Arguably, the most essential supplement that you should use if you desire to build muscle is whey protein powder.
In fact, you probably eat it everyday without even knowing it! Whey is one of two essential protein components in milk (the other is casein protein).
There is a good reason why whey protein is so popular among athletes and people in general; it quickly aids in muscle protein synthesis (muscle growth) when consumed 20 to 30 minutes after the end of your resistance training workout.
If you are serious about building your muscles naturally, especially if you are an exercising beginner or an athlete, then whey protein is a perfect supplement to add to your training program.
This article will educate you about the health benefits of whey protein and other protein sources.
Top 5 Whey Protein Powders
#1 ON Gold Standard 100% Whey
#2 BSN SYNTHA-6
(Best for Bodybuilding)
#3 Dymatize ISO100
#4 MuscleTech Phase8
(Best Low Carb)
1. Best Overall: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey
Optimum Nutrition offers a range of supplements designed to help you maximize your time in the gym, and their Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein powder leads the way.
This is high-quality, ultra-filtered whey protein that's rich in the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) your body needs to recover quickly from even the most demanding workout.
ON Gold Standard Whey is low in calories and carbs, low in sugar, is gluten-free and completely devoid of banned substances.
Each serving provides 5.5 grams of BCAAs, so you'll not only recover faster, but you'll build bigger, leaner, more resilient muscles as well.
With more than 20 flavors to choose from it really is the Gold Standard of whey protein powders.
2. Best for Bodybuilding: BSN Syntha-6
Syntha-6 from BSN is premium whey protein powder.
Each serving contains 22 grams of protein along with 10 grams of essential amino acids, including valine, leucine, and isoleucine.
Valine, leucine, and isoleucine are the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) your body uses to repair damaged muscle tissue and to build bigger, stronger, more durable muscle tissue in its place.
Where BSN really separates itself from most of the competition, however, is in taste. While most people have come to expect their protein shake to be a chalky, bland experience Syntha-6 is a taste revelation.
So much so that you may find yourself enjoying one even on non-workout days.
3. Best Tasting: Dymatize ISO100
Dymatize ISO100 is comprised of 100% whey protein isolate with 5.5 grams of essential BCAAs in every serving.
ISO100 is digested quickly by the body and gets to work in no time repairing muscles that have been stressed to the limit.
The branched-chain amino acids ensure that your new muscle tissue is stronger, leaner and more resilient so that you are continuously positioned to progress and not just tread water in the gym.
ISO100 is lactose and gluten free, contains less than 1 gram of sugar per serving and exhibits the proper BCAA balance of 2:1:1.
4. Most Budget-Friendly: MuscleTech Phase8
MuscleTech Phase8 takes a slightly different approach to protein supplementation.
Instead of bombarding your system with a single big dose of protein their whey protein isolate is formulated to release itself gradually throughout 8 hours.
This way you get to make more efficient and effective use of the essential branched chain amino acids that are so vital to muscle recovery and rebuilding.
While Phase8 is comprised of 97% whey protein isolate, there are other high-value sources on tap as well to provide a well-balanced protein dose that will address a range of physiological needs. Tastes good too!
5. Best Low Carb: Isopure Whey Protein Isolate
Isopure Whey Protein Isolate contains no artificial flavor or sweeteners, provides 25 grams of protein per serving and is dairy and gluten free.
This is a high-quality whey protein powder that mixes well with a variety of liquids and tastes surprisingly good.
Isopure is low in carbs and calories and provides vitamins A, C, B6 and B12 to help ensure a higher level of overall health.
If you're looking for a protein powder that’s easy going down and will enable you to build stronger, leaner muscles and establish new personal bests in the gym, you can’t miss with Isopure Whey Protein Isolate.
Types of Whey Protein
Whey is one of the two major proteins found in milk, where casein is the other. Pure whey contains a large amount of the milk sugar lactose, as well as a variety of proteins, fat cholesterol.
You'll find that there are three main types of whey protein
Whey Protein vs Casein Protein
Whey and casein are brothers and milk is their mother. Unfortunately, like Cain and Abel, they both hate each other - or do they?
Whey and casein work better together when it comes to protein supplementation.
To see why, let's do a quick comparison of both proteins.
Whey is the "fast“ brother that quickly aids the body with muscle building after a strenuous workout. Studies show that whey increases protein synthesis but does not alter protein breakdown.
Casein is the "slow“ brother that prevents muscle loss over several hours. Studies reveal that casein decreases protein breakdown but hardly effects protein synthesis.
So why are some people in the fitness wold trying to pit casein and whey against each other? It makes little sense because they both cancel out each other's weaknesses. With that said, consider investing in a quality casein protein powder as well.
