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Protein Comparison: How Does Your Protein Taste?

Most people in our fast paced society will need some supplemental protein. Read on to find out more on price, nutritional content, taste, and solubility of top selling protein drinks.

By: John Berardi


Buying A Protein Powder
Decisions, Decisions

In case you haven't read any of John Berardi's previous ravings in Testosterone magazine or in one of a variety of other publications, we would like to quickly summarize his thoughts; if you want to gain lean mass while minimizing fat gain, you must "overfeed" high quality protein. Got it?

The Winning Formula: Manipulate Your Diet & Exercise To Look Great Naked!
I have yet to meet a healthy man or woman that couldn't use more protein in his or her diet. It's high time we drop our prejudiced attitude toward protein and start giving it the respect it deserves.

Good. For more specifics, we encourage you to go and check out some of his articles. If you've read the articles and are up to speed on the importance of a high intake of high quality protein sources, it's time to take the next step. Acquiring the protein.

You probably realize by now that there are definitely ways of getting all the protein you need from food sources. But as we discussed last issue, unless you have a personal servant cooking all your meals for you or you're sitting around at home all day waiting for your next meal, you will most likely need some supplemental protein to hit the mark. So that's what this article is all about.

With all the different protein powders and meal replacement drinks out there, it becomes difficult to decide which protein product to take home. Many people just base their decisions on cost. Now that's a problem, my friend.

Deciding By Cost?

    Protein purchases based on cost alone would be similar to buying the cheapest car you can find. You may save a few bucks, but in time it'll surely let you down. An interesting rumor we have been hearing lately is that there may be a shortage of whey protein within the industry.

    And it's probably this shortage that has lead to all of the new whey/casein combinations on the market. In addition, this "shortage" causes the cost of making whey protein powders to go up. So much so that the profit margin on whey protein is very small.

    Now although this seems like "their problem", it becomes ours when either our costs go way up or the manufacturer starts using crappy ingredients instead of quality whey.

    Someone in the industry that we know very well has assured us that if you can buy 2 lbs of whey protein for cheaper than $30-$40, either the company is making zero profit or they are using low quality protein.

    We won't tell you what to think, but which would you assume to be more likely? Our advice is to stay clear of such unbelievable deals. Anything too good to be true usually is.

Protein Evaluation

    So what then do we base our decisions on when buying a protein supplement?

    • Well first, we try to stick with reputable companies that have proven track records for making good products.

    • Then we carefully scrutinize the ingredients of each product. As discussed last week, there are so many new second and third generation protein formulas that are designed to target a variety of different goals from fat loss (carnitine and lecithin) to testosterone elevation (ZMA). Based on your personal goals, some protein combinations might be better suited to your needs.

    • Last, but certainly not least, we select a protein based on taste and solubility. Regardless of how wonderful the ingredients are, if the stuff requires a nose clip and a nearby toilet or trash can, it's not worth the effort.

The Evaluation Team

    With this process of protein evaluation in mind, the research team has been commissioned within last few months to do some "field work". This project was undertaken so that we could bring to you a comprehensive review of the big boys of protein supplementation.

    Our research team has been given carte-blanc to fill up their supplement cabinets with the top-selling protein powders and MRPs on the market. Boy was it hard to get them to accept all those free supplements, let me tell you!

    But sacrifice, they did, and as a result of their "research" we can give you the low down on price, nutritional content, taste, and solubility of these top selling high protein drinks.

    Some of your favorite protein powders may not be included in this list simply because of time and financial limitations. But most of the top dogs are represented. And these are the particular protein supplements that we consider to be some of the best in the industry.

    So once you are through educating yourself about proteins, you should be armed with enough protein wisdom to take all that good protein information, storm into your local Bodybuilding.com store and purchase the best protein supplements for the task at hand. Bring on the fat free mass!


