Protein or the lack thereof plays a vital role in your body composition, strength and performance. Being an essential macronutrient, protein is the building block responsible for muscle growth, repair and maintenance.
Not all protein powders are created equal. So how will you be able to know which one is best for you? Read on and find out if whey protein powder is right for you.
The Three Protein Classifications
Your muscle mass (minus all the water) is composed of around 80 per cent protein. In other words, protein holds responsibility for the structure and action of your muscles.
For many athletes and bodybuilders, protein supplements are a must-have.
But before you go shopping for a protein powder, please do take note that proteins can be classified into three:
- Protein Concentrates: Concentration yields depend on the degree of “non-protein” parts removed during protein concentration into powder form. For instance, roughly 70 to 80 per cent of protein is contained in protein concentrates, meaning that the 20 to 30 per cent left are carbohydrates, water, fats and minerals.
- Protein Isolates: These contain 90 per cent protein maximum with less non-protein nutrient content. In other words, more non-protein parts were removed. For example, whey protein isolate contains roughly 86 per cent of protein.
- Protein Hydrolysates: Also called hydrolysed protein, hydrolysates contain partially digested proteins like peptides and polypeptides that provide amino acid building blocks.
Your Protein Options
Each protein type offers unique benefits.
3. Whey Protein
By far, whey remains the most popular supplement due to its ability to stimulate fat loss and muscle growth. Compared to other proteins, whey has also been proven to be easier to digest and absorb. In a nutshell, consuming it immediately before a workout or right after is ideal either way. It also has a potent thermogenic property, which means that it has a high capacity to burn the calories you consume and build up muscle.
2. Casein Protein
Mainly found in milk, this protein is slower-digesting compared to whey. Generally, casein takes six hours or longer before digested and absorbed fully into the body, thus making it ideal for steady delivery of amino acid to muscle. Owing to its being digested more slowly, the recommended intake of casein is between meals or before bedtime. You can consume it as a standalone or blended with other proteins.
3. Milk Protein
Complete with all essential amino acids, milk protein can aid muscle growth quickly and sustainably. You will find that most protein blends, ready-to-drinks and bars contain milk protein concentrates and isolates.
4. Egg Protein
If you are a person who is lactose intolerant (allergic to dairy and derived products), egg protein is your option. Usually, it is egg white protein isolate that graces the label of most protein powders. Egg protein is also complete with all essential amino acids crucial for protein synthesis and is also easy to digest.
5. Pea Protein
Although not as popular as other proteins, this plant-based protein is a welcome alternative for vegetarians, vegans, as well as those allergic or intolerant to eggs and dairy. It is also hypoallergenic and easy to digest.
Whatever protein powder you finally decide on taking, whether it is pea protein or whey protein powder, it is important to read the label first and do your research before buying. Best if you avoid supplements with too many ingredients and fillers or sugars. As a last note, seek your doctor’s advice if you are under any medication or treatment.