Protein is an essential macronutrient for building muscle, maintaining strength, and aiding in muscle recovery. Protein powders are a convenient and easy way to get the protein you need to reach your fitness goals. But with so many types of protein powders on the market, it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. In this guide, we'll explore the different types of protein powders, their nutritional benefits, and how to use them in your diet. When it comes to protein powders, there are two main categories: animal proteins and plant-based proteins.
Animal proteins include whey, casein, egg, and powdered dairy proteins. Plant-based proteins include pea protein, soy protein, hemp protein, and rice protein. Each type of protein powder has its own unique nutritional benefits and uses.
Benefits of Protein PowdersProtein powders are a great way to increase your daily protein intake. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines, adults should consume 0.8-1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day for optimal health and performance.
For those who are strength training or trying to build muscle mass, the ACSM recommends 1.2-1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. In addition to helping you meet your daily protein needs, protein powders can also provide other nutritional benefits. For example, whey protein has been shown to have a higher digestibility score than other types of proteins, meaning it is more easily absorbed by the body. A Harvard study also found that whey protein can help increase lean body mass and strength when combined with strength training.
Types of Protein Powders
Animal ProteinsAnimal proteins are derived from animal sources such as milk, eggs, and fish. These types of proteins are considered complete proteins because they contain all nine essential amino acids that the body needs but cannot produce on its own. Whey protein is one of the most popular types of animal proteins.
It is a byproduct of cheese production and is made up of two main components: whey concentrate and whey isolate. Whey concentrate is less processed than whey isolate and contains more fat and carbohydrates. Whey isolate is more processed and contains more protein per serving than whey concentrate. Casein is another type of animal protein derived from milk. It is slower to digest than whey protein and is often used as a nighttime snack or meal replacement due to its slow-release properties.
Plant-Based ProteinsPlant-based proteins are derived from plant sources such as peas, soybeans, hemp seeds, and rice.
These types of proteins are not considered complete proteins because they do not contain all nine essential amino acids that the body needs. To get all nine essential amino acids from plant-based proteins, you must combine two or more complementary proteins such as rice and beans or quinoa and nuts. This combination is known as a complete protein. Pea protein is one of the most popular types of plant-based proteins due to its high protein content and nutritional benefits. It is also easy to digest and contains no cholesterol or saturated fat.
Uses for Protein PowdersProtein powders can be used in a variety of ways to increase your daily protein intake. The most common use for protein powders is in shakes or smoothies.
To make a shake or smoothie with a protein powder, simply add one scoop of your favorite powder to a blender with your choice of liquid (milk, water, juice), fruits or vegetables, ice cream or yogurt for added flavor and texture. Protein powders can also be used in baking recipes such as pancakes or muffins for an added boost of nutrition. You can also add them to oatmeal or cereal for a quick breakfast option.