Meal Replacement Powders

Although the name may be misleading, meal replacement powders are designed to be convenient and affordable ways of complementing your daily food intake. We don't advocate using them in place of full meals (unless you have no choice and it's a toss up between a MRP and a Big Mac), but we do advocate their use as meal supplements.

Since most individuals have a difficulty finding the time to eat the recommended 5-6 food meals/snacks per day, 2-3 MRPs per day added in as snacks between the "big three" will fit in nicely to any healthy eating plan. The typical profile of a MRP is somewhere in the neighborhood of 35-50g of protein, 15-25g of carbs, and 0-5g of fat.

In addition to this macronutrient profile, MRPs often contain a nice spectrum of vitamins and minerals. This combination of macro and micronutrients often makes using MRPs as in between meal snacks much better than most typical snacks that people consume.

We often hear many new trainees bellyaching about the cost of MRPs. But taking a step back will help most realize that for between $2 and $3 a tasty and nutrient rich snack can be bought for just a fraction of the cost of any meal and even most snacks.

The following list provides the costs, nutritional profiles, and ingredients of 6 of the top MRPs on the market today.


Met-RX - Pro 50 Size

    Size: 22 packets per box
    Price: $59.99
    Price Per Packet: $2.73

    Unfortunately, this product has been discontinued by Met-Rx.

    Calories: 270
    Calories from Fat: 20
    Total Fat: 2.5g
    Saturated Fat: 2g
    Cholesterol: 20mg
    Sodium: 270mg
    Potassium: 1190mg
    Total Carbs: 14g
    Fiber: 3g
    Sugars: 2g
    Protein: 50g

    Ingredients: Metamyosyn�'‚ ®V.4 (Unique blend of Milk Protein Isolates,Caseinate, Whey Protein Concentrate, Glutamine, Lactoferrin), Cocoa (Alkali Processed), Maltodextrin, Vitamins & Minerals (Potassium Chloride,Dipotassium Phosphate, Potassium Citrate, Magnesium Oxide, Ascorbic Acid, D-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate, Ferrous Fumarate, Niacinamide, Vitamin A Palmitate, Zinc Oxide, Salt, Sodium Citrate, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin K, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin D3, Copper Sulfate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Chromium Picolinate, Cobalamin Concentrate [Vitamin B12], Biotin, Sodium Molybdate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide), Natural & Artificial Flavors, Calcium Lactate, Medium Chain Triglycerides, Trimethyl Glycine, Cellulose Gum, Xanthan Gum, Carrageenan, Beta Carotene, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium.


EAS - Myoplex

    Size: 20 packets per box
    Price: $35.75
    Price Per Packet: $1.79
    [Order Info]

    Calories 280
    Calories from Fat 20
    Total Fat 2 g
    Saturated Fat 1 g
    Cholesterol 15 mg
    Sodium 330 mg
    Potassium 550 mg
    Total Carbohydrate 24 g
    Dietary Fiber 1 g
    Sugars 3 g
    Protein 42 g

    Also provides per serving:
    CitriMax�'‚ © 150 mg
    Choline 100 mg
    Boron 1 mg

    Ingredients: MyoPro�'‚ © (unique blend of whey-protein concentrate fromspecially filtered andion-exchanged whey protein, calcium caseinate, milk-protein isolate, taurine, L-glutamine, sodium caseinate, egg albumin, and calcium alpha-ketoglutarate [AKG]), maltodextrin, corn syrup solids, vitamin and mineral blend (potassium chloride, disodium phosphate, magnesium oxide,calcium phosphate, potassium citrate, potassium phosphate, choline bitartrate, beta-carotene, ascorbic acid, dl-alpha-tocopheryl acetate, ferrous fumarate, molybdenumamino acid chelate, boron proteinate, manganese gluconate, selenium aminoacid chelate, niacinamide, zinc oxide, d-calcium pantothenate, chromiumcitrate, copper sulfate, Vitamin A palmitate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, thiamin hydrochloride, Vitamin D3, folic acid, biotin, potassium iodide, and cyanocobalamin), aspartame*, CitriMax, (garcinia cambogia), Dutch processed cocoa, natural and artificial flavor, partially hydrogenated canola oil, salt, medium-chain triglycerides, xanthan gum, soy lecithin, mono-and diglycerides, cellulose gum, and borage oil.


