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The supplement review is going to be a re-occurring feature I am looking to develop on Fitness. Food and travel. This is going to take a no-nonsense, every day use look at certain supplements on the market. Don’t expect science or too many numbers, this will be purely based upon first hand user experience.

*Disclaimer: In this review I have not been given product, asked or endorsed by any brands. All views expressed are my own personal views and not influenced by any brand*

As always, enjoy and let me know your thoughts in the comments at the bottom of the page.

Supplement Review #1: Basic protein powders

Basic protein powders, for many these are the go to option for protein supplements. Therefore, it made sense to start the supplement review series with these products. But what are basic protein powders?

  • Typically they are simple supplements that don’t have multiple ingredients outside of flavouring etc.
  • Packaging is often no frills and simple in bags, not tubs.
  • These are the protein powders that are often lower cost but good value and a good base for supplementation.
  • For those just starting out on their fitness journey they are great first supplements
  • They are often bought through the brands own website

For this supplement review I’ll be focusing on three main UK brands, MyProtein, The Protein Works and Bulk Powders. They all offer a similar product in this category. MyProtein offer Impact Whey Protein, The Protein works offer Whey Protein (80) Concentrate and Bulk Powders offer Pure Whey Protein. I’ll be looking at the main factors that influence my choice when buying these products and how I rate each brand. So, here we go…

Supplement Review: Quality

When I say quality, I mean the quality of ingredients. Although fairly simple in their make up and contents, quality is still important. Thankfully, the above brands are some of the best out there. For ease, I’ve compared chocolate flavours.

Nutrients per serving

All use Whey protein Concentrate, this is a pretty middle of the road protein (under isolate) but it is good quality and does get the job done. MyProtein comes out on top in terms of protein per serving. Bulk Powders follows (Bulk powders have a slightly larger scoop so has to be adjusted from the website values) and The Protein Works a very close third. However, there is literally 1 gram in it across the brands so in reality, per serving it’s pretty even. In terms of fat content, Bulk powders is lowest, but again, there’s less than a gram in it between all three brands. This is good, the less fat the better as it allows for faster absorption by the body post-workout. Carbohydrate content is fairly equal across each product too. Myprotein comes out lowest with The Protein Works coming out highest. That being said, the levels are so low it makes not difference after an intense workout.

Image credit: MyProtein

Other ingredients

All have Soy Lecithin, which is needed to mix instantly, Sucralose to make it sweeter and coco powder. Although, interestingly, only The Protein Works has natural flavouring and reduced fat coco powder. This is quite cool, a company looking into healthier alternatives to pretty standard ingredients, although I’m not sure low-fat coco powder is a better alternative? but fair play to them there.

Only Bulk Powders uses Stabiliser (Xanthan Gum). This is the stuff which makes the protein less watery and ‘thicker’ for ease of description. This does affect the taste and other factors which I’ll come onto later. But for now, in my eyes this is something that reduces the quality of the powder.

So if you judge quality on protein levels alone MyProtein wins. However, that’s not all that comes into it. The protein Works have taken a different approach to the quality of their ingredients so I have them coming out on top here

  1. The Protein Works
  2. Myprotein
  3. Bulk Powders

Supplement Review: Mixability (might have made this word up)

As with any protein supplement, how well it mixes is a BIG factor. No one wants to be standing there shaking a plastic bottle for hours on end. Likewise, no one wants to be drinking a half mixed, half clumpy powder shake. Also, many of use protein powder in cooking. Therefore, the powders need to mix well in more than just a shaker.

The Protein Works

The Protein Works powder have quite a good powder when it comes to mixing. Theirs is less of a traditional powder and more like fine ‘grains’. This means it doesn’t stick to everything that goes near it! So when you search for the scoop or mix in porridge the powder doesn’t go up in a mini protein cloud. So, on messy points alone, The Protein Works comes out on top. However, it is very watery and makes porridge runny, so hold off the milk. Finally, due to the grainy texture, if you do under mix, it can be quite powdery when drinking or eating.