Whey protein is not only better suited for workouts because it’s quickly absorbed but also due to its amino acids profile. It contains more of the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) leucine, isoleucine and valine, while casein contains a higher portion of the amino acids histidine, methionine and phenylalanine.
What to Look for in Whey Protein
1. Flavor - There are plenty of flavors to choose from, but you can never go wrong with chocolate or vanilla. You can mix it in shakes or smoothies, and it will still taste good. Less common flavors might be risky, so we recommend that you buy small samples to determine if you will like it or choose another one.
2. Ingredients - When buying any kinds of supplement, the first thing you need to do is to look at the ingredient label. It should be simple; your protein powder must have whey as the main ingredient. Also check its carb and fat content, especially if there are added sugars or artificial ingredients.
3. Grams of protein per serving - According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, adults who regularly workout must take 1.1 - 1.4g of protein/kilogram of body weight on a daily basis while those who are involved in heavy-endurance training must take 1.5 - 2g. So if you weigh 80 kilos or 176 pounds and want to build muscles, you’ll need 160g protein per day. Look for the supplement with the highest protein content if you want to bulk up.
4. Third party tested for quality assurance - Some companies like Informed Choice and NSF Certified for Sports test their products for banned substances. This is to ensure that what you see on the label is what’s actually on the product and there are no hidden ingredients that can jeopardize your health.
6 Health Benefits of Whey
1. Boost Muscle Size And Strength - This benefit is the reason you see the meatheads in your gym using whey protein powder. Protein powder helps build strength and muscle size. Countless studies show that people who take whey protein powder have increased muscle synthesis. This means that if you hit a strength plateau in your workout, whey protein powder will likely get you over the hump.
2. Helps Burn Fat While Maintaining Muscle Mass - When you exercise, you are putting your body in a catabolic state (i.e. breaking down muscle tissue). Studies have shown that taking whey protein powder post workout helps burn fat while preserving muscle tissue.
3. Decreases Appetite - One study showed that people who drank 50 grams of whey protein had drastically reduced their levels of ghrelin (a hormone that stimulates your body to eat) up to 4 hours after drinking it. This can be highly beneficial, especially if you're a big snacker.
4. Boost Immune System - Research revealed that protein powder revitalizes the immune system. In addition, studies show that exercise has a positive effect on your immune system. So as flu season approaches, let exercise and whey be thy medicine. 
5. Alleviate Stress - Been heavily stressed lately? Turn to whey protein powder for relief. Research suggests that individuals who consume whey protein express fewer symptoms of depression and a better mood than those who didn't consume it. While whey protein is not a bubble bath or hot oil massage, it still has the ability to ease your stress.
6. Aids In Cancer Prevention - Does cancer run in your family? If so, then investing in whey protein powder may be a lifesaver. Several studies show that whey and other dietary milk products may aid in fighting cancer. While you should get regular screenings for cancer (especially if it runs in your family), whey protein can help prevent it. 
FAQs When buying
1. How many should you drink a day?
Remember: Whey protein powder is a supplement, not a substitution for real food or even a mass gainer shake (more info). Therefore, you should be eating a proper amount of protein-rich food in addition to drinking protein shakes.
I recommend that a beginner takes no more than 1 to 2 scoops of protein per day (1 to 2 protein shakes). As you get a better sense of how whey interacts with your system, you can up your dosage to 3 to 4 scoops.
2. When should you take whey protein?
The best time to drink whey protein is 30 minutes before your workout and within 30 minutes after your workout. The reason for this is to maximize protein synthesis, also called the muscle building phase.
3. Are there any side effects to taking whey?
Most people show little or no side effects when they take a moderate dosage (1 to 2 scoops) of whey. However, if a person is allergic to milk, they shouldn't take whey protein powder. Also, taking too many doses of protein powder can cause:
- Stomach pains
- Severely reduced appetite
To avoid these issues, limit your intake to 1 to 2 scoops per day, preferably around the time you workout.
4. What should you NEVER do to whey?
What is the Best Whey Protein Powder?
The best whey protein powder greatly assists in your muscle building, fat-burning, and athletic endeavors so finding the top product is truly essential in reaching your body goals.
We highly recommend Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard as your go-to whey protein supplement. It is packed with 24g of protein per serving to enhance muscle development and recovery.
Also, it will keep you super energized; perfect for those insane and high-intensity workouts.
You’ll never be left behind in your body gains when you choose ON Gold Standard.
Optimum Nutrition: Gold Standard
Our #1 Whey Protein for Men
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2. Petersen BK, The anti-inflammatory effect of exercise, retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15772055
3. et al. Bounous G, Whey proteins in cancer prevention, retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2025891