What is the best protein powder? Many people today add a protein powder supplement to their diet. With so many different types on the market how does anyone choose the best protein powder for them? In addition to the hundreds of brands, different sources of protein are effective in different ways for different diet requirements. When deciding on a brand, you will need to first examine the ingredients. Look at what is included and the actual amount of protein and sugar in the powder per 100 grams. Let’s take a look at the most popular milk-based and plant-based protein powders and why they may work for your diet.
The most popular protein powder – whey
You will find whey in many of today’s protein powders. This is because it is very affordable and its wide range of amino acids allows it to be quickly absorbed into the body. (1) