What type of protein is best for you?
Have you ever gone to buy protein, only to get frustrated and confused at all of different tubs on the shelf?
Which is the best for my goal?
What is the difference between them all?
Will it even taste good?
Let me touch on a few things that may point you in the right direction.
I am a very first believer that any ‘supplement’, is exactly that. It is to supplement your nutrition and exercise plan. If you are not already consistent with both of those, don’t waste your money on a fat burner or think that adding a recovery powder is going to automatically get you jacked. You need to be putting in the hard work already.
While you do want the majority of your protein intake to come from real food, there can definitely be some benefit to adding a protein powder in your regimen. Below are the most common types of protein you will find:
Whey– Whey is the most common form of protein, derived from milk. There are a few types, and they are not all created equally.
Concentrate– This is the cheaper form of whey. Whey concentrate generally is not broken down as much and hold onto a little more milk fat and milk sugar, making it slightly higher in carbs and fat preserving. It will be slightly
Isolate– Whey isolate is refined further, not only making it lower in carbs and fat, but also breaking down the protein fractions even smaller to be more bioavailable. This means your body will actually absorb and use more of the protein, and this also tends to be easier on your stomach if you are sensitive to dairy or lactose.
Hydrolyzed Isolate– Hydrolyzed protein is broken up even one step further than whey isolate is. This makes for the ultimate absorption of all the aminos acids. This usually means the price tag is slightly higher as well. Try to look for isolates and hydrolyzed isolates that are cold processed. Extreme heat can cause the protein to degrade.
Whey Blend– A whey blend usually comprised of whey concentrate, isolate, and hydrolyzed isolate or why peptides. Any whey protein, whether a blend or one of the above mentioned by itself do not mix up very thick on their own (will not be the consistency of a milkshake) and digest rather quick.
Whey is generally the go to protein to take before/after your workouts based on the high BCAA content and how fast it digests. It is also a good addition to add to meals or smoothies to increase the protein intake.
Casein– Casein is a milk based protein also, but digests much slower. This mixes up much thicker, giving you a milkshake consistency when blended with ice. Casein makes a much better choice for a meal replacement because it takes 4-6 hours for the protein to be completely digested, sustaining you for much longer than whey will by itself.
Egg Albumin– Egg protein is not as common as the rest. Usually only the white is used to keep the fat as low as possible. Egg protein mixes up slightly thicker than whey, and takes longer to digest as well. Egg protein, when no other proteins are added, has a subtle undertone that is slightly bitter. Egg is preferred sometimes either to avoid dairy, or mixing it with another protein source to have multiple rates of digestion.
Milk Protein- Milk protein does not go through the process of separating the whey, so there is usually an 80% casein to 20% whey ratio. This is a slower digesting protein, and tends to hold on to a little more lactose. This may possibly lead to a little more stomach distress than you are used to.
Beef Protein- In theory, based on the amino acids beef protein naturally has, beef protein would logically seem to be almost perfect since it contains virtually no fat. Unfortunately that is not the case. Most beef protein is made from very low quality scraps of meat, along with tendons and other ‘parts’. Then, extra aminos are added to make it a ‘complete’ protein. When you think of the price alone, that should make you raise an eyebrow based on much lean cuts of beef are versus what you are paying for the tub of powder.
Collagen protein– Collagen protein is not the best for muscle building and recovery, but still has plenty of benefits. Collagen protein is quite low in branched chain amino acids, but much higher in glycine, proline, hydroxyproline and arginine. These help our hair, skin, nails, and connective tissues. This could be beneficial for those looking to reduce wrinkles, improve the quality of their hair and nails, as well as those looking to recover from surgery or an injury.
Blended Protein- There are many companies that offer blended protein, that are most often a blend of whey proteins/casein/milk protein, although there are some higher quality one that will also contain egg, plant, and other animal sources. This is done to have as complete of a spectrum of amino acids as possible, and each type of protein has a different digestion rate, so you have fast, medium, and slow digesting proteins to continually feed your body between meals. Often there will be healthy fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals added so nutritionally it is very close to a real meal.
Plant– Plant based proteins are usually derived from multiple sources, including (but not limited to) Pea, Brown Rice, Artichoke, and Pumpkin seed. Plant based protein are perfect for vegans and vegetarians. This is also a good choice if you are sensitive to dairy and a whey isolate still is not tolerated well. Plant proteins mix up on the thicker side similar to a casein, and will always have a slight ‘earthiness’ to it. One downside with plant based proteins is that they are naturally lower in BCAA’s.
There are a few other things that you will want to pay attention to when you are picking out a protein.
Amino spiking is a dirty trick some companies pull to make it appear as though there is more protein than there actually is. They will add larger amount of the amino acids glycine and taurine sometimes along with –arginine and glutamine. This is not god for 2 reasons. It cuts down on the amount of the actual whey protein you want, and the above aminos are non-essential amino acids. This means your body is able to produce them on its own. You don’t need any added in to your powder as it is, but now you are also not getting as much of the ESSENTIAL amino acids (body much get through diet, unable to produce on its own), most notably the BCAAS (branched chain amino acids) which are what stimulate muscle growth and recovery. You can see this when you look at the ingredient label if there is an amino acid blend containing glycine, taurine, arginine and glutamine. None of the protein supplements that we carry at 95 Nutrition are amino spiked.
Proprietary blends. It is not required in supplements to list the full amount of each ingredient when it is labeled as a ‘proprietary blend’. This is troublesome because sometimes there is not a way to know exactly how much of which ingredient you are ingesting. However, companies are required to list them in order highest amount to lowest amount. This can usually give you a pretty good idea of what the amounts are. Use this to your advantage. If a protein boasts a great 6 or 8 phase protein blend, is on the expensive side, and protein concentrate is the first protein that is listed, that would be a blend to move past because they are using the most of the cheapest form of protein.
High temperature versus low temperature processing. When possible, opt for a protein that is low/cold temperature processed. Extreme heat can denature protein, meaning you are getting less quality protein and amino acids. Cold temperature processing retains the integrity of the protein much better, ensuring you are indeed getting all the protein you are paying for.
In terms of taste, besides personal preference of actual flavors, there really are not bad tasting protein powders anymore. Long gone are the days of plain protein powders that mix and taste like chalk. There are definitely some that are better than other, but flavor technology has come such a long way, especially in the last few years. You are not limited to chocolate and vanilla, there are flavors like PB&J, Ice Cream Sandwich, LoopDFruit (like Fruit Loops), Red Velvet, Sherbert, German Chocolate Cake, and even more. They are all amazing, and yes, you can get them all at 95 Nutrition.
Depending on your goal and how you intend to use it, there are certain proteins that are better for different things as you see. Stop in to your local 95 Nutrition today and lets us help you figure out what the best fit for you will be.