Sometimes in life options are a good thing, and the same can be said for protein powder. But how do you know which one is best? Obviously, flavor is a key factor for many, including myself. After all, who wants to purchase a five-pound tub of something that tastes like chalk? Then there are factors like results or what a product is made of that can influence your decision making when choosing the best option to suit your needs.
While it’s true that we can get vitamins and minerals from the foods that we eat each day, for those of us that maintain an active lifestyle it’s good to weave more protein into our diet when/where we can. Protein is made of amino acids and is often referred to in the context of muscle repair. Thankfully for us in this modern age, protein powder is a simple solution for us to get what we need, which is greatly beneficial to those of us who are constantly on the go.
We’ve broken down a list of your most commonly used protein powder options so you can determine which one is best for you:
Made from protein-enriched soybeans, soy protein is a popular choice for those looking to avoid dairy in their protein powder. Soy protein is rich in nutrients and researchers suggest that it offers an adequate amount of protein despite its vegetarian state.
For those looking to avoid extra soy in their daily diet, other vegan options for protein powder include rice, hemp, pea, and mixed plant protein.
A quick breakdown on popular protein powder lingo, Isolate vs. Concentrate
Both chock-full of protein, isolate protein goes a step further by flushing out more of the non-protein particles, i.e. carbohydrates and fats, during the manufacturing process. Although the isolate form contains a higher level of protein, both forms are virtually identical in terms of amino acids.
The most commonly used protein powder on the market, whey protein is an ideal post-workout of many. This protein powder is easy on the digestive system and comprised of all the essential amino acids that your body needs to replenish itself after a good heavy lifting session. If consumed within two hours post-lift, this dairy-based protein powder option has been proven to increase muscle mass. Due to its dairy base, this is not a suitable option for vegans, paleo/keto followers, or those who are lactose intolerant.
This is a popular protein choice for many. Its base is made from dairy, as casein itself is the primary protein found in cow’s milk. But unlike the fast-acting properties of whey protein, casein protein works at a much slower rate due to its complex interaction with stomach acids.
“Casein is known as a time-release protein because it has a slower absorption rate in the gut, meaning it releases smaller amounts of amino acids over a longer period of time. It provides the necessary amino acids for repair and is especially effective for muscle growth. Because it releases amino acids slowly, many people take casein before bed.”
Again, this is not the best option for lactose intolerant, vegans, or keto/paleo followers.
It’s important to note that the source of the protein and how it’s purified during the manufacturing process can have a direct effect on how your body works to process it. Do your homework and try to stick to a minimally processed protein powder that’s devoid of unnecessary fillers.
Here are my favorite proteins to chose from: