Mixability: This is the product's ability to mix and dissolve thoroughly with consideration given to clumps, foam, and stickiness.
Taste: Factors considered in this category are how well the product mimics its flavor, chemical or other after tastes, and balance of sweetness.
Texture: Products will be judged here based on the nature of the product, whether it is supposed to be like juice or like a shake; thick and creamy or watery and thin. Also considered in this section are graininess as well as clumps and foam if applicable.
Profile: This refers to the protein profile of the product.
It will be based on current preference for whey protein where WPI is better than WPC and cross-flow micro- filtration is better than ion filtration. Additional supplements added to the mix may be considered in this section depending on context but cannot make up for a bad protein blend.
Overall: This is the sum of all the previous factors.
Also included will be specific product highlights as well as drawbacks and my own personal thoughts on the product. The thoughts section is for factors that may be considered when purchasing a product (such as price) but were not part of the rating. If applicable, I will also make note of any other flavors that a particular brand offers.
Optimum 100% Whey Protein
Highlights: Low price for a decent protein product.
Drawbacks: Cookies and Cream!
Thoughts: This protein is a staple for most people and it's too bad most people don't branch out to other econo proteins. The 100% Whey Protein line is solid except for the Cookies and Cream flavor which is absolutely horrid. A comparable product would be Dymatize Elite Whey.
NOW Foods Whey Protein Isolate
Highlights: All natural, Good price
Thoughts: NOW Foods Whey Protein Isolate is one of my personal favorites. This protein is pure CFM WPI which is the highest quality whey you can get. It is all natural with no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners and has a great, smooth, natural flavor. The powder mixes up quite thick and when you drink it, it just feels healthy.
Designer Whey Designer Protein
Highlights: Added supplements
Thoughts: Designer Whey Designer Protein would make a good econo protein that could replace 100% Whey Protein. The added supplements to the mix don't really up the cost but also aren't enough to make a huge difference so no complaints there. I say definitely give this one a try if you're looking to switch up your econo protein.
VPX Zero Carb SRO
Highlights: Added supplements
Thoughts: For the price, I would rather get one of the fruit juice protein powders. Sure, VPX Zero Carb Protein is a quality powder with added things like glutamine peptides and arginine (in small amounts), but it just doesn't justify the price.
Dymatize Elite Whey Protein Isolate
Thoughts: First off, although they have a great variety of flavors, many of the flavors have a chemical after taste. For some though this may not be a problem. I see Dymatize Elite Whey as one of the most viable contenders for best econo whey. It mixes well and the new fruit flavors are very good for the price.
Well, that's it for this installment. My favorite protein overall is NOW Foods WPI because, aside from the purity of the product (I like things that are "all natural"), the price can't be beat.
Protein is probably the most important part of an athlete's supplementation and there is no reason aside from simple luxury to shell out more money than is necessary.