While protein is one of the most important parts of our diets, you may be confused as to all the different types of protein out there. There are advantages and disadvantages of every kind. I will try my best to keep everything as simplified as possible. Lets start with:
Whey Protein (Powder)
- What it is: A natural byproduct of the cheese-making process (from milk). Around 20% of the protein that is in milk is whey protein.
- The benefits: Fast absorption, low in fat/possibly fat free, increases protein synthesis, rich in branched-chain amino acids, lactose, minerals, and vitamins.
- The disadvantages: It can get expensive. The cheaper alternatives are usually filled with unhealthy ingredients and loaded with tons of sugar.
- My recommendation: Due to its fast absorption rate, this is the type of protein you want to have pre, during, or post-workout.
- What it is: 80% of milk protein.
- The benefits: Slow digesting, anti-catabolic
- The disadvantages: Not good for lactose intolerant people, sometimes high in sodium, allergies which can cause bloating, and since it is slow digesting it is not good to take pre, during, or post-workout when you are trying to get protein into your system as quick as possible.
- My recommendation: Do not take in casein when you are in need of a fast-acting protein. Take casein before bed and/or with your bigger meals in which you will have a longer period of time to digest them.
Milk Protein Isolates
- What it is: Everything non-protein is removed from the milk. This turns the powder into about 20% whey protein and 80% casesin. (which we will go over down below)
- The benefits: Has both fast and slow-acting proteins in the powder. (which makes absorption slower, thus taking longer to digest)
- The disadvantages: Absorption is slower than when just taking whey protein alone. (its only a disadvantage if you are looking for something as fast-acting as possible)
- My recommendation: This type is good for someone looking for a slow-acting protein or those with lactose intolerance.
- What it is: Comes from eggs (obviously).
- The benefits: Cheap, great amino acid profile, highest quality protein source.
- The disadvantages: None. Well, gas and bloating from eating too many…
- My recommendation: Eat as many eggs as you can stomach!
- What it is: Comes from the soybean.
- The benefits: Has been known to reduce cholesterol and also prevent heart problems. Good for lactose intolerant people.
- The disadvantages: Lack of research. Some studies show it can possibly enhance the chance of cancer. Lower quality protein.
- My recommendation: Limit your intake on soy. It is least favorable amongst those trying to build muscle as the quality of soy protein is far below whey, casein, or egg.
- What it is: Extracted from rice.
- The benefits: Good for those people who have allergies to the other protein sources. Good for vegetarians, and it is easily digestible.
- The disadvantages: Not the best quality protein.
- My recommendation: Personally I would use this as a last resort but for those considering it (people with allergies, vegetarians, etc) it is a respectable source of protein.