What Is The Best Type Of Protein Powder For You?
With all the different types of protein powder available, it is often difficult to decide which protein powder is the best for your specific needs. The most commonly consumed protein powder is whey protein, but is it really the best protein powder choice? What about casein, soy, egg, or plant proteins?
In this article, I will break down the most popular types of protein powder to help you decide what the best option is for you.
Before I begin, I want to emphasize that it is always better to consume whole foods than protein powders. No matter what the protein powder, it is processed and denatured. There are often harmful sweeteners, preservatives, and additives in protein powders that I would recommend avoiding. I created a list of the most common protein powders below to give you the best information in which to choose what is the best protein powder for you.
Whey protein is often considered the “go-to” protein supplement for bodybuilders, and with good reason. Whey is the liquid material left over as a by-product during the production of cheese. The whey protein powder you consume is the globular protein isolated from the whey liquid.
It is a complete protein powder because it contains all the 9 essential amino acids. Our body produces many amino acids naturally, but there are certain amino acids that we need to acquire via our diet.
Whey protein has all the essential amino acids making it a complete protein that is optimal for building lean mass. It is very easily absorbed, and, next to eggs, is the most easily absorbed protein available. After a tough workout, it is optimal to consume whey protein for growth and recovery.
Whey protein is also good for immune system health, as it helps in the production of many powerful amino acids. It is also cheap and comes in a variety of flavors.
For those who are lactose intolerant, whey protein is a dairy product and should not be consumed. Whey protein is often heavily processed and filled with tons of additives, and tends to be filled with chemicals and artificial sweeteners.
For those consuming whey protein, I would highly recommend finding a protein powder that is non-hydrolyzed, non-denatured, unsweetened, flavorless, and organic. This will ensure that you are getting the high quality of whey protein without the extra garbage.
Casein protein is a slow-digesting protein that makes up 80% of dairy. Via a separation process from liquid milk, casein is produced, as the protein is separated from the fat and carbohydrates.
Casein protein is a complete protein that is great in combination with whey because of whey protein’s quick absorption and casein protein’s slow absorption. It may be a good idea to consume casein protein before bed, because doing so will give your muscles a constant supply of protein throughout the night.
Casein protein is also very high in the amino acid glutamine, which is great for immune system health and muscle mass preservation.
Casein protein also has a 5:1 ratio of tyrosine-to-tryptophan. (two amino acids) Tyrosine is thought to increase the effect of excitatory chemical signals in the brain, leading to a sensation of fullness. This could be positive or negative, depending on your goals.
Because it is slow-digesting, it is not ideal to be consumed after a workout. It is also not beneficial for those who are lactose intolerant. The price may be a turnoff as well, as it is slightly more expensive than whey. Like with all protein powders, watch out for artificial flavors and other harmful additives.
Try to find a high quality casein powder with as little added ingredients as possible. Also, it is best consumed before bed and in combination with another protein powder that is fast-absorbing.
Soy protein used to be a waste product of soy oil until it was brilliantly turned into a huge money-making product. Soy protein tends to receive a bad reputation in regards to consumption by men, as it is known to be associated with estrogen.
Soy is also genetically modified, but that is a debatable topic for another article. Regardless of the controversy regarding how healthy soy is, it is one of the few plant sources that is a complete protein.
As mentioned earlier, soy is a complete protein. It is high in photoestrogens and thus, should have a positive hormonal effect on both men and women.
Many studies have found that soy has a positive impact on blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes. It is also a fast-absorbing protein and can be consumed after a workout. Also, it is fairly inexpensive, so your bank account may approve!
Soy products have many anti-nutrients. What that means is that they prevent the body from absorbing many important minerals, such as iron, zinc, calcium, and other nutrients.
The manufacturing process of creating soy protein powder is unfavorable. The high-pressure, high-temperature, acid-washed final product results in a product that you may question putting in your body.
