If you’re into strength training, bodybuilding, or fitness in general, you probably know how important protein is. Now, protein can be sourced directly from your food and that’s usually good enough. However, thanks to our tight schedules and the inability to monitor our diets each time we eat, we are forced to look for alternative solutions.
That’s where protein powders come in. They help you meet your daily protein requirements, which may not be possible via your daily meals.
But, how do you know which protein powder is ideal for you? There are simply way too many options and that can be really confusing for the average person. Well, you don’t have to scratch your head anymore because this blog’s going to help you out.
So, let’s begin.
The Categories of Protein
The first thing you should know is that there are mainly three categories of protein powders.
First, you have “Concentrates”. Concentrates, as the name indicates, are highly concentrated protein powders. Typically, they can contain around 80% protein. The remaining components include fats, water, minerals, and carbs.
“Isolates” come next. These protein powders have more protein than concentrates and very few non-protein components. Typically, isolates will boast up to 90% protein. So, in a whey protein isolate, you’re likely to find around 90% protein, while the remaining 10% would be divided between carbs, moisture, and fats.
Finally, we have “Hydrolysates”, which contain partially digested proteins, such as peptides and polypeptides. These “partially digested” proteins offer a ton of benefits. For instance, peptides provide amino acids, which are the building blocks of life.
Types of Protein
The confusion starts here because, when it comes to types of proteins, there are quite a few. Let’s start with whey protein.
Whey protein is probably the most popular option due to the fact that it promotes muscle growth and ramps up your metabolism. It is also easier to digest and process compared to other options. Needless to say, this makes it perfect for pre and post-workout consumption.
Whey accounts for about 20% of the protein found in cow’s milk and contains the highest BCAA (Branched Chain Amino Acid) content. This includes 9% isoleucine + valine and 11% leucine, which results in a ratio of 2:1:1.
Next, we have “Casein Protein”, which is the primary protein in milk. Now, casein does not get processed as fast as whey. However, this is good news if you’re looking for sustained amino acid delivery.
Other than that, casein also serves as good source of glutamine and BCAAs. Glutamine is responsible for reducing muscle-protein breakdown. The net gain in muscle protein depends on the ratio of muscle protein synthesis and muscle protein breakdown.
Now, casein is often prescribed for consumption between meals because it doesn’t get processed quickly. This helps with satiety and prevents excessive calorie consumption.
Then, we have Milk Protein, which offers all the essential amino acids in an 80:20 casein to whey ration. The best part is that you get it all in natural form. Plus, the amino acid delivery is fast and sustained
Finally, you have egg protein and pea protein. The former servers as a great alternative to milk protein, while the latter is ideal for vegetarians and vegans. Pea protein offers a high amount of BCAAs and is know for a 98% digestion rate.
So, Which Protein Do You Choose?
Well, according to medical experts like Steve Hertzler, Ph.D., the average health person can eat pretty much any kind of protein. The only thing they need to focus on is how much protein they should be consuming.
A general rule of thumb is to make protein account for 30% of your overall calorie consumption. Of course, factors like weight, height, and intensity of physical activity do play a role. In that case, it is better to calculate on a “gram per pound” basis. For example, a 190-pound athlete will need around 3000 calories a day. Around 1000 calories of this person’s diet should be made up of protein. In grams, this might come up to 190-200 grams of protein per day.Check out Sportfuel's wide range of Protein Powders today!