Questions answered about Protein Supplements

The question was posed to Mike Nolan, Managing Partner of the Athletic Club chain (with over 80,000 members) and former Decathlete who placed 10th in the 2001 IAAF World Championships in athletics.

Q: What do you look for in a Protein Supplement in regards to taste and ingredients?

A: Not too long ago, I was in the market for a new vehicle.   With hundreds of options to consider, how does one choose?  The auto companies and mega-ads dictate a presupposition of higher meaning acutely engineered to implant ideologies of grandeur deep into our brains.  They suggest a purpose for life, dare I say, a suggested meaning to life itself.  A current commercial touts that their car is the “stuff” from which all uber-Americana greatness, both past and present, was founded.   It stands proud an icon of a materialistic and self-empowered worldview, calling you to sit and feel the supremacy of drifting across shiny wet pavement while onlookers stare with envy.  How does one live up the social responsibilities of such a vehicle?    It’s in this headspace that my basal instincts take over and practicality prevails.
Bottom line: I chose a vehicle of such nationwide commonality in hopes to move quietly from point A to B without notice.  Simple and boring perhaps, but it works.

What does this have to do with protein supplements on the market today?   Everything I’m afraid, and it all boils down to purpose and choice.    With hundreds of options on the market how do you choose which is right for you?
Let’s look at the basic purpose: Protein is a macronutrient required by our bodies for all sorts of reasons.  It’s composed of chains of single amino-acids (both essential and non-essential), which break apart upon digestion and then go to work in our bodies.   Mainstream diets have put the spotlight on proteins as a necessary entity in muscle building and weight loss.  Herein lies the primary purpose of protein supplementation for most active people.
Now for choice: there is a product for almost every individuals specific need.  There are proteins designed for both weight gain and weight loss, as well for vegetarians, lacto-vegetarians, vegans, lactose intolerant, gluten free, to name a few.  Primary ingredients range from soy, rice, hemp, milk, egg, and most commonly, whey.
Let’s focus on whey, as it’s generally considered to provide the highest proportion of protein by volume and is typically easy to digest.  The three best forms of whey available are (ranked from lowest to highest quality/purity) whey concentrate, whey isolate, and whey hydrolysate.   It’s no surprise that as quality increases so too does price.   To know if a product is right for you, one must simply try it out!  Any reputable health store should be able to provide you a sample of the product before you make your purchase.    When sampling, you will carefully consider 2 factors; taste and digestibility.  If a product has an undesirable taste or texture it’s unlikely you’ll succeed in “choking it down” day after day.   Digestibility is critically important and can be determined 10 minutes to 10 hours post-ingestion.   Adverse effects of an ill-suited protein may include bloating, indigestion and gas.   ***If you purchase a product that becomes unpalatable, a reputable store will accept a return.   Be sure to ask about the stores return policy prior to purchasing to ensure you’re comfortable with its parameters.
One chooses a protein supplement for the purpose of enhancing their daily nutritional intake profile.
Bottom line: This stuff is going into your body so quality matters!  Choose the best quality protein you can afford that matches your specific purpose.  Ensure it tastes great and digests comfortably.  Simple and boring advise perhaps, but it works.


Thanks Mike, for taking the time to answer this question. Dure Foods appreciates your time and values your input!