Soy protein has a lot of positive aspects to it, and it may be a good source of protein for vegan and non-vegan bodybuilders alike. However, its negative effects may be enough to deter you from soy your protein powder selection. The choice is yours!
Egg protein powder is derived from, well, you guessed it, eggs! The yolk and the egg whites are separated before the egg whites are dehydrated. Like soy, casein, and whey, egg protein powder is also a complete protein.
Egg protein powder is rich in vitamins A, B, D, and E. It also tends to be low in carbohydrates and fat-free, making it a good alternative to whey or casein, if you are lactose intolerant.
Egg white protein powder has a moderately fast digestion rate, falling somewhere between whey and casein protein. Studies have shown that egg white protein is great for protein synthesis and prevention of protein breakdown in the body. This is subjective, but egg white protein shakes tend to be quite delicious.
Many individuals are allergic to eggs, so if that is the case, then egg white protein powder is not ideal. It also is not fast absorbing. Thus, it would not be beneficial to take immediately post workout. Depending on the source of the eggs, salmonella and other pathogens may be present in the powder.
However, this problem can often be avoided if you buy cage-free, antibiotic-free, free-range eggs. A healthy, happy chicken often produces healthy eggs. The last downside to egg white protein is that it is often quite expensive.
I would highly recommend egg white protein powder as it is a complete protein, digested fairly well, rich in vitamins and minerals, and quite tasty. The price and allergies would definitely be deterrents, however.
I decided to lump together the plant proteins. This includes pea, hemp, and rice. These protein powders are often found in combination with each other, which is often ideal, as together, these powders make a very healthy, complete protein.
For starters, hemp protein powder is a complete protein. Hemp is very high in fiber, and very easily digestible. Hemp protein has an optimal ratio of omega 3 fatty acids to omega 6 fatty acids and is great for cellular repair, and for speeding up recovery time. It is packed with the minerals magnesium, iron and zinc.
Hemp, pea and rice protein powder are great for those with allergies, as they are hypoallergenic.
Pea protein powder is another good protein powder option. It is high in branch-chained amino acids, which help to keep the muscles in a muscle-building state throughout the day, help keep you full and energize your workouts.
Pea protein is also digested very well, although not nearly as well as whey protein. When it comes to taste, pea protein is quite delicious, and mixed with some fruit and peanut butter makes for a fantastic treat.
Rice protein powder is also a good source of protein that is hypoallergenic, as well. It is high in fiber, and a great option for vegans. Like pea protein, its rate of digestion is intermediate.
A big downside of plant proteins is their cost, as they tend to be a little more expensive than whey. Brown rice protein and pea protein are both incomplete proteins, but if combined together, they make a complete protein powder.
Although the taste of pea protein is rather tasty, I have found the taste of hemp to be quite poor. Mixing fruits and other flavors helps the taste, but it is not going to win any awards.
Although high in protein quantity per serving, plant proteins are not nearly as high as their whey, soy, egg and casein counterparts.
I think consuming plant proteins is a great option. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and fiber, in addition to the high quality proteins. I would highly recommend consuming them together to get the best out of them. This ensures that you are consuming complete proteins.
Different protein powders work for different people. Although it is best to consume real, whole food, there are some options in the protein supplement world. Many bodybuilders recommend consuming whey, casein, and egg protein together since whey is fast-absorbing, casein is slow-absorbing and egg white is moderate-absorbing. This means you are getting the best of all worlds.
There is a reason why whey is the protein of choice, considering how it cheap it is, how quickly absorbed it is and how high of a quality, complete protein it is.
I do also think highly of the plant-based protein powders, especially in combination with each other. In this scenario, you get the complete protein that is high in nutrients and fiber, hypoallergenic, and vegan.
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About Danny Maman My name is Danny Maman. I have a real passion for health and fitness and enjoy having a life that revolves around this. I have my bachelor's degree in exercise science with a minor in allied health. I am also a certified personal trainer with ACE and am a former college basketball player.