Are you constrained when eating protein from food sources? Protein supplements are a great alternative, but you should always stick to natural. Here’s your guide to the different types of protein supplements.
Stop us if this sounds familiar: you’re a health nut. You’re an encyclopedia of workouts and you’ve been learning nutrition like you’re studying for a degree. You could name healthy snacks in your sleep.
But now, you’re wondering about the various types of protein on the market–and whether you need a protein powder to round out your diet.
Here, we’re covering the down and dirty basics of protein, from how much protein you need to the common types of protein and a few terms you’ll encounter on this journey.
How Much Protein Do You Need?
Before you start stockpiling protein supplements, it helps to know how much protein you should be consuming in a day.
The truth is, it varies.
For example, how much protein you should consume in a day can vary based on whether you’re male or female, your age, your weight, your activity level, and whether you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
In general, adult men are looking at a ballpark of 56 grams of protein a day, while adult women need somewhere around 46 grams.
That said, it helps to calculate exactly what your body needs so you don’t over- or under-do it. Here’s a calculator that can help.
Types of Protein
There are a variety of proteins and supplements you can choose from–there’s even pea protein powder for the vegans!
That said, among the different types of protein, there are a few common ones you’re likely to encounter. Most protein powders are based in one of two milk proteins: whey and casein.
And while there are more plant-based options coming on the market every day, the most common plant-based protein powder you can find in a store will probably be soy.
The most common culprit of all the protein powders is whey. There’s a reason for that–whey comes packed with a lot more than just protein.
In fact, it’s full of amino acids.
Coincidentally, it’s also one of the most researched supplements on the market.
Whey is a milk protein, the liquid part of milk that separates from curds during the production of cheese.
While whey is popular as a protein, most milk protein is actually casein. This is good news for those who want to use casein for their protein intake because casein actually digests slower than whey for a longer energy boost.
There are two main forms of casein:
- Micellar casein, which digests slowly
- Casein hydrolysate, which digests quickly
Like whey and other animal-based proteins, casein is what we call a complete protein source, which means it contains all the key amino acids needed for your body to repair itself.
How about casein protein after your workout?
For our friends who are veggie-based, your easiest plant option is soy protein.
Like tofu, soy protein is derived from the soybean plant and is the only plant-based protein to be considered a high-quality protein, as it contains essential amino acids.
Protein Concentrate vs Isolate
Before you walk to the store and buy yourself some protein supplements, you should know the difference between protein concentrate and protein isolate.
Protein concentrate is when protein is derived from various sources and “concentrated” by removing all the non-protein parts. This gives you a powder that’s mostly protein with some leftover carbs and fats.
Protein isolate takes it one step further and gives you a powder that’s around 95% protein.
Keep in mind, though, that the extra amino acids and fats in various proteins have their own benefits, so highly concentrated protein may not be what you’re after.
Make Your Life a Little More Natural
If you like your life the same way you like your protein (au naturel) then you’ve come to the right place.
We offer a variety of products to help you live a healthy, chemical-free lifestyle. Click here to take a look at our marketplace.