Bulk Powders

Bulk Powders is a thicker shake, especially with milk, due to the Stabiliser (Xanthan Gum) which tends to be more gloopy. Some people may like that, but for me not so much. It actually mixes quite well once you get it going and is smooth. However, oats tend to go gloopy and if you’re cooking with it additional liquid is needed as it tends to make things thicker and stickier. With water this one comes out on top, however, it can be harder to get down after a workout. Whilst mixing fairly well it takes a bit more effort and for me the thicker shake reduces how well it mixes.

Image credit: The protein Works

MyProtein

MyProtein is more like a traditional powder. It does tend to cling onto the bag, scoop and your hands when using it. However, it isn’t the worst I’ve ever tried. They have got better over the years and it mixes well. Whilst it requires more shaking than The Protein Works to get the lumps out, it is less gloopy than Bulk Powders. Not only this, it adds to your porridge much easier and is smoother. For cooking MyProtein comes out on top. I actually prefer MyProtein on the whole. It is a middle ground between the two for mixing and is versatile.

  1. MyProtein
  2. Bulk Powders
  3. The Protein Works

Supplement Review: Taste

Years ago you used to get a bit of a chemically taste in a lot of protein shakes. I mean, what do we really expect? We are after all trying to get a natural micronutrients through a processed source. However, things have come a long way and they’re now pretty good. As I mentioned, each company makes a lot of flavours but for ease we’re using chocolate.

Chocolate like flavour

Obviously this is the main component here. Of all the products MyProtein has the best taste to it. The Natural chocolate flavour does just taste like chocolate. The Protein Works comes next with a good chocolate flavour but it can taste quite weak/diluted, even when using less water. Finally, Bulk Powders is bottom of the chocolate taste test. This is purely due to it having a bit of a false flavour to it. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but it just doesn’t stack up against the other two. This maybe due to the texture but it’s still a bit false tasting.

Sweetness

I mentioned all have the ingredient Sucralose to make the powders sweeter. However, it is clear some use more than others. Whilst the Protein Works is the least sweet out of them all it falls just outside of how sweet you would like it. I think they are going for more of a natural flavour, but for me it does need some additional sweetness. Bulk powders is the other end of the spectrum, very sweet and at times sickly. I mentioned it was hard to get down after a workout and this contributes. Finally, MyProtein is the best of the bunch for sweetness. Not so sweet that you can smell it when someone else is drinking it, but nos so weak that you feel like you need another scoop. For me it has a good balance.

  1. MyProtein
  2. The Protein Works
  3. Bulk Powders

Supplement Review: Price

Finally, price is a pretty simple one to judge, it’s either cheaper or more expensive. However, the reason I’ve put this last is that value for money should consider multiple factors, not just a number on a website. I am also excluding delivery costs from this as they are pretty standard and can sometimes be free.

The Protein works is the most expensive at £17.99 for a 1kg bag. MyProtein and Bulk Powders come in a joint second at £15.79 for a 1kg bag. At face value this gives a quite clear ranking. However, going back to what I said before there’s more than just a number contributing to this.

Image credit: Bulk Powders

To be honest, whilst some are cheaper than others, discount codes can level this out. All three companies have codes running throughout the year. So keep an eye out if you do have a preferred brand or this has convinced you to try one. Although, the difference of The Protein Works pricing is a bit too big to justify closing the gap on this score.

Taking into account all of the other factors and the above, I personally rank value for money scores as:

  1. MyProtein
  2. Bulk Powders
  3. The Protein Works

Overall

Overall, across the areas I have discussed I would rate the three products as follows:

  1. MyProtein
  2. The Protein Works
  3. Bulk Powders

On balance, I feel MyProtein offers the best overall quality. Whilst it does have some downfalls i.e. powder clinging to hands etc, it does taste and mix the best as well as having good value for money. A close second is The Protein Works, if it wasn’t for the price difference this may well have won overall. Bulk Powders comes third, however, this doesn’t mean it is the worst on the market. All three powders are better than a lot of protein powders out there.

As mentioned at the outset, these are pure and clean protein powders with no real additives or junk thrown in. This is often a better choice than some of the ‘bigger’ brand products out there. If you are looking for a good value, solid choice of protein MyProtein is my favourite.  The other two are also good alternatives and you may enjoy them more with your preferences. Remember, this is just my experience and based on factors that I look for.

Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!

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