Of the three macronutrients – fats, carbohydrates and proteins – it is protein that is the most beneficial for both muscular weight gain and fat loss. Protein is made up of amino acids, the building blocks of your body. Taking a protein supplement in the form of a shake is an effective way to ensure that you are getting your daily quota of protein. In this article we investigate the six best types of protein to help balance out your body composition and promote good health.
Whey is by far the most popular form of protein powder. It is extensively used by bodybuilders in order to promote muscular weight gain. Whey comes from cow’s milk, being the liquid component that separates from the curd in the cheese making process.
Whey protein is popular due to its high protein content and high level of bioavailability. It is also quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, making it popular as a post workout supplement. Whey is also high in branch chain amino acids, which are essential to building muscle. However, whey also contains lactose, which is a milk sugar that many people are intolerant to.
Whey protein has also been shown to be an effective appetite suppressant.
Mixed Plant Protein
Mixed Plant Protein powder is derived from a range of plant sources. The majority of plant sources of protein do not contain all nine of the essential amino acids. Combining two or more plant sources into one plant protein product, ensures that you get all of the essential amino acids.
The most popular plant based proteins that are used in mixed plant protein powders are brown rice, quinoa, pea, hemp, flax seeds and chia seeds. An advantage that plant based proteins have over animal sources is that they contain high levels of fiber. This provides many digestive health benefits. The fiber content also slows down the absorption of the protein. For this reason, some bodybuilders avoid mixed plant protein as a post workout supplement. You can also take this supplement to boost your immunity.
You can enhance the digestion of plant protein by buying a product which has enzymes added to it.
Pea protein is one of the most popular protein powders used by vegetarians. It is also used by people who have an intolerance to the lactose which is contained in whey protein. Pea protein is created from the yellow split pea. This is a high fiber protein source that contains all but one of the essential aminos. The research on pea protein is limited but it shows promise regarding its ability to promote muscle growth and suppress the appetite.
Casein is another protein powder which is sourced from cow’s milk. This version is derived from the curds that are part of the cheese making process. Casein is a much slower absorbing form of protein than whey. That’s because the casein forms a thick consistency in your gut. This means that it takes longer for the amino acids in the casein to be transported to the muscle cells.
Casein is not a popular post workout protein powder due to its slow rate of absorption. However, it is commonly used as a nighttime protein source. The slow rate of absorption is a benefit at nightime, as it allows for a constant dissemination of amino acids into the bloodstream through the course of the night. It is while you are sleeping that most of your muscle cell’s repair and rebuilding takes place.
The humble egg is generally acknowledged as the best form of protein that exists. It has the highest bioavailability and with, 6 grams of protein in a medium sized egg, represents one of the most cost effective protein sources. The egg is also very low in carbohydrates and contains healthy fats.
The protein powders that are created from eggs are made from egg whites and not the yolks. This will not affect the quantity or quality of the protein but it will lessen the healthy fat content. One result of this is that egg protein does not fill you up as much as eating whole eggs does.
Unlike most plant sources of protein, egg protein does provide you with all of the essential amino acids.
Brown Rice Protein
Brown rice is a form of plant based protein that does include all of the essential amino acids. However, one of them, lysine, is too low for brown rice protein to be considered a complete protein. The taste of brown rice protein is also not very pleasant to many people. As a result of these factors, it is not a very popular protein powder option.
Which is Best?
The best type of protein powder really depends on what your goals are. If you are a person who can tolerate lactose and wants to build muscle, then whey is the way to go. For vegetarians, we recommend a mixed plant based protein.