Hundreds of protein pills and powders on the market may catch your eye if you are trying to bulk up. Yet, the options are endless so how will you know which ones to take? Are pills or powders better? Which protein supplements provide the most health benefits and more noticeable results?
Protein powders provide much more protein than capsules or tablets, but that doesn’t mean pills do not provide incredible health benefits. Most athletes claim that the protein pills are made from whey or casein because they arrive more quickly in the bloodstream. Plus, whey protein pills have a strong anabolic effect that is perfect for building muscle.
Although protein powders and pills both supply adequate amounts of protein, the best type of protein supplement is derived from whey or casein to promote quick muscle growth, yet these supplements need to be taken with other vitamins and minerals to have the best effect. Continue reading to discover the science behind protein supplements and how to take them effectively for the most distinguishable and healthy muscle growth.
What Are Protein Supplements?
Protein supplements are often used by athletes and bodybuilders to gain muscle, enhance performance and lose excess body fat. They are available in two different forms: powders and pills.
What Is the Difference Between Protein Powder and Pills?
Although both pills and powder are great protein supplements, there are quite a few differences between each one.
Protein powders come as a powder that needs to be mixed with water, or any other drinkable liquid. While pills can be taken with just a bit of water at any time of the day, they both give you protein! So other than the form you take it in, how are they different?
|Differences Between Protein Powder and Pills|
|Protein Powder||Protein Pills|
|20g of protein per scoop||2g of protein per pill|
|Extra calories for bulking||No extra calories|
|Shakes can be used for meal replacement||Not a meal replacement|
|Prep Time and Containers Required||No prep required and easy to take|
|Messy||Easy to Contain|
|Aftertaste or strong flavors||No flavor|
While both pills and powder provide you a great supplement of protein, protein powder offers you much more in each drink. One scoop of protein powder can give you up to 20 grams of protein in comparison to pills that will only provide 2 grams.
This is a drastic difference, as protein pills provide much less protein and have a limit on how often you can take them within 24 hours.
Protein powders also provide more opportunities for calorie intake as they can be mixed into shakes, while protein pills are taken with water. This is a plus as many people that use protein pills are either looking to gain weight or promote muscle growth, which can be improved by taking in more calories.
Powders and protein shakes can also be used as meal replacements to ensure that you are getting the right amount of protein and amino acids. They also help you avoid overeating.
Protein pills, on the other hand, do not act as a replacement, and meals should be regularly eaten to maintain a healthy body weight and strong muscles.
Protein pills require no prep and can be taken at any time of the day, while protein powders require exact measurements and containers to hold them in, making it a bit less convenient to carry around with you. Plus, making protein shakes or drinks can get messy if you don’t have a stable hand, while protein pills are easily kept in a container and can be carried around without the risk of a mess.
The last difference between protein powders and pills is the taste. Protein powders can be flavored, but usually leave a pretty gnarly aftertaste. Protein pills can be taken quickly and easily without the risk of bad breath or a nasty taste in your mouth afterward.
Pros and Cons of Protein Supplements
Essentially, both protein powder and pills have the same benefits, the only thing that changes in the way they are presented. Your body will react the same to a powder and pill, but with one they will receive more protein than the other.
There are quite a few intended benefits of taking protein supplements, but they come with the risk of a few side effects.
|Pros and Cons of Protein Supplements|
|Muscle Strength||Liver and Kidney Damage|
|Meal Replacements With More Protein||Diarrhea|
|Makes Enzymes and Hormones||Calcium loss|
The intended benefits of protein powders and pills are that they enhance energy, muscle growth and strength, repair tissue, and can boost enzyme and hormone production. They can also replace meals to give more nutrients when taken in the form of a protein shake.
Yet, with each positive, there is also a negative. Studies have shown that protein powders and pills can cause dehydration, gout, diarrhea, bloating, calcium loss, and liver and kidney damage. With that being said, when taking protein supplements, it is best to also take a calcium supplement to ensure you are receiving the proper amount of calcium each day to avoid side effects.
When Should You Take Protein Pills?
The best time to take protein powders and pills is before and after your workouts. Pre and post-workout whey supplements will promote muscle growth and strength, and increase body mass, and physical performance. Casein, however, is less likely to have the benefit of strength and muscle growth.
For muscle growth, most athletes consume a protein shake or pill 45 minutes to 2 hours after their workout to promote faster recovery time.
You can also take a prework out pill two hours before to get optimal results. Yet, it all depends on the product that you are using.
The best time to take these supplements is before or after workouts accompanied by good meals throughout the day. Consuming high-protein meals that contain meat, eggs, and milk will ensure that your protein pills will be the most effective and beneficial.
But remember, you should only consume protein powder twice a day, as you do not want to overwhelm your body. If you take protein pills, take them only twice a day accompanied by high-protein meals to get the best results.
How Do You Use Protein Pills Effectively?
Each protein supplement is different, but there are a few general rules to follow to take them effectively and get the best results.
