We should all already understand the benefits of protein powder. To put it simply, protein powder provides the body with a supplementary form of protein which prevents the body from entering into a protein deficit. It also serves as a quick access source for protein and carbohydrates, given its liquid form, which is very beneficial for post-workout recovery.
What’s The Best Protein Supplement?
So protein powder has its place in just about anyone’s bodybuilding diet plan. In fact, it’s valued as the most important supplement. It’s usually followed by creatine, multivitamins, and fish oil supplements.
But many do not understand the types of protein powders and what makes each one different. There are a few different aspects to this: is the protein concentrate or isolate, complete or incomplete, and what’s its originating source?
Take a look below to get a better understanding on each of these aspects.
Concentrate or Isolate?
Concentrate is a type of protein powder that goes through concentrating to eliminate non-protein substances. This results in between 70% and 85% protein purity in the powder. Carbohydrates and fats make up for the difference. If the protein goes through isolation, it allows for a purity level of up to 95% protein in the powder.
Isolate protein powder is highly pure, but highly expensive as well. The amount of grams found in isolate protein is also less than what’s found in concentrate protein. Of course, there is always room to argue a difference in absorption rate. But the main focus is on whether the user wants to get any carbs and fats in on top of the protein.
Complete or Incomplete
Complete protein consists of all the different essential amino acids. There are 10 in total. Incomplete protein is missing at least one of these essential amino acids. These amino acids play a vital role in many functions of the human body. The essential amino acids are also not naturally produced, but rather obtained through one’s diet.
The Sources of Protein
Protein powder is derived from a particular source of protein. There are many different sources that exist. Look below for some insight on the more common sources of protein.
Whey protein is the biggest selling type of protein powder on the market. It is derived from milk and is a by-product made through producing cheese from milk. This type of protein absorbs quickly, making it a great choice for post-workout recovery. It only becomes problematic in users with lactose intolerance as it does contain lactose.
Casein protein is another type of milk-derived protein. It is the result of separating milk protein and fats and carbohydrates in milk. It is viewed as being the second best type of protein. It differs from whey protein due to its more isolated nature. It also serves as a slower digesting source of protein. This makes it a good source of protein to use before going to bed, but it’s definitely not an effective source of protein post-workout.
Protein derived out of eggs is accomplished through removing yolk from eggs and drying the whites. This is beneficial as it serves as a complete protein. It also contains many different vitamins and minerals. It is not as severe of an allergen as lactose, but allergy issues are still there. Egg protein powder is also pretty expensive, so it’s not a great alternative to whey or casein.
Some other types of protein include rice, soy, hemp, and pea protein. None of these are seen as valuable alternatives to whey or casein, or even to egg. Rice protein is not a complete protein. Soy protein has potentially harmful effects on hormone levels. Hemp protein is extremely expensive. Pea protein is subject to amino acid deficiencies.
Conclusion: What Protein Powder Should People Use?
There is no definite answer to this question. Many variables will come into play. The most important things to consider include the amount of protein, its quality, and the cost per serving. In the end, it’s hard to go wrong with whey protein powder. To save on costs, choosing a concentrate powder would be ideal. An isolate whey protein powder would serve as a better alternative while cutting.
Additionally, choosing a protein powder made from a complete protein is highly recommended. These have many benefits from the respective amino acids, especially in relation to muscle growth and maintenance.