Protein Supplements: What’s right for you?
One of the most commonly consumed supplements is protein. From casein to whey to everything in-between, there are a ton of protein supplements out there so it can get incredibly confusing. This expert breaks down protein supplements and helps you decide what’s right for you!
Breaking down protein supplements
The world of protein supplements can be kind of confusing for people who aren’t experts on the topic. Not because they’re complicated, but because there are so many types and so many companies from which to choose!
Protein powders can be useful for anyone who wants to increase their protein intake for muscle-building or -repairing reasons…
Or it is good to substitute the less expensive powder instead of higher cost protein like meat.
Protein supplements: Where to start?
Not only do the different proteins vary due to the non-protein ingredients, like the flavors, sweeteners, and additional ingredients added, but there are also two main differences when it comes to the source: vegetable and animal.
Both taste-wise and nutritionally, animal-based proteins are superior, and whey protein is the best.
Then to further break down the type of protein you have differences in the type of actual protein itself, like whey, (whey concentrate, whey isolate) casein, egg white protein, beef protein, soy protein, pea protein, and hemp protein.
As you can see, it can be very challenging to the average person as to which type of protein to take. Additionally, one could also find it overwhelming to walk into a supplement store and try to choose a protein supplement from the hundreds of companies on the market.
To simplify this process for you, we have listed the major types of protein and their benefits.
Once you choose the type that’s best for you, then you can begin to choose the best manufacturer.
Whey protein is a by-product of the dairy industry. Whole milk is made up of 20 percent whey protein and 80 percent casein protein, but milk-based protein is usually made from whey.
Most people say that whey protein tastes the best, is the most economical, and has the highest quality. As mentioned, there are two types of whey-based protein: whey concentrate and whey isolate.
- Whey Concentrate
Whey concentrate has a low lactose level, a low level of carbs and fat, and is usually more affordable per gram. This tends to be the best-selling type of whey protein, but some people experience bloating and gassiness. It can be used either before or after workouts, or as between meals.
- Whey Isolate
Whey isolate is pretty much fat-free and is usually lactose-free as well. Although it has a thinner consistency than whey concentrate, it has a better flavor. Whey protein powders might be made of whey concentrate or isolate alone, or a mix of both.
It’s one of the most quickly absorbing proteins, but is more expensive than whey concentrate. Whey isolate powders are good to use for both pre and post-workout.
Casein is also a derivative of milk protein, and it’s sometimes called “milk protein.” The main difference between casein and whey is that whey is more quickly absorbed.
Casein is absorbed slowly and steadily, but tastes about the same. It can be used, like whey concentrate, as a meal or in between, but it can also be used before bed. It takes between five and seven hours to break down completely. It also has a high glutamine content, which helps speed up recovery and boosts the immune system.
Some protein powders are made up of a blend of whey and casein, or just 100 percent casein.
Egg White Protein
For a long time, egg white protein was more popular than whey protein.
Then manufacturers (and customers) realized that whey protein was cheaper to make/buy, and tasted better, and whey-based proteins gained the lead.
Egg white protein is low in carbs and fat, dairy-free, and cholesterol-free. It’s a great option for those users who may have an allergy to dairy products.
For people who want a non-dairy, non-vegetable protein, beef protein is now available. It’s a great source of BCAAs and natural creatine, and doesn’t have any cholesterol or fat.
In case you’re wondering, it doesn’t taste like beef.
We’re just going to lump all the vegetable proteins in together.
Soy protein has a very noticeable flavor that some people cannot manage. It does have some benefits like isoflavones that are antioxidant, and like the other vegetable/plant proteins, it’s rich in minerals and vitamins, fiber, and amino acids.
Like soy, hemp provides all eight of the essential amino acids, and has its own unique characteristics. Other plant-based proteins come from peas, sprouts, and brown rice, quinoa, millet, chia, and spirulina, among others.
The protein powder you choose will depend upon your taste and source preferences, and the ratio of protein, carbs, and fat you want in the product.
- Bodybuilding.com: Protein Types Best for You
- Mr. White Career Portfolio
- Nutrition Express
- Mohanty, Pradyut Kumar, Nikhil Nishant, and Shilpa Luthra. “Whey Protein Nutritional Power House of Future.” Int. J. Adv. Biol. Biom. Res 2.9 (2014): 2601-2604.
- Breakdown: Protein Supplements (whey, casein, etc.) - October 22, 2015