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Protein, Meal, and Diet Powders, Shakes, and Drinks Tested by ConsumerLab.com Question:
What's the best protein to keep and gain muscle when you're older?

Answer:
As we age, we tend to lose muscle, but this can be reversed by a combination of resistance exercise and proper intake of protein — which is more than many older people consume. On their own, neither of these approaches will help — so don't just eat more protein, for example. 

All meats provide complete protein, providing all the amino acids needed for making muscle and in good balance, although some, such as fish, are more healthful than others, such as red meat, due to the type of fat they contain. Plant-based foods can also provide protein and build muscle, although, individually, they may not provide the optimal ratio of amino acids. 

Protein powders and protein drinks and shakes can also be good sources of protein. In general, whey protein is a great all-around protein for building and maintaining muscle and it contains all the essential amino acids. Be aware that it's made from milk, so it will naturally contain small amounts of fat, cholesterol and lactose. You can lower the amounts of these substances by choosing a whey isolate, which essentially isolates the whey protein from these other components. Whey and whey isolates taste somewhat like powdered milk. If you have trouble digesting protein or want to absorb it quicker, you can choose a whey hydrolysate in which the protein is, essentially, pre-digested, but be aware that hydrolysates can be somewhat bitter.

Other types of protein are available and can be beneficial, such as casein (also from milk), pea, egg, rice, soy, and hemp. See the Protein Powder, Shakes & Drinks Review for more details about each type of protein, using protein to build and maintain muscle mass, how much protein to consume from food and supplements, and when during the day it may be best to consume protein.

Be aware that 28% of the protein products that we tested at ConsumerLab in 2016 failed to pass our tests. Furthermore, among those that passed, the cost to obtain an equivalent amount of protein (20 grams) ranged from just 67 cents to over $5. Check out our Top Picks among the protein powders we tested and see how products compared on quality and cost. 

ConsumerLab is currently testing (and tasting) more protein powders. Look for our next report toward the end of December 2018. Be alerted when it comes out by joining our free newsletter.

Learn more about protein powders, shakes and drinks:



Can heat and humidity destroy whey protein and other sports nutrition supplements (e.g., creatine, BCAAs, digestive enzymes) during shipping or while storing at home? >>

Immunocal is much more expensive than other whey protein isolates - is it worth the extra cost? >>

Some protein powders contain whey protein concentrate, and others contain whey protein isolates - what is the difference? >>

I do moderate exercise for about an hour a few times a week. Which supplements might help me? >>

See other recent and popular questions >>
COMMENTS

devi17371   December 12, 2018
HEMP PROTEIN POWDER BY NUTIVA IS MY CURIOSITY. I USE IT DAILY AND HOPE THAT IT CHECKS ALL BOXES ON SAFETY. I LOVE & TRUST NUTIVA FOR ALL OF MY SUPPLEMENT ITEMS (BAKING PRODUCTS, NUTS SEEDS ETC) AND HOPE THAT THEY ARE AS CLEAN FROM TOXINS AS THEY CLAIM TO BE.

ConsumerLab.com   December 12, 2018
Nutivia Organic Hemp Protein Powder is among the products tested in the current review. See the results.

Star17363   December 9, 2018
Please also test Garden of Life's Raw Organic Protein, Unflavored, Unsweetened powder.

Jason17341   December 5, 2018
Hello, when you test protein powders can you please test Now protein isolate unflavored and Pro Mix Isolate, as well as a variety of other unflavored isolates. Also, can you review if there is any benefit to grass-fed whey and compare grass fed isolate to concentrate to non-grass fed whey. Also, is there any efficacy to cold-processed isolate or concentrate over other types. Thanks.

ConsumerLab.com   December 6, 2018
Thanks for your suggestion. We will soon be publishing a new protein powder/drinks report and these types of products are included.


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This CL Answer initially posted on 12/4/2018.
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