What’s the Best Protein Available?
Picking the right protein for you can be really confusing… There are so many options out there and more appear on the market yearly. So what’s the best protein available for you? Let’s get the doctor’s word on the issue!
Let’s find the best protein available…
When I first got into protein supplementation, the only protein that I could afford was evaporated milk and Nestle Quik. It tasted awful and gave me digestive issues.
After several months of chalkiness and bloating, I tried Egg and Soy, the only protein powders available. They were better, but still lacked in taste.
Thankfully, we are well beyond the evaporated milk days and with new technology and manufacturing processes, we now have quite a variety of protein.
It can get very confusing deciding the best protein available for you! Read on to see which reigns supreme.
So what is best protein available?
When whey came on the scene, it was touted as the gold standard in protein supplementation. Whey protein is derived from milk; it is what is left after the curds are removed.
It is a quickly digested and has been shown to increase muscle strength and size when taken within two hours after a workout.
Whey protein also has its downsides. Many people experience bloating and gastrointestinal distress after consuming.
Others may have an allergy to the dairy proteins; skin conditions can also occur. There also a concern of artificial hormones, antibiotics, and other chemicals that are used in the dairy industry that can exacerbate health conditions.
If you are lactose intolerant, whey protein may be not for you.
Casein is a dairy protein and the primary protein found in milk. It is more slowly digested than whey.
Many use this protein at night while sleeping as it will be slowly released over time. This is generally not the best choice after a workout.
Since Casein is derived from dairy sources, it is highly allergenic and many can develop bloating and diarrhea.
In addition more allergies occur with casein than whey.
Eggs protein is a complete, high quality protein. It is usually made from egg whites, rather than whole eggs. The yolks contain much of the nutrition of the egg, which is eliminated during manufacturing.
In addition, research has shown using the white does not promote fullness as using the whole egg.
Soy protein was one of the originals. It contains all the amino acids and will also help optimize training, performance and muscle growth. Soy isoflavones potentially reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
There is conflicting evidence that soy may interact with estrogen and increase levels. This is not good when trying to build muscle, however the most current research states the opposite.
Another form of soy, soy concentrate, contains less isoflavones, but also has less cardiovascular benefits.
Pea protein is a great choice for plant-based dieters. It is naturally fat and cholesterol free and there is little to no allergies reported when taking it.
In addition, it is gluten free, which is great for those that cannot tolerate gluten containing products. Pea protein contains high level of branched chain amino acids. Studies have shown that it is more slowly absorbed than whey, but faster than casein.
Pea protein is deficient in cysteine, which you would need to get it from other sources. It has also been reported that pea protein promotes feelings of fullness comparable to whey and casein.
Hemp protein is made from the seeds of marijuana plants. They contain very little of the active ingredient that marijuana is so famous for.
Hemp protein also contains omega-three and omega-six fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory and prevent heart disease. Hemp protein contains low levels of lysine and leucine. Overall, Hemp protein has a higher calorie count due to the higher fat content.
It is more expensive because hemp is illegal to grow in some states.
Rice protein is a complete protein. While not sounding very appealing, rice protein has fared well against the competition.
It is low is lysine, this may need to be supplemented elsewhere.
There has not been as much research regarding rice protein; it is believed not to promote muscle synthesis and fat loss as other protein powders.
So what is hydrolyzed, isolate and concentrate?
Hydrolyzed protein is where the bigger proteins are broken down into smaller protein molecules using chemicals, making it easier to digest.
Hydrolyzed proteins raise insulin levels higher than the others, which may actually promote fat gain, rather than reduce or prevent it.
Another form is referred to as isolate. This is where a protein goes through a process of purification. While these may give better results, the price is higher. The difference is also very minimal.
When you are determining what you need a high quality protein powder is all you need.
Protein concentrates are made by extracting protein from whole foods by adding acid or enzymes.
Wrap-Up: So what is my choice?
I prefer plant-based protein powders due to intolerance of dairy based products.
In addition, I purchase organic protein powder because fewer chemicals are used in the manufacturing process. I also am not a fan of GMO’s. Organic products, by definition, do not contain them.
Regardless of your choice, I recommend using a mix of proteins, as each has its own set of positive characteristics.
You can do this by purchasing a blended product or by purchasing individual products.