A Guide to Protein Powders: Which One is Right for You?
Protein powder is a must in your supplement arsenal, especially if your everyday life includes lots of physical activities.
People use them for a variety of reasons, such as to build and repair muscle, improve athletic performance, maintain metabolism and lose weight, or simply increase protein intake for general health and wellness.
However, with so many different types of protein powders in the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one. So how do you know which one is best for you? Let's look at the most common types of protein powders and their benefits.
Why Do We Need Protein?
Think of it as your secret weapon for a strong, healthy, and happy body! It gives strength to your muscles to lift heavy weights, density to your bones, and elasticity to your skin to be lean and look youthful. It helps your immune system to stay in tip-top shape, so you can fight off any germs that come your way. Without protein, we would be weak, fragile, and vulnerable to free radicals.
What is Protein Powder?
In a nutshell, protein powder is a type of dietary supplement sourced from protein-rich ingredients such as plants (rice, soybeans, hemp, etc.), eggs, and dairy (casein and whey protein) and later condensed into a dry, finely powdered form.
Protein is the key macronutrient and building block of bones, cartilage, muscle, and skin. It also takes longer time to digest than carbohydrates, helping us to stay full and satisfied much longer. That is why it's important to get good-quality protein powder.
But before relying solely on supplements alone, it is always recommended to get your nutrients from natural food sources like nuts, seeds, meat, seafood, beans, and soy products like tofu. Add protein powder to your diet only for those juicy extra benefits, especially if you have difficulty getting enough protein through foods alone.
Types of Protein Powders
Whey protein is by far the most popular and widely used type of protein. It comes from milk, digests and absorbs quickly, and is rich in best-quality amino acids (BCAAs) that are essential to our bodies. Whey protein has been shown to promote muscle growth and weight loss and since it's digested and absorbed faster than other proteins, it's the ideal choice for pre and post-workout recovery.
Two main types of whey protein are whey isolate and whey concentrate, each having its own unique abilities. How do they differ? With protein content and processing methods.
Whey isolate is a purer form of whey protein, that undergoes more processing, resulting in higher protein content with less lactose, carbs, and fat, making it easier to digest. On the other hand, whey concentrate is less processed, meaning it retains more of the natural whey components, such as lactoglobulin, lactalbumin, and immunoglobulins, and contains more lactose, carbs, and fat.
However, the BCAAs in both whey protein types are virtually identical, since they are derived from the same proteins, making both a great choice for people looking to boost their protein intake. And if you're someone who is lactose intolerant, whey isolate will be your go-to.
Like whey, casein is a protein made from dairy. However, it's digested and absorbed much slower, which makes this protein great for sustained amino acid delivery to your muscles rather than as a building effect. It's still a valuable source of BCAAs and glutamine, which helps to reduce muscle protein breakdown, making it a more beneficial option for those looking to achieve net gains in muscle protein.
Because of its slow-digesting properties, casein protein is often recommended before bed or between meals, either by itself or in blends with other proteins. Our dynamic protein blend of CASEIN & WHEY works throughout the workout and during the recovery phase at night.
Collagen is a compound found in our skin and in connective tissues that make up our tendons, ligaments, muscles, and more. It's the most abundant protein in the body, however, over time, aging breaks down the collagen in our body, making it highly difficult to produce more.
Collagen protein powder is typically made from animal-based sources such as bones, skin, and connective tissue and is often hydrolyzed to make it easier for the body to absorb. This protein can help provide structure to our skin and strengthen our bones as well as help with joint pain, hair and nail growth, gut health, and repair muscle tissue.
By improving skin elasticity and reducing wrinkles, cellulite, and other fine lines, our ULTRA Women's Beauty Collagen will help you shine. For healthy and strong joints and bones, we recommend our ABSOLUTE JOINT combination of collagen, hyaluronic acid, essential vitamins and minerals, and other important ingredients.
If you're vegan, a plant-based protein will be your best friend. Not only do they provide enough amounts of fiber and lower levels of fat compared to animal-based proteins, but they also promote muscle growth and support overall health.
Pea, rice, oat, hemp, and soy proteins are the most common options that come in the form of a single plant-based protein or a blend of different plant proteins to provide a range of amino acids. While blends are considered complete proteins, it's important to remember that consuming a variety of whole foods throughout the day will ensure that you obtain all the essential amino acids your body needs, regardless of whether you choose a single plant-based protein or a blend.
Pea protein has the highest protein content, is easy to digest, and is a great source of potassium and iron. It supports muscle and bone health, heart health, and normal blood clotting.
Rice protein is the best-tasting plant protein and is easily absorbed. It supports muscle growth and helps to maintain lean muscle mass.
Oat protein provides sustained fullness and has BCAAs and other essential amino acids. It helps with weight management, muscle maintenance, and recovery.
Soy protein has a mild and slightly beanie taste, making it a great option to add to smoothies, salads, or baked goods. It helps to build and repair muscles and maintain a healthy immune system.
Our VEGAN PROTEIN is a mix of the best! It has pea, rice, and oat proteins that will support your daily diet and health. All three ingredients are 100% vegan, hypoallergenic and complete protein matrix.
Are Protein Powders Safe and How to Use Them
High-quality protein powders with minimal sugar and void of harmful additives are safe to use. All our products are designed by a team of professionals with knowledge of high-performing ingredients and natural product formulas that are safe to use, with effective results.
The good thing about protein powders is that they are versatile and can be mixed with liquids or added to food, whether it's your morning smoothie, overnight oats, energy bars, or chia pudding. Try to blend them into soups, hummus, plant burger patties, and pizza crusts. Whatever works for you – the options are endless.
But keep in mind that the goal isn't to add protein to everything you eat. Rather, use it to meet and not exceed your daily protein needs. And we highly recommend combining it with an exercise routine for ultimate benefits.
Whether you're trying to lose weight, build muscle, or simply maintain overall health – protein powder may be your long-awaited friend. Nevertheless, please consult a registered dietitian to see whether you need to add protein powder to your diet or not, and how much you should consume it based on your age, gender, activity levels, muscle mass, and overall health status.