Different Types of Protein Powders and Their Benefits
By now, you already know that protein is vital to building strength and endurance. And that at least 30% of your daily recommended calorie intake should consist of it. But what types of protein powders will work for you?
And you also know that getting your daily-recommended intake isn’t always an easy task.
That’s a lot of protein to digest, and even the most dedicated riders need a little assistance now and then. That’s where protein supplementation comes into play.
More specifically… protein powder supplementation.
There are quite a few options available to you. And they’re not all created equal. I’m going to talk about five of the most popular types of protein powder, and discuss the key benefits of each.
The Two Main Categories Of Protein Powders
All protein powders fall under one of two categories: animal-based proteins and plant-based proteins.
Animal-based protein powders consist of milk-derived proteins, egg proteins, and beef proteins. They tend to be more cost efficient and better tasting than their plant-based counterparts. But they lack certain benefits that plant-based proteins provide.
Plant-based protein powders consist of soy protein, hemp protein, and more. They’re generally more expensive than animal-based proteins and usually don’t taste as good. But they do have a major advantage over animal proteins… their ability to provide vegans and vegetarians with a viable source of protein supplementation.
Each category (and type) has its own unique set of benefits. Below, we’ll discuss the five most popular types of protein powder, starting with animal-based proteins. (All the images link out to Amazon.com)
There are two different parts of milk protein: whey and casein.
Whey makes up 20% of milk protein and is arguably the most popular type of protein powder currently on the market.
It comes in two distinct forms:
Whey Isolate – Basically, the “no fat” whey protein option. Whey isolate is lactose-free and ideal for people wanting to consume as little fat in their diet as possible. Its biggest downside is its higher cost.
Whey Concentrate – The lower cost alternative to whey isolate, and the top-selling type of whey protein. Whey concentrate does contain more fat than isolate, but it’s still a low-fat supplement.
- Higher quality protein.
- Cost efficient.
- Ideal for consumption pre, during, and post-workout.
- Ineffective at decreasing protein degradation.
- Not ideal for consumption throughout the day.
Casein makes up the remaining 80% of milk protein. In many ways, it’s very similar to whey protein, with one striking difference…
Casein protein is absorbed into your body at a much slower pace than whey protein. This, with its excellent amino acid properties, makes it a terrific option for protein supplementation throughout the day.
- Digested at a slow rate (making it ideal for supplementation throughout the day).
- The prominent source of dairy calcium (important for bone health).
- Abundant in amino acids.
- Not ideal for consumption pre, during, or post-workout.
- Tends to cause bloating in some consumers.
Egg White Protein
Egg white protein powders are the “next best thing” for lactose-intolerant meat-eaters. The protein content is very similar to both casein and whey, and the absorption rate lies somewhere between the two.
Egg white protein powder used to be the most popular form of protein supplementation, but its higher cost and less pleasant taste (as compared to milk proteins) have led to a drop in popularity.
- The best option for lactose-intolerant meat-eaters.
- High quantity of protein per serving (24g per scoop)
- Contains important vitamins A, B-complex, D, and E
- More expensive than milk-based protein powders.
- Doesn’t taste as pleasant as other powders.
Soy protein powder is to the go-to form of supplementation for vegetarians and vegans, making it arguably the most popular form of plant-based protein powder on the market.
But it’s not just for vegetarians. Research shows that soy protein pairs together well with whey and casein protein, thanks to its high supply of arginine and glutamine amino acids.
- Excellent stand-alone protein powder for vegetarians and vegans.
- Reduces LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol)
- Helps improve the absorption of nutrients from other foods.
- Has higher levels of phytoestrogens, which increases estrogen production.
- Soy protein is harder for the body to digest.
Hemp is the second most popular form of plant-based protein powder.
It’s considered a complete protein – meaning it contains all eight amino acids – making it another ideal candidate for vegetarians and vegans.
In addition to the essential amino acids, hemp protein also contains the proper ratio and quantities of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
- Easier to digest than soy protein.
- Excellent source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
- One of the pricier protein powder supplements.
- Has an earthy taste that is difficult to cover up.
So, What Will Work For You?
This list should give you a good starting point when shopping for good protein powders. But after you take our personal preferences and budget into account, the only whey to find out which protein supplement is right for you is to try them all and record the results to find what works best for you.
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