With the supplement market booming, it’s hard to keep track of what’s hot and what’s not. With a gym bag full of protein powder, fat burners and of course, BCAAs, priority goes to supplements you can actually enjoy using.
With so many workout supplements on the market it can be hard to know what’s good, bad or downright awful. That’s why I’ve evaluated the best tasting BCAA supplements and powders available and chosen five favorites to share with you today.
What Are Branched Chain Amino Acids?
We all know that protein is one of the most important macronutrients our bodies need simply to function. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. They link together in chains to create proteins which perform different functions.
There are 20 amino acids. Eleven are non essential, meaning our body is capable of producing them on its own.
According to a report from the World Health Organization (WHO), there are nine essential amino acids which our body cannot produce:
As these are indispensable, it’s essential we get them from dietary sources, be it a combination of protein packed, nutritious animal and plant sources or in some cases, supplements.
The term branched chain amino acids or BCAAs, refers to three of the essential amino acids – leucine, isoleucine and valine. BCAAs make up 35% of essential amino acids in muscle proteins and are responsible for protein synthesis.
Who Needs Branched Chain Amino Acid Supplements?
BCAAs have a number of benefits for those who are looking to lose weight and gain muscle mass.
Dieting is catabolic, meaning it often leads to muscle breakdown. The more weight you lose, the more your body starts to break down muscle protein to use the amino acids as an alternative form of energy rather than fat. This is the last thing you want if you’re trying to build or maintain lean muscle mass.
Through protein creation and the synthesis of the cellular machinery, branched chain amino acids promote muscle growth and recovery. Simply put, your body needs amino acids. Especially if you’re regularly strength training or intermittent fasting.
BCAA Food Sources vs Supplements
The fitness fanatics out there have no doubt heard of BCAA supplements. However, supplementation is not the only way to get these little muscle-building wonders.
Protein rich foods like eggs, steak and chicken are excellent natural sources of BCAAs. Also, plant based proteins such as those found in hemp and chia seeds are great sources of BCAAs for vegetarians.
It can be hard to consume enough of the food sources to reach higher doses of BCAAs. This is where supplements come in. With a BCAA supplement, you can be sure to meet your RDA. This gives peace of mind, especially as they are so valuable to the body.
How to Choose a Great Tasting BCAA Supplement
When considering powdered supplements, taste can be a big deciding factor. Afterall, who wants to be throwing something down their neck that tastes like sawdust right before a hardcore workout? Feeling nauseous and lifting weights in my experience is not a good combination!
However, you need to consider the sugar content. Let’s face it, why would you need sugar in this supplement? Plus, it is something you should be avoiding if you’re watching your weight. Unfortunately, if an unflavored supplement makes you gag, you need to be prepared for either a small amount of sugar or artificial sweeteners to get a tasty treat.
Best Tasting BCAA Supplements and Powders
To make the buying process easier, I’ve sorted through the good, the bad and the pretty darn awful, to find the best tasting BCAA supplements and powders to share with you today.
For me the Muscle Pharm brand offers the best tasting BCAA supplement. Not only is the flavor great, but it offers an extra potent 3:1:2 ratio of BCAAs. As a bonus, it’s made in the USA in a GMP facility which offers confidence in the quality of the product. I think this would make a good choice for anyone looking to add BCAAs into their diet.
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