36 Comments

  1. Hi Andy,
    Thank you for managing this thorough website dedicated to helping people for FREE! What are your thoughts on protoleyic enzymes and the science claiming we can only absorb a small amount of protein per hour?

    1. There is indeed a limit to the rate at which we can absorb protein per hour (~8-10g per hour for whey), but that doesn’t mean that the rest isn’t put to good use, nor that this rate limitation is a bad thing.

      There are three proteolytic enzymes produced naturally in the body to break down protein in meals. I don’t have any particular thoughts on them. Unless you’re asking because this is a new thing being marketed as a supplement. If that’s the case I’d need to see research pointing to this being more beneficial over the long term.

      This paper is easy to read and provides an excellent summary on this topic: How much protein can the body use in a single meal for muscle-building? Implications for daily protein distribution.

    2. Thank you for the quick response, that article speaks slightly over my head but I tried to understand it as best I could. I was asking about the supplements or consuming enzymes from fresh food sources such as papaya/kiwi/pineapple. For now I plan to avoid the supplements until an authority on the subject confirms its usefulness. Ultimately I want to avoid over spending hard earned money on expensive protein if it is just wasted through excrement. Your reply suggests that’s not the case.

    3. Correct! Though there is no need to supplement with it if you get enough protein through food throughout the day. Whey is just a powdered food, helpful to hit protein targets if you struggle otherwise.

  2. Thank you for the post. Sometimes it’s hard to teach a man to fish, tho. For those who are curious about MyProtein, here’s the profile for all Impact whey protein (isolate, blend, etc): [Deleted]

    1. Sometimes it’s hard to teach a man to fish, tho.
      People have to be willing to learn to actually learn. Most just want to be spoon fed. This is fine, but I don’t write for nor work with the latter group.

      I’m not sure if you’ve listed the My Protein because you’re confused as to how to assess the quality of it as it’s listed as 100 g, but it’s quite simple: The BCAAs add to 22.9 g, the leucine is listed as 10.6 g. The quality check is 25% and 11% respectively. This is close enough in my eyes.

      I deleted your link because I won’t have external links to supplement companies on my website, so I took a screenshot of the relevant section here:

      My Protein claimed amino acid profile

    1. Hi Jiman,
      I understand you asking, but what I personally choose is truly irrelevant, how I decide what I buy is what’s important.
      I choose a protein based on quality, which you now know how to do. The next thing I look at is price, when including taxes and shipping fees to Japan, which is where I live.

  3. Hello, Andy
    What do you think of Rule 1 protein products? They use a “nutrition facts” rather than a “supplement facts” label. They also include lecithin as an ingredient.

  4. Hi Andy,

    Thanks for all your great content I was really interested to read the information about protein powders but I have some questions I wonder if you could help with.

    I started looking around for a casein protein powder without sweeteners or flavours – just plain casein protein that fits the leucine profile you suggest (+/- 2.75 gms leucine per 25 gms protein) but I am finding it impossible so far. So I started to wonder does casein protein have a different leucine profile to whey ? Looked at whey to compare but this seems to be a similar situation. I just don’t need & don’t particularly like the additives in these powders but surely there must be a product on the market that is additive free but meets the profile?

    Then I happened upon bulk supplements companies that sell leucine powder on its own & I wondered if this might be an option to buy the cheapest plain casein powder on the market which is the closest to the leucine profile you suggest & boost it with some pure leucine powder.

    Appreciate any comments you have about above.

    1. I just don’t need & don’t particularly like the additives in these powders but surely there must be a product on the market that is additive free but meets the profile?
      – I don’t know.
      I wondered if this might be an option to buy the cheapest plain casein powder on the market which is the closest to the leucine profile you suggest & boost it with some pure leucine powder.
      – Just have a little more protein from real food instead, meaning, bump your protein intake for the day by ~20 g.

