You may have heard the terms whey and protein powder being thrown about in the gym. The usual suspects would be your health aficionado friends, a modern demographic that is overly concerned with the calories they burn and the lifestyles they lead. However, protein powder is not just a trending topic that is relevant to a specific type of people. Our body runs on this most crucial of nutrients. Without protein, your cells cannot be repaired and new ones cannot be built. Protein is the building block for physical growth and well-being. Apart from athletes and vegetarians, others too can benefit from the properties of protein powder.
The Different Types of Protein Powder
If you are interested in adding a protein powder to your diet then a bit of research is always helpful. Remember, the best protein powders are derived from exclusive formulas and can cost a bit of money. The debate about which protein powders are more effective will like rage on as different users have different opinions, but all these products have proven benefits. So it is prudent that you know which one is ideal for you.
There are three forms of protein powder that you need to familiarize yourself with. Protein concentrates would have a protein content of 60 to 80 percent while the rest is carbs and fats. Protein isolates are products where there is an extra layer of filtering and you end up with 90 to 95 percent of protein. Protein hydrolysates are made with a special formula that ensures the amino acids get broken down and absorbed by the body quicker than other forms.
What is Whey Protein?
Whey protein is derived from milk, specifically from the cheese making process. Whey is the liquid that is formed when milk starts becoming curd. This high-protein liquid contains a large amount of lactose. Whey protein powders are isolates of the protein in the liquid. Important amino acids found in whey protein include BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids). One of these acids is leucine which has a large role in facilitating muscle growth and post-workout recovery. Whey protein gets digested very easily and is one of the preferred choices for health enthusiasts all over the world. Some consider whey protein more effective than soy or casein proteins.
The main feature of soy protein is that it is plant derived compared to the dairy-based whey protein. Soy protein hence is a top choice for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant. Some studies suggest that soy has a lesser cholesterol count than whey and it is equally good in building lean muscle.
Casein protein is known for its slow digestion property. When you consume a serving of casein protein, there is a steady and continuous release of amino acids into your system which can go on for hours. Casein protein can be consumed before you sleep as you then let the amino acids do their work while you sleep. Whey and casein proteins are a great combo for those who want to gain muscle fast. They both work at different speeds and times but ensure wholesome protein absorption.
Casein protein also helps increase your body’s metabolism which makes it ideal if you are trying to lose more fats. Casein in your diet has an additional benefit – it is good for your teeth.
Extra Ingredients are Important
When browsing through different protein powder products, always keep an eye on the ingredients. Apart from the source – dairy, plant or animal – there are certain additives that compliment the effects of the main ingredient. Some of the major plant sources for protein apart from soy include chia seeds, hemp and rice. Animal-based protein powders are usually derived from beef and other red meats. They also come in different flavourings, from chocolate to vanilla so you can enjoy the taste along with the overall benefits. Top brands include Legion, MuscleTech, Vega and MusclePharm amongst many others.
Some protein powders are also packed with creatine and glutamine. Creatine is important for building ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which is an energy source for your body. This nitrogenous compound helps in improving strength by increasing your muscle mass. Glutamine is an important amino acid which is good for brain health and digestion apart from being a catalyst for muscle growth.
There is a lot of ways you can enjoy your protein powder. You can enjoy them as shakes or throw them into a pancake recipe. Do check out this updated list of the highest-quality products to find the best protein powder formula for you.