Choosing the best protein powder for you
You might have mentally asked that question to yourself while staring at the protein jars on the store’s shelf. First off, before choosing what is the right protein powder for you, you should know the reasons why people use protein as a supplement. Some people use it to help gain muscle mass and strength since it builds and repairs muscle tissues after exercise, and others use it as meal replacement for weight-loss. It can also be used in diets which are lacking protein, for overall health purposes. It is important to emphasize that each of those proteins may have a different formulation and will vary in macros and dose.
A research published in 2011 on “Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise” indicated that protein supplements that are intended for muscle mass and strength gain should present the full spectrum of essential amino acids and should also be rich in the branched-chain amino acid leucine, which stimulates muscle protein synthesis. The protein powders which are rich in those amino acids are normally animal-based such as whey, casein and egg proteins. Soy protein may also have relatively high amounts as well. Some protein powders even have extra BCAAs added and that can help with post-workout recovery.
When it comes to fat-loss, the protein should be obviously low in fat and carbs in order to restrict the overall caloric content of the supplement. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition emphasized that whey protein is very helpful to accelerate the metabolism but soy and casein protein are better for increasing satiety. Besides the type of protein, the dose is also very important.
It is important to note that, nutritionally and taste-wise, animal proteins (whey) are better than vegetable proteins (soy), and way more popular too. Usually people that choose soy protein live a vegetarian lifestyle. Whey protein is derived from milk and the protein percentage of whole milk consists of 20% whey protein and 80% casein protein. Another great benefit of whey protein, and most people don’t know about, is that it improves the immune system in many ways.
Types of whey protein:
Whey Concentrate: more economical per gram of protein. With a lower lactose level it is better tolerated by most lactose-sensitive people. It has significant amounts of fat and carbs in relation to your overall nutrient intake. Whey concentrate is normally the best-selling category of whey.
Whey Isolate: it is practically fat-free and recommended to people who wish to cut as much fat from their diet as possible. It is normally lactose free, therefore, perfect for those who are very sensitive to even the low-lactose levels found in whey concentrate. Whey isolate tends to taste a little better than whey concentrate and its consistency is thinner since is doesn’t have fat in it. A whey protein can also be a blend of both isolate and concentrate.
Casein or Milk Protein: just as whey protein, casein protein is another milk protein derivative. The main difference between whey and casein is that whey is absorbed in the digestive system more rapidly and the casein is absorbed slowly and steadily. Casein is usually used at night, before bed, to avoid catabolization throughout a fasted night of sleep. A whey protein may have a little of both, whey and casein in a blend. Casein protein may not appear on labels as casein protein. It usually appears as calcium caseinate.
Egg White Protein: it used to be the most popular type of protein for many years before milk proteins surpassed its popularity due to their better taste and lower cost. Just as milk proteins, egg white is also very low in fat and carbs. Egg white protein is cholesterol-free (since it does not have any yolk) and an excellent choice for those who wish to avoid dairy products.
Vegetable Proteins: soy protein is the most popular vegetable protein. Soy and hemp are unique among vegetable protein sources in that they supply all 8 essential amino acids. Most vegetable proteins lack one or more. Soy has additional benefits, too. The isoflavones in soy provide antioxidant benefits, heart health benefits and is often used by women transitioning through menopause. But watch out… Because the chemical structure of isoflavones is similar to that of estrogen, isoflavones bind to estrogen receptors. By competing with estrogen the isoflavones are believed to dampen the effect of estrogen in the body.
OTHER IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS TO BE MADE WHEN READING THE LABEL:
- AMOUNT OF SUGAR
- TYPE OF SWEETENER USED
- IF THE PRODUTC IS GMO-FREE
- IF IT HAS ENZYMES OR NOT
- IF IT HAS BCAAs OR NOT
And finally… don’t get confused between whey isolate (fat and carb free), regular whey and mass, which is a high protein weight gain powder (high in calories).