There are so many protein powders on the market these days that it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. Have you ever wondered what’s the difference between all the different types, and most importantly, which one is right for you? Then here's what you need to know!
Are Protein Powders Essential?
Firstly, it’s important to remember that a protein powder is by no means essential - It’s simply a convenient way to increase your overall protein intake
Some people see protein powder as a magical cure-all supplement that will instantly equal gains!
Then there are people who are afraid to take a protein supplement for fear that they’ll become big and bulky!
Luckily, neither are right! A protein powder is simply there to supplement your diet in a convenient and affordable way. And protein powder won't make you bulky, in the same way eating fish won't make you bulky - They're both made up of amino acids!
Are Protein Powders Natural?
Some people argue that protein powders are unnatural and could be harmful for your health. Contrary to what some people believe, protein powders are food supplements and come from food. For example, whey protein is made as a by-product of cheese production. So when cheese is being made, enzymes are added to milk to separate it into curds and liquid whey. The curds go on to become cheese and the liquid whey goes on to a drying stage and finally becomes whey protein powder. It is natural. It’s simply another type of dairy product. Like chicken, beef and eggs, it also contains all the essential amino acids and also contains essential nutrients such as calcium and phosphorous needed for strong bones
What Are The Different Forms?
The two main available forms of dairy-proteins are whey and casein (We will cover plant-based proteins next time!)
Whey is a fast-digesting protein, making it ideal for post-workout to allow muscle protein synthesis (MPS) and recovery to take place quickly.
There are three forms of whey
All forms are high in leucine and the other essential amino acids. The main difference is their processing, absorption and macronutrient composition.
Whey Concentrate is the most basic form of whey protein and contains some carbohydrate, mainly in the form of lactose, and fat
Whey isolate (another form of this is Clear Whey) has been further processed to remove any excess fat or carbohydrate. This makes whey isolate very low in lactose, meaning it is well tolerated by those who are lactose intolerant and cannot tolerate whey concentrate
Hydrolysed Whey is processed to be ‘pre-digested’ meaning it is digested and absorbed more rapidly. However, it is usually significantly more expensive than whey concentrate or isolate, and isn’t worth the price tag as it doesn’t appear to give any significant benefit. If you are lactose intolerant or want a protein powder lower in fat, carbohydrate or sugar, then whey isolate could be a good option for you!
Casein on the other hand is a slow digesting protein, which makes it potentially subpar for post-workout recovery. Pre-sleep casein protein ingestion has been associated with a number of benefits including increased MPS, increased muscle hypertrophy and reduced muscle breakdown. Casein can also be helpful for people who have a bigger appetite or who are dieting. As it is slow-digesting, it stays in your digestive tract for longer, giving you a feeling of staying fuller. Casein is a thicker protein and works well in baking, compared to whey which can give baking a dry texture!
With protein powders, it's always good to look for a reputable brand that uses good quality ingredients. We use Fem Fuelz and recommend it to all of our clients. Their quality products are second to none and their flavours are 10/10 - Especially the Cookies and Cream Whey!
Use the code THEFITCLINIC10 to get 10% off The Femfuelz range here