Have you ever walked down the health food aisle or walked into a supplement store to look for protein and are just bombarded with all the different brands, flavors, and types? Whey, vegan, plant-based, animal…in today’s world there are so many options that it can be overwhelming. Are some protein powders healthier than others? How can I be sure the quality I’m getting is what they actually claim on the label? We want our customers to be happy with the products they choose, so in this article I am going to shed some light on some of the differences between protein and which one is right for you!
So what are the differences between protein?
One of the biggest differences is simply how fast it digests in our body.
READ MORE: The Importance of Post-Workout Nutrition
Whey is a very fast digesting protein that contains a wide range of essential amino acids which are readily absorbed by our body.
Whey is more than just protein, it also contains other nutrients than can have biological effects.
Whey (20%) is derived from milk, along with casein (80%).
Not all Wheys are created equal.
When it comes to Whey, it’s important to read the ingredients label as some may contain additives and refined sugars.
Taking Whey Protein is a convenient way to increase your daily intake, saving you time and money rather than fixing a meal that’s high in protein.
Whey can be very important for fitness enthusiasts as people who work out need an increased amount of protein, as well as people who need to lose weight, or are lacking protein in their diet.
Quality Whey tastes delicious on it’s own but can also be thrown into your favorite shakes or even used in different baking recipes
Whey is generally well tolerated, however people with lactose intolerance might want to stay away as it can cause some discomfort, as well as people who are allergic (obviously).
Whey is also loaded with essential amino acids which your body doesn’t produce on its own and are the building blocks of proteins, which are the building blocks of muscle.
When looking for a Whey Protein, as I mentioned before make sure to read the ingredient label and look for additives, fillers, and unnecessary sweeteners.
Both Whey and Casein are byproducts of cheese production, but although they’re both derived from milk, they’re much different.
Whereas Whey is very fast-digesting making it great for post-workout, Casein is somewhat the opposite.
Casein is a slow-digesting protein which makes it a great option before bedtime.
Casein also contains several bioactive peptides that help boost your immune and digestive systems.
These peptides also bind to carry minerals such as calcium and phosphorus, improving their digestibility in your stomach.
Casein Protein is generally more expensive than Whey.
Whey typically mixes up easier than Casein and tends to have a better consistency and taste as well.
Although they’re both derived from milk when choosing between Whey and Casein, consider taste, consistency, and cost.
Whey and Casein both have unique properties and contain bioactive compounds that help boost the immune system and other benefits.
Whey and Casein also vary in digestibility so when trying to choose one or the other, this is something else to consider.
Plant-Based Protein has gained a lot of popularity lately.
There are several plant foods that contain the 9 essential amino acids that we get through our diet including quinoa, buckwheat, hemp and soy.
Plant Proteins may be beneficial for weight loss as they generally have fewer calories and fat than animal proteins, but higher in fiber and essential nutrients.
You may have to consume a variety of Plant Proteins to ensure you are getting all of the essential amino acids but it’s also one of the best ways to get all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you need.
People that consume more plant based nutrients actually had reduced risks of chronic health and diseases including:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 Diabetes
These nutrients have also shown to be more appropriate for athletes, children, seniors, and even women who are pregnant.
When it comes to the sources of protein, there are many different ingredients that you may have seen on different products.
Some notable sources include:
- Sacha Inchi
- Sunflower Seed
- Pumpkin seed
- Brown rice
Plant products have been leading the charge in the chase to be more health conscious while searching for the best dietary needs.
Consider switching to plant-based powders if you’re looking to increase your nutrient intake or if whey/animal proteins cause any discomfort.
Which Protein is Right For You?
When choosing a protein powder it’s important to have an idea of your goals.
If you’re looking for one that is going to help the most with building muscle, I suggest choosing a fast digesting Whey Isolate Protein. This type will rapidly breakdown inside your body and help spark that muscle repair process.
If you’re looking to boost protein and nutrient intake, consider going with a Plant-Based Protein, but keep in mind these often don’t taste as good as animal proteins do, so if flavor is a big deal to you this may not be the best choice.
Casein Protein will help increase consumption and provide you with a slow release protein influx throughout a longer period of time. Consider Casein if you’re looking for a nice bedtime shake that will help keep you in an anabolic state (building muscle, burning fat).
All in all, protein powder is going to be a convenient and cost effective way to increase your overall intake, provide your body with essential amino acids, and keep you on track with your goals.
Ever since I first started working out to get stronger for sports, I developed a passion for fitness and nutrition. Once I got to college I started studying exercise science and began to really understand how the mind and body work together synergistically. Once I gained more knowledge I began to help my friends and family with everything fitness related, but had a true passion for nutrition. Nothing makes me happier than helping people reach their goals. Seeing someone’s true happiness when start to lose weight they never thought possible, is an indescribable feeling. Now, I manage 20Twenty Nutrition in Ames, Iowa and get to do what I love every day, and that’s help people.