MET-Rx - MET-Rx Original

    Size: 39 packets per box
    Price: $55.49
    Price Per Packet: $1.42

    Calories: 250.00
    Calories from Fat: 20.00
    Total Fat (grams):
    2.00
    Saturated Fat (grams): 1.50
    Cholesterol (mg): 0.00
    Sodium (mg): 370.00
    Potassium (mg): 900.00
    Total Carbs (grams): 22.00
    Fiber (grams): 1.00
    Sugars (grams): 3.00
    Protein (grams): 37.00

    Ingredients: METAMYOSYN�'Ʀ#039;Ƨ�'† §�'Ʀ#039; ¢�'¢ €š ¬�'… ¡�'Ʀ#039;Ƨ�'¢ ‚¬Å¡�'Ʀ#039; €š�'‚ ® (Unique blend of Milk Protein Isolates, Caseinate, Glutamine, Whey Protein Concentrate, Egg White), Maltodextrin, Dutch Cocoa (Alkali Processed), Vitamins and Minerals (Dicalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Dipotassium Phosphate, Potassium Citrate, Salt, Sodium Citrate, Magnesium Oxide, Choline Bitartrate, Ascorbic Acid, d-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate, Ferrous Fumarate, Niacinamide, Vitamin A Palmitate, Zinc Oxide, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin K, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin D3, Copper Sulfate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Chromium Picolinate, Cobalamin Concentrate [Vitamin B12], Folic Acid, Biotin, Sodium Molybdate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide), Natural and Artificial Flavors, Partially Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Corn Syrup Solids, Cellulose Gum, Xanthan Gum, Aspartame, Carrageenan, Beta Carotene, Acesulfame Potassium, Lecithin, Mono and Diglycerides.


MuscleTech - MESO-Tech

    Size: 20 packets per box
    Price: $48.79
    Price Per Packet: $2.44
    [Order Info]

    Calories: 340
    Calories From Fat: 35
    Total Fat: 3.5 g
    Saturated Fat: 2.5 g
    Cholesterol: 93 mg
    Sodium: 225 mg
    Potassium: 600 mg
    Total Carbohydrate: 24 g
    Dietary Fiber: 4 g
    Sugars: 8 g
    Protein: 52 g

    Ingredients: MesoPro (Whey Protein Concentrate, Specially Filtered And New Ion-Exchanged Whey Protein), Maltodextrin, Glutamine Blend, Natural & Artificial Flavors, Cellulose Gums, Vitamin & Mineral Blend, Phenylalanine, Taurine, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Acesulfame Potassium, Aspartame, Carrageenan, Essential Fatty Acid Blend(EFAs)(Borage Oil, Lecithin, Flax Seed Oil).Phenylketonurics: Contains Phenylalanine.


Biotest - Grow!

    Size: 18 servings per container
    Retail Price: $44.95
    Price Per Serving: $2.49

    Unfortunately, this product has been discontinued by Biotest.

    Other Products Like This:

    Total Calories: 300
    Calories From Fat: 35
    Total Fat: 4g
    Saturated Fat: ?
    Cholesterol: 10g
    Sodium: 190mg
    Potassium: ?
    Total Carbohydrates: 23g
    Dietary Fiber: >1g
    Sugars: 17 g
    Protein: 40g

    Ingredients: Calcium caseinate, whey protein concentrate, fructose, natural and artificial flavors, milk protein isolate, sunflower oil, maltodextrin, L-glutamine, sweet dairy whey, malted milk powder, Potassium chloride, potassium citrate, magnesium oxide, xanathan gum, cellulose gum, sodium caseinate, di-alpha tocopheryl acetate, ascorbic acid,mono and doglycerides, lecithin, zinc picolinate, niacinamide, copper citrate, vitamin a palmitate, d-calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, chromium chloride, selenomethionine, folic acid, biotin, and cyanocobalamin.