- Eat small meals high in protein throughout the day
- Eat fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and eggs each time you use protein powder
- Take protein supplements 1 hour before work for muscle gain
- Take protein supplements up to 2 hours after workout for tissue recovery
- Casein is great to take before bed
The type of protein you use and how often you consume it depends on your intended results. Yet, the most important thing to do is continuously eat protein throughout the day in addition to your supplements.
What Are the Best Protein Pills Made From?
Although there are hundreds of protein supplements on the market, where the protein is derived from is extremely important. You can find protein powders with various ingredients such as
However, the best protein pills are derived from casein or whey protein. Casein and whey are both derived from milk and are byproducts of cheese production.
Most athletes recommend using whey protein because it absorbs more quickly into the bloodstream. Casein provides a more slow and more steady release which is suitable for when you are unable to eat for extended periods.
Whey protein releases into the bloodstream extremely quickly to jumpstart repairing muscle tissue and building muscle. Due to the quick release, whey protein is best for building muscle and should be used for workouts.
Each whey and casein also provide different components that may be more suitable for your needs.
Although each powder is different, a typical whey protein powder provides an average of the following nutrients per scoop.
- 110 calories
- 1 gram of fat
- 2 grams of carbohydrates
- 24 grams of protein
- And 8% calcium
Average nutrient data in casein protein powder the following per scoop:
- 120 calories
- 1 gram of fat
- 4 grams of carbohydrates
- 24 grams of protein
- 4% iron
- 50% calcium
Protein pills do not provide nutritional benefits such as calories, fat, carbohydrates, iron, and calcium because of the way they are consumed. Whey and Casein pills are taken along with protein and nutritional meals, but not as an additional meal or meal replacement, making it extremely important to maintain a healthy diet while consuming them.
What Are the Best Protein Supplements on The Market?
The best protein pills and powders are made from Whey or Casein. There are hundreds of brands, but you want to take the pills that have the most nutritional benefits for your body.
Each person has a different goal, so it is important to look at the intended effect each powder or protein has.
The 6 best protein powders for weight gain are as followed:
- Momentous Essential Grass-Fed Whey Protein
- Naked Whey
- Ascent Native Fuel Micellar Casein
- Garden of Life Sports Grass-Fed Organic Whey Protein
- Ghost Whey Protein
- Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey
Each of these protein powders were chosen based on their nutritional value and the amount of protein provided. They are high quality and all tested by third parties.
Momentous Essential Grass Fed Whey Protein is sport certified, gluten-free, and free of sugars! It provides 20 grams of protein per scoop, and 3 grams of carbs, and has only 100 calories. The only downfall is that it only has two flavors and is quite expensive.
Naked Whey is an unflavored protein powder that contains only one ingredient– whey protein! It provides up to 25 grams of sugar. It comes in 2 different flavors and is sugar-free.
Ascent Native Fuel Micellar Casein is a protein supplement derived from casein, which is best taken before bed as it is digested slowly. This powder provides 25 grams of protein, mixes excellently in shakes and milk, and comes in 3 different flavors.
Garden of Life Sports Grass-Fed Organic Whey Protein is a great powder that comes in two flavors. This whey protein supplement provides 24 grams of protein and has 120 calories. It is gluten-free and certified for sports. Plus, the whey comes from grass-fed cows.
Ghost Whey Protein is the best-tasting powder as it comes in over 4 different flavors. It is made from whey and various digestive enzymes which promote digestive health and muscle growth. One scoop contains 25 grams of protein and 130 calories. Plus, it is gluten-free and is easily used as a meal replacement for breakfast!
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey is a low-priced protein powder that comes in over 10 flavors. It has over 83,000 reviews and each scoop contains 24 grams of protein. This supplement is excellent for people looking to gain muscle while limiting their carb intake.
If you aren’t sure which protein is best for you, see a doctor and ask them for their recommendations, but be sure to get one that is made from Whey or Casein. In addition to these supplements, remember to eat small meals full of protein and take additional calcium supplements to ensure you stay healthy throughout your workouts.
Protein supplements come in two different forms: pills and powders. They are excellent for muscle gain, tissue recovery, and even losing weight! Yet, these supplements are not a replacement for the protein you should be receiving from meals, so whether or not you are taking pills or drinking protein shakes, be sure to eat your fruits and vegetables to achieve the best results!
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Gary David is the founder and CEO of CrazyMass, one of the nation’s leading supplement companies. Before starting CrazyMass in 2006, Gary was a bodybuilder and personal trainer for several gyms throughout Northwest Michigan, helping clients meet their fitness goals. Gary happily worked in this profession for over 15 years. He saw that most weight gaining products to increase muscle were made with ingredients that were dangerous or of poor quality. He knew there was a safer and healthier way to do this, so he created a special blend of herbs, amino acids, and nutrients to help bodybuilders slim down and gain muscle.
Although Gary no longer participates in bodybuilding competitions, he continues to be involved in the community, helping others prep for shows and attending events where he can advertise CrazyMass products. When Gary isn’t working long hours, he likes to spend his time working out at the gym, boating on Lake Michigan, traveling the trails around Northern Michigan by four-wheeler, and spending time with his family. He also loves to take a yearly trip to Europe with his wife and children.