Protein powders are popular among fitness enthusiasts and athletes. They can help you increase muscle mass, lose weight, and meet your protein needs. There are different types of protein powders, made from a variety of sources. Because of this, it can be difficult to determine which one will provide optimum results. In this post, you will discover the different types of protein powder supplements.
What Are Protein Powders?
Protein powders are concentrated sources of protein which can be either animal or plant-based. Some protein powders are fortified with vitamins and minerals, particularly calcium. Fitness buffs and athletes may find taking protein powder supplements can help them maximize muscle gain and fat loss. Protein powders can also be beneficial for people who are struggling to meet their protein requirements with food alone, such as older adults, vegans, and vegetarians.
Types of Protein Powder
1. Whey Protein
Whey protein powder is one of the most popular protein supplements on the market today. Whey is a byproduct of the cheese-making process. It digests quickly and is rich in branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). One of these BCAAs, leucine, promotes muscle growth and recovery after exercise. Aside from promoting lean muscle growth and fat loss, whey protein also supports cardiovascular health and healthy metabolism.
Whey protein powder comes in different flavors such as chocolate, strawberry, cookies and cream, mocha, and vanilla. While it is high in protein, whey contains lactose (milk sugar) which some people have difficulty digesting. So keep this in mind if you are lactose intolerant.
2. Casein Protein
Casein is produced using a process applied to liquid milk, concentrating or isolating the milk protein from carbohydrates and fats. Casein protein powder provides similar benefits to whey protein but digests over a longer period of time.
Just like whey, casein is a byproduct of milk, making it allergenic to some. The body craves for nutrients after exercise so it can replenish and rebuild itself. Because casein is absorbed more slowly, it is not ideal as a post-workout supplement. Furthermore, it may contain artificial ingredients to make it palatable.
3. Egg Protein
Egg protein comes from eggs. It’s a protein made by separating the yolks and dehydrating egg whites. Besides protein, egg protein powder also contains vitamins and minerals. Some people may be allergic to egg protein powder, especially young adults. It’s also one of the more expensive protein powder supplements.
4. Soy Protein
Soybeans are a source of plant protein that provides all of the essential amino acids. Soy protein is concentrated or isolated after the soybeans have been hulled and then dried into soy flour. Protein from soybeans may help promote bone health and improve immune function. It may also reduce the risk of certain cancers and help prevent cardiovascular disease.
However, there’s a possibility that soy may be genetically modified to produce higher crop yields. Consuming too much soy protein may also reduce testosterone and increase estrogen levels. This has led some people (especially in the bodybuilding community) to question whether taking this type of protein powder is a wise choice for men.
5. Rice Protein
Yes, there is protein in rice. Although often thought of as a source of carbohydrates only, brown rice is enjoying increased popularity as a vegetarian protein powder. Rice protein is a good option for vegans and people with dairy allergies.
Aside from protein, brown rice is also a good source of vitamin B and fiber. It’s also hypoallergenic and easily digestible. But unlike soy, rice protein is deficient in some amino acids. Hence, it’s not advisable to make it your main source of dietary protein.
6. Pea Protein
Another popular choice for vegans and vegetarians, pea protein comes from the yellow split pea. Like other plant-based proteins, pea protein is hypoallergenic. With few additives or artificial ingredients, it appeals to people looking for more natural protein sources.
Isolated pea protein is considered complete because it contains essential amino acids. However, it is deficient in certain amino acids, so good protein powder formulations contain additional amino acids added.
Final Thoughts on the Different Types of Protein Powder
If you’re a healthy individual and getting sufficient protein from your diet, protein powder supplements are not absolutely necessary. However, it’s very difficult these days to get enough nutrients from diet alone. And fitness enthusiasts, athletes, bodybuilders, vegetarians and vegans generally need supplemental dietary protein. Just make sure you read the product labels and stick to the recommended dosage when using protein supplements. If you have any questions, consult your doctor.
Compared to their animal-based counterparts, plant-based proteins are hypoallergenic. They don’t contain lactose so they are ideal for people who are lactose intolerant. We recommend plant-based protein supplements for optimal health, along with a vegan diet.