of whey isolates, whey concentrate, and whey peptides.

The whey isolates are the portion that is fact acting. Taken right after a workout, whey isolate starts going to work to repair muscle tissue. The whey peptides are full of whey fractions (the really healthy portions of whey), while the whey concentrate balances it all out.

ON has also thrown in 4 grams of gluatmine and glutamine precursors in their mix.

Taste

The sweetness can be a little sharper than expected because of the stevia. If you’ve never tried a stevia product you might be surprised at the taste and want to pass.

On the other hand, I’m fine with stevia and don’t mind drinking this protein.

Finding a natural whey protein without stevia in it can be challenging. Consider adding in some flax oil, fruit, or milk if the taste is bothersome. It’s really up to you what you’re looking for – but for savvy people all natural is important.

The Bottom Line

ON’s trusted protein blend with even less additives. One of the best got better. Great right after a draining workout. ★★★★☆

Syntrax Nectar

February 13th, 2009 2 comments
Syntrax Nectar Lemon Tea FlavorBuy Now

Syntrax Nectar

The Claim

“…so delicious that you can eat it right out of the container. Imagine putting a protein powder in your mouth and it tasting like candy.” –Syntrax

Highlights

  • 23g protein per scoop, 36 scoops per jar
  • 0 carbs, 0 fat
  • whey protein isolate

That’s Quite A Claim!

I can handle marketing speak about “the fastest this” or “a breakthrough that”, but to say you’ve got a protein you can eat right from the jar…well, that’s an intense claim. Having actually tried to eat some ON and GNC whey straight up on some cereal one day I can see the need for a whey that is engineered to taste better.

Happily, Syntrax has a winner here. Syntrax Nectar is delicious. They’ve made 8 different flavors of the regular Nectar protein and all do taste good. Really. I prefer the Crystal Sky flavor, but any will work.

I know it sounds crazy to say your whey isolate smoothie is enjoyable, but it can be. Even without mixing in ice cream, milk, or peanut butter. Even in just water.

Ok, So it Tastes Good. Does it Work?

By work you mean will it help you get ripped without adding fatty pounds, right?

Oh yeah. Syntrax is using a special blend of whey isolate called Promina Whey. Whey isolate is the fastest digesting and easiest type of protein for your body to rebuild muscle tissue with.

Promina whey on it’s own is tasteless, comes undenatured for higher quality and is produced cold. This means it has more bio-available amino acids than cheaper whey isolates. Promina also has many whey fractions like Beta Lactoglobulins, Alpha Lactoalbumin, Glycomacropeptides, Immunoglobulin, B.S. Albumin, Protease Peptone, Lactoferrin, and Lactoperoxidase.

Promina is such a biologically good whey isolate, Syntrax actually makes an unflavored Nectar version that the medical industry (hospitals, nutrionists, etc) uses.

End result? The base protein in Nectar is high quality and has more active molecules than other comparable isolates.

Downsides

Like most whey isolate powders, Syntax Nectar can get foamy when shaken or stirred around. It seems like it does it more than some of the other isolates. Not that big of a deal really, but if you’re into shaking your drink in a bottle it can be a problem.

The Bottom Line

Holy crap – my protein drink actually tastes good. Perfect for drinking during a workout or if you care how your post-workout smoothie tastes, and it’s fast to digest. ★★★★½

MET-Rx Meal Replacement Protein Shake

February 16th, 2009 No comments
MET-Rx Meal ReplacementBuy Now

MET-Rx Meal Replacement

Highlights

  • 38 grams of protein
  • full of vitamins
  • low fat (2.5g)

The MET-Rx protein shakes are a reliable choice. The Original Meal Replacement Formula is MET-Rx’s flagship protein shake, and it keeps getting better and better. The most recent formula has cut out lots of fat and carbs, and provides 38 grams of various proteins.

The Secret Is Out!

This protein shake’s main ingredient is Metamyosyn, MET-Rx’s special protein blend. This name sounds confusing, but it isn’t really once we dive in.

Metamyosyn is a blend of several muscle building proteins – not just whey. Whey protein concentrate is included, along with egg protein and casein protein. While whey is fast acting and hits your muscles quick, casein digests much more slowly. We’re talking up to 6 hours longer.

This combination allows your muscles to get an initial blast of protein from the whey, then continue to get amped from the casein for hours!

How’s It Taste?

This is a very unassuming drink. It’s not going to make headlines on taste (the special protein blend does that), but it’s not bad at all – just a very middle of the road, easy to down, protein shake. The vanilla doesn’t have any strange additives or anything, nor is there any bad aftertaste or digestive problems.

Anything Else?

MET-Rx throws in 110% of your calcium for the day, along with lots of the B vitamins. This drink was originally made by a doctor studying nutrition in people who couldn’t eat much because of surgery, so it’s designed from the ground up to be as chock full of vitamins as possible.

The Bottom Line

A pioneering formula with lots of proteins and vitamins for muscle growth. It will provide your muscles with protein for hours. ★★★★☆