  5. Hi Andy! What a great read was this, thank you so much! In my country whey is affordable but casein is high priced and hard to find. Is egg protein powder a good substitute? i would love to mix egg and whey protein whenever i have little time to eat. I dont know if im right but i think egg+whey would last longer to be digested. Do you recommend only whey or whey+egg in this case?

    Thank you so much andy, your site is pure gold, i cant thank you enough. A big hug from Argentina!

    1. I haven’t looked up the length of digestion for egg protein, but it would be fine to mix if it meets the standards above. In general, it’s not worth worrying about the speed of digestion.

    2. Thank you so much Andy! Every time i have asked you something you give me a good answer and that is really means a lot in this “internet-coach-era” so thank you so so much

  6. Around when IF/LG was reaching its peak popularity, [X] also started to gain a lot of popularity. Somewhat surprised it’s not mentioned..
    – decent price (~$3.8-$4.4 USD/100g Protein, depending what you get/where you buy)
    – has proper bcaa content (~23-24% of total protein, and ~10-11% of total protein is leucine)
    – plenty of flavors taste great, macro friendly, and even has fiber

    1. I have readers all over the world different products available to them. So I don’t give recommendations, it’s better to teach people how to assess what they have available to them. This is more empowering and is the way I like to coach clients also.

      Note: I’ve deleted the product name.

  7. Hi Andy,
    great article.
    I am struggling with dumping my default protein powder when I compare its amino acid profile with your reccomendation. Maybe you can help me with a short rating from your side 🙂
    It is listed that L-Glycin is added additionally to the soy/whey/mil-mix resulting in 7,55% of Leucine and 13,47% of Glycin. So Leucine is below your reccomendation of 11% but Glycine is not above the 22,8% of the Beef Protein Isolate you have analyzed above.

    I would like to read from you whether you consider this Leucine/Glycine ratio as a good or a bad protein powder. And may be you can tell me what it is best to look for; either high Leucine (x>=11%) or low Glycine (x<=15% or similar) when I meet a powder that cannot fullfill both requirements.

    Thanks a lot!

    1. The glycine content will differ depending on the protein source. (I do not those numbers, but you can google it, run the averages and see if your powder has likely been spiked).

      Honestly, I wouldn’t bother though. When you are done with that powder I’d just get a better one what meets the requirements above.

  8. Hi Andy,
    I was wondering what your opinion would be on Huel’s amino acid profile, and whether you would recommend supplementing BCAAs (or an excuse to eat a steak more often)? (see here: https://uk.huel.com/pages/nutritional-information-and-ingredients#amino)

    It’s ~30g of protein per 100g of huel thus the amino acid profile is based off around that. While the leucine amount seems reasonable the general volume of BCAAs is quite poor. I’m not sure about the other stuff.

    I have approx 3 shakes a day throughout work (I have work very busy 12 hour shifts) alongside lunch and dinner. Try to avoid whey as it’s detrimental to my bulk (satiates for too long + bloating).

    Cheers.

    1. Hi G. I can’t offer to look at specific powders and give opinions. However, if the product has only 30g of protein per 100g, you’ve bought a ‘mass gain’ powder which mostly carbs. You’re better off buying a whey powder and eating real food instead.

      As for the quality of the protein in that powder, the same rules apply but to the 30 g. So, multiply by 0.3 if the ingredients are listed per 100 g when checking.

  9. Michael Stanton

    Hi Andy,

    The Protein I have been using is a 37g scoop, claims 30g of protein. L-Leucine content is 3.056 grams, but the total amino acid profile adds up to 30.117 grams (Per scoop, 37G serving)

    Does this mean I am getting almost no protein?

    1. Protein is made up of amino acids, so those numbers match.
      The leucine content is a little over 10% of the protein powder, which is close enough to 11%.

  10. Hello Andy,

    First of all thanks for all the information on the website, I’ve been reading it for years.

