There are many varieties of protein powders available, including whey, casein, egg white, pea, hemp, and brown rice protein. Each type varies in terms of its source, amino acid profile, and potential benefits. Before you make a purchase out of panic or fall prey to the sales pitch of the employee behind the desk, you should probably have a working knowledge of the different types of protein powder. Believe it or not, not all protein comes from the same cow.
Knowing the difference can help you make an informed purchase or even reach your weightlifting goals a little faster.
Whey protein, a dairy product derived from cow's milk, is probably the most common type of protein you'll see, and for good reason. Whey is generally considered to be the highest quality source of protein due to its favorable amino acid content and easy absorption. Sometimes it can be added to food products, but most commonly you see it as just a powdered supplement.
There are several subtypes of whey protein. Whey concentrate is generally considered to be the lowest quality option because of its limited refinement process. Concentrates contain up to 80% pure protein by weight, but some products tend to have an even lower content. The rest of the nutritional composition is made up of carbohydrates and fats.
In addition, a reduced amount of carbohydrates also makes whey isolate relatively low in lactose, which can save your life if you have dietary restrictions. As a warning, extensive insulation processing makes it slightly more expensive than some of its cousins. Whey protein hydrolysate has been shown to be as effective as traditional whey protein and, in some cases, even more effective at stimulating muscle protein synthesis in animal tests. Hydrolyzate is usually the most expensive option on the market and will be a little harder to come by.
Casein is the other type of protein found in cow's milk and is usually used to make cheese. It has been widely used by bodybuilders before bed because of its slow digestive properties. Casein curdles in the acidic environment of the stomach, causing it to digest much more slowly than whey protein. The idea behind bodybuilders taking casein protein before bed is to have a slow release of amino acids during the night, when they would otherwise go through a long period of fasting.
Believe it or not, you can actually get a good amount of protein without touching a whey product. Plant-based protein powders are generally considered to be of lower quality, as they are “incomplete” and do not contain at least some of the nine essential amino acids. Many plant-based products also have a lower PDCAAS score, indicating worse digestibility. The price of the product is just as important as any other factor, especially if you have a limited budget.
Opting for whey isolate is a nutritionally wise choice, but it can hurt your wallet more than the other options. If the dollar value is of great importance to you, you may want to opt for a whey concentrate. You will continue to consume high-quality protein, but it won't ruin as much. Whey protein and casein protein are animal-based protein powders made from dairy products.
Whey protein and casein are the types of proteins found in cow's milk that are dried to a powder. They are considered high-quality proteins that contain all the essential amino acids you must get from food, since your body cannot produce them. Collagen is another protein of animal origin found in the connective tissues of cows (cattle), fish (marine) or chickens. Collagen has been said to improve skin, joint, hair, nail, and gut health, however, research is limited and these benefits are inconclusive.
Whey concentrate is a form of whey protein that includes some lactose and fat. It contains 78 to 88 percent protein and is often tastier and less expensive than whey isolate. Whey isolate means that carbohydrates and fat have been eliminated to produce a powder that contains 98 percent protein. Soy protein is made from ground soybeans (no wonder) that have been hulled and defatted.
It's digested at a moderate rate, like egg white protein, and contains higher amounts of the amino acids glutamine and arginine, which can help support immune function, digestive health and brain function. It's a complete protein and is considered to be the most effective plant-based source for building or maintaining muscle, but a verdict has yet to be made on its potential health risks for women with a history of estrogen-related cancers and men with lower testosterone levels. If you fall into either side, you might want to stay away or at least vary your protein sources. Pea protein, derived from yellow pea, is the most digestible vegetable protein, making it a good alternative for anyone with a sensitive stomach who doesn't want to consume dairy or soy.
But it's not a complete protein, it's low in 2 amino acids, so combine it with another plant-based protein, such as hemp or rice, to complete your amino acid profile and complete it. If you want a higher protein content, choose pea protein isolate. Slightly low-protein pea protein powder is also a good choice and is readily available in organic varieties. Hemp protein is made from nutrient-packed hemp seeds and, while it's not the best for stimulating muscles due to its lower protein content (most contain only 10 to 15 grams per tablespoon, depending on the brand, compared to 25 grams for whey and 22 grams for soybeans) and the PDCAA score, it does provide a good dose of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.
Combine it with rice or pea protein to complete your amino acid profile and complete it. This is a good option if you want to increase your overall nutrient intake and don't have high protein needs. Protein is derived from a variety of sources, including animal and plant-based options, such as cow and goat milk, peas, hemp seeds, rice, soybeans, etc., Andrews says. So how do you choose? What is the best protein powder? It's a common question, but like most aspects of nutrition, the answer is complicated.
Peas are a complete protein, although they are low in methionine, one of the nine essential amino acids. It's also important to choose a protein powder you like so you actually consume it, advises Ryan D. Third-party testing verifies that the ingredients on the label and the quantities are what the protein powder actually contains. High-quality protein powder could provide much-needed nutrition for many pregnant women who can't get calories from elsewhere, but if you're pregnant, you shouldn't try any new supplement without first being recommended by your doctor.
Read the labels carefully, think about your protein intake holistically, and be willing to try a few options to find the one that works best for you. A protein shake or simply adding a spoonful of powder to your usual oatmeal, yogurt or stew are quick and easy ways to help your body recover on rest days. In addition, whey also scores high on the PDCAAS, a scale that measures the digestibility and utilization of a protein source. If you're drinking protein shakes to boost your gains, you don't want to go overboard with added sugar.
Therefore, having easy access to high-quality dietary protein from a powdered supplement can be invaluable. Plant-based protein powders can be adapted to different lifestyles and to people with dietary restrictions. Walk into any supplement store or supermarket and you'll find dozens and dozens of protein powder options of any flavor you can imagine. .