The Comparison

Now that you have a picture of what each of these MRPs looks like nutritionally, let's talk about whether we liked drinking them or not. Each was mixed according to label instructions with the appropriate amount of water.

We ranked the drinks 1-5 by taste and have shared some comments on each. In addition, the thickness of each was ranked since some of you like to "chew" your MRPs while others like to actually drink them. We ranked thickness on a 1-5 scale with thickest being 1 and thinnest being 5.

MRP Flavor Tested Taste Rating Thickness
Met Rx Pro 50
Strawberry
5
2
Comments: Decent strawberry flavor but it was a bit too dilute tasting. A bit too thick and gritty to enjoy, though.
EAS Myoplex
Chocolate
2
3
Comments: Great chocolate flavor and very smooth. Second best tasting of the bunch. Thick but not too think to enjoy drinking. Best described as a pudding-like consistency.
Met Rx Original
White Mocha
3
4
Comments: Great flavor and only slightly gritty. A close third. A bit thinner than Myoplex and Grow MRP.
Muscle Tech MesoTech
Vanilla
4
5
Comments: Flavor was decent but a bit too "chemical. Solubility was poor as it didn't mix all that well. Not bad for a thinner type shake, though.
Grow!
Chocolate
1
1
Comments: This was the thickest and tastiest of all drinks by far. It's delicious and they got the texture just right.


Protein Powders

Protein powders, unlike MRPs are simply a source of supplemental protein. The can conveniently be added to milk, water, oatmeal, or even added into your MRP to increase the protein content.

Since they often contain no added vitamins and minerals and a very low carbohydrate and fat content, they should probably be consumed as part of a larger meal rather than as a snack in their own right.

Many bodybuilders consume between 1-2 grams of protein per pound of body weight and rely heavily on protein powders to accomplish this. Some of the newer protein formulas contain additional nutrients designed to increase protein absorption, increase fat loss, or increase protein synthesis.

This can offer the additional convenience of not having to purchase of swallow additional supplements on top of your protein powder. The following is a breakdown of the costs, nutritional profiles, and ingredients of 6 of the top protein powders on the market today.

We've also included a calculation of cost per 30 grams of protein so that relative cost comparisons can be made.


EAS - Precision Protein

    Price: $25.99
    Container Size: 2 lb. (907g)
    Serving Size 25.5 g
    Servings Per Container: 35
    Price Per Serving: $0.74
    Price Per 30g Protein: $0.86

    Calories: 100
    Calories from Fat: 9
    Total Fat: 1 g
    Saturated Fat: 0.5 g
    Cholesterol: 15 mg
    Sodium: 50mg
    Potassium: 80mg
    Total Carbohydrate: 2.5 g
    Dietary Fiber: <1 g
    Sugars: 2 g
    Protein: 20 g
    "Special Nutrients":

      Glutamine
      Taurine
      Arginine
      Chromium Citrate

    Ingredients: Precision Protein Blend (whey-protein isolate fromion-exchanged and ultra filtered whey, peptide-bonded glutamine, taurine, arginine, peptide-bonded glycine, and phenylalanine*), low-fat Dutch cocoa, natural and artificial flavors, magnesium phosphate, cellulose gum, lecithin, acesulfame K, stevia, chromium citrate, and Vitamin B6.