    In May of last year I decided to start working out with the big 3 routine and then added some tricep dips and chin-ups (3x a week). But I’m thinking about stopping since I realized too much hair was falling from my head and I don’t have genetics for AGA (I’m 30 though). I don’t know if it has something to do with the protein powder I was having (WPI from Alpron and Big casein from Bulksports ) or with the weightlifting itself (high levels of testosterone produces more DHT). So I stopped having the powders for a week and continued weightlifting, and didn’t change anything. What do you think about it? Do you know any similar cases?

    Best regards

    Marcel

    1. Hi Marcel. I’ve only heard of hair loss with people that use steroids, as this pushes testosterone levels far above the regular physiological range. Training will only have a small effect on t-levels, not an order of magnitude effect, like with steroid use, so I can’t see that being the cause.

      I’ve never heard of someone going bald due to their diet, but I am not the best person to ask about that.

  11. Andy,

    Long time, no message. When last we exchanged emails I was abroad in Asia, but I’m now permanently back in Japan, Tokyo to be exact. While following your Instagram feed I realized we share a second common interest: fast cars. Anyway, I digress.

    You mention you have an affordable source for Dymatize. Where are you buying from? My protein in Japan has come from Amazon and Costco so far.

  12. I use Myprotein brand Impact whey protein. I have read good reviews about it but discovered there is no listed leucine content on the packaging.

    Is this a warning sign?

    1. It could be perfectly fine, but the point is, you simply do not know.

      When you say ‘reviews,’ if you mean laboratory test results, then that’s one thing. But if you’re referring to customer reviews, then, “It tastes good. or “It worked for me!” doesn’t mean shit. There is not a difference to either taste nor be able to tell in terms of results as there is nothign to fairly compare against.

  13. Pinned this article immediately. Thoughts on Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard whey? It lists 5.5 grams of BCAAs but not a specific gram count for leucine. I’ve been using it for years now, but would love your feedback. Thank you!

    1. Thank you.
      It lists 5.5 grams of BCAAs but not a specific gram count for leucine.
      I don’t know any more than what is on the label, but I Labdoor.com does tests and probably has this.
      Without the leucine listed there is no way to tell if, as the most expensive amino acid, it’s been stripped out to be sold elsewhere. That’s probably unlikely, but still worth pointing out.

      Also, it’s 0.75 g short of what I would expect for 25g of whey.

  14. I agree with your view on the specific vegan product listed. I’ve used it. Maybe you should also point out that Rice protein isolate has far higher quantities of arginine per gram than whey protein isolate. Furthermore when you consume adequate doses of Rice Protein Isolate (48g per serving) versus Whey isolate(48g) their are no difference in muscle/strength and recovery capabilites between the two proteins: Read this study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3698202/
    Cheers mate.

    1. Hi Vince, thank you for pointing that out. A 70:30 mix of pea and rice protein closely mimics the amino acid profile of whey, which can be ordered as a custom blend from a number of stores. I’ve added that to the article.

  15. Great timing Andy. A new protein supplier has just popped up in NZ, and one of the biggest attractions to them is the low cost. I’ve just checked for Leucine content, and shocked to see none.

    I also noted the term, “Whey Protein concentrate.” Is that what you mean when you say proprietary blend?

    Cheers Andy

    1. No. Concentrate is a whey protein type, whey isolate generally has fewer carbs but for a higher cost.

      A proprietary blend is where manufacturers write something like:

      Proprietary Amazing GetFUckingHuuuuge Matrix, 10g.
      Ingredients: Creatine, Taurine, Glycine, Leucine, Valine, Isoleucine

      By doing this they can hide the actual amounts of the good shit and add in useless crap to increase their profit margins.

  16. Anthony Sanchez

    Another good article but can you name some other great whey protein powders. I actually use the one you mentioned but do you think you can name a couple others for variety, there are just tons all over the place.

    1. The purpose of this guide is to help you to make an educated decision on buying a protein product that is available locally to you, at a reasonable cost and shipping rate. I’m not here to make that decision for you.

  17. Andy,

    Do you have a list of your top 15 choices of whey proteins, that are either 100% whey or extremely low carb, also lower in sodium? Thank you!


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