Next Proteins - Designer Protein

    Price: $15.99
    Container Size: 2 lb. (907g)
    Serving Size: 23g
    Servings Per Container: 40
    Price Per Serving: $0.40
    [Order Info]

    Calories: 90
    Calories From Fat: 15
    Total Fat: 1.5g
    Saturated Fat 1g
    Cholesterol: 30mg
    Sodium: 45mg
    Potassium: 150mg
    Total Carbohydrate: 2g
    Dietary Fiber: 0g
    Sugars: 0g
    Protein: 17.5 g
    "Special Nutrients":

      Glutamine Peptides
      ZMA

    Ingredients: APT- Full Spectrum Whey Peptides, [Modified Molecular Weight and Partially Pre-digested (hydrolyzed) Whey Protein Concentrate (incl. -14% Glycomacropeptides {MW -6,700 D}), Whey Glutamine Peptides, Cocoa, Glutasynth, Lecithin, Natural and Artificial Chocolate Flavoring, Malic Acid, Cellulose Gum, ZMAX, Stevia, Acesulfame-K, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Alginate, Sodium Chloride, Dried Cream Extract, Vanillin, Natural Vitamin E, Lactoperoxidase.


Met-Rx - Keto Pro Powder

    Retail Price: $32.99
    Container Size: 1.32 lb. (598.6g)
    Serving Size: 40g
    Servings Per Container: 15
    Price Per Serving: $2.19
    Price Per 30g Protein: $2.63

    Unfortunately, this product has been discontinued by Biotest.

    Calories: 150.00
    Calories from Fat: 45.00
    Total Fat (grams): 5.00
    Saturated Fat (grams): 4.50
    Cholesterol (mg): 10.00
    Sodium (mg): 140.00
    Potassium (mg): 350.00
    Total Carbs (grams): 4.00
    Fiber (grams): 1.00
    Sugars (grams): 1.00
    Protein (grams): 25.00
    "Special" Nutrients:

      Glutamine
      HMB

    Ingredients: Metamyosyn(R) V.4 (Unique Blend of Milk Protein Isolates, Caseinate, Whey Protein Concentrate, Glutamine, Calcium-B-Hydroxy B-MethylbutyrateMonohydrate, Lactoferrin), Medium chain Triglycerides, Cocoa (Alkali Processed), Natural & Artificial Flavors, Cellulose Gum, Dipotassium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Potassium Citrate, Carrageenan, Salt, Sodium Citrate, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium.


MET-Rx - Protein Plus

    Retail Price: $25.79
    Container Size: 2 lb (907 g)
    Serving Size 57g
    Servings Per Container: 16
    Price Per Serving: $1.61
    [Order Info]

    Calories: 220.00
    Calories from Fat: 15.00
    Total Fat (grams): 1.50
    Saturated Fat (grams): 0.50
    Cholesterol (mg): 15.00
    Sodium (mg): 120.00
    Potassium (mg): 280.00
    Total Carbs (grams): 7.00
    Fiber (grams): 1.00
    Sugars (grams): 3.00
    Protein (grams): 46.00

    Ingredients: Metamyosyn�'‚ ® (Milk Protein Isolate, Caseinate, Whey Protein Isolate,L-Glutamine, Egg White), Cocoa (Alkali Processed), Natural & Artificial Flavors,Aspartame, Cellulose Gum, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Acesulfame Potassium.


MUSCLE TECH - NITROTECH

    Price: $30.98
    Container Size: 2 lb (907 g)
    Serving Size: 28.5g
    Servings Per Container: 32
    Price Per Serving: $0.97
    [Order Info]

    Calories: 110.00
    Calories from Fat: 15.00
    Total Fat (grams): 1.50
    Saturated Fat (grams): 1.00
    Cholesterol (mg): 40.00
    Sodium (mg): 60.00
    Potassium (mg): 180.00
    Total Carbs (grams): 3.00
    Fiber (grams): 1.00
    Sugars (grams): 2.00
    Protein (grams): 20.00
    "Special Nutrients":

      Creatine Monohydrate
      Insulogen
      Nitroxen
      Glutamine

    Ingredients: SynthePro (Whey Peptides [Modified Weight and Partially Pre-Digested(Hydrolyzed) Whey Protein Concentrate (Providing Di-, Tri-, Oligo-, and Poly-Peptides) {Shorter and Longer Chains of Amino Acids}], Whey Protein Concentrate, and a New Ion-Exchanged Specially-Filtered 97% Whey Protein Isolate, L-Leucine, L-Methionine, L-Phenylalanine, Lactoferrin {SynthePro Full Spectrum Whey Protein Fractions Include: Beta Lactoglobulin ~55%, Alpha Lactalbumin ~%15, Glycomacropeptides ~21%, Immunoglobulins ~3%, Bovine Serum Albumin ~2%, Lactoferrin ~< 1%}), Micronized Creatine Monohydrate, Cocoa Powder (Dutch Process). Insulogen (Guar Gum, D-Myo-Inositol, Glucomannan, Taurine, Pharmaceutical-Grade Alpha Lipoic Acid, Inzitol {D-Pinitol}), Nitroxen (L-Arginine, Glycosidal Saponins, Folic Acid), Natural & Artificial Flavors, Glutamine Blend (L-Glutamine, Glutamine Peptides, Calcium Alpha Ketoglutarate), Dipotassium Phosphate, Lecithin, Magnesium Oxide, N-Acetyl-Cysteine, Dl-Tocopherol Acetate, Acesulfame Potassium, Aspartame, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride


The Comparison

Now that you have a picture of what each of these protein powders looks like nutritionally, let's talk about whether we liked drinking them or not. Each was mixed according to label instructions with the appropriate amount of water. We ranked the drinks 1-6 by taste and have shared some comments on each. In addition, the thickness of each was ranked with thickest being 1 and thinnest being 5.

Protein Powder Flavor Tested Taste Rating Thickness
EAS Precision Protein
Chocolate
2
4
Comments & Rating: EAS comes in a close second again with another delicious chocolate shake. Great balance of thickness and taste.
Next Proteins Designer Protein
Chocolate
4
6
Comments & Rating: Very thin and although didn't have much taste to it, the panel decided that it might actually be the best candidate to chug down quickly in one sitting.
Met Rx Keto Pro
Vanilla
3
3
Comments & Rating: Met Rx with another good showing. Although pretty thick, the thickness was pleasant and the taste was great.
Met Rx Protein Plus
Vanilla
5
2
Comments & Rating: Vanilla flavor was a bit synthetic tasting and the texture was a bit too gritty.
Muscle Tech Nitro Tech
Chocolate
6
5
Comments & Rating: Although Muscle Tech makes a nice product, the taste of their protein and MRP leaves a bit to be desired. At least the drink was thin and unassuming.
Biotest Advanced Protein
Chocolate
1
1
Comments & Rating: This is the first protein powder we ever tasted that resembles an MRP in thickness, texture, and quality.


Taste Is Subjective

So there you have it. Once all the powders and potions were consumed we came to a few conclusions. Not all of our reviewers had the same feelings about each of the products. But this is the best consensus of our impressions of some of the top protein powders and MRPs on the market.

This little experiment has by no means been completely empirical but taste is not an objective phenomenon. Some of us like sweet products while others like more subtle tastes.

Some like thick MRPs while others like the more watery varieties. We all have our likes and dislikes; as you will also. Let us know if you agree or disagree with our reviews. Also let us know if you think there is something that we left out that should absolutely have been included in our review.

What's Most Important In Choosing A Protein Supplement?

Flavor.
Texture.
Taste.
Cost.

Protein Comparison: How Does Your Protein Taste?

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"Someone in the industry that we know very well has assured us that if you can buy 2 lbs of whey protein for cheaper than $30-$40, either the company is making zero profit or they are using low quality protein. "

But BB.com sells theirs for $21.98. does that mean they admit to using low quality protein?

Aug 13, 2013 9:46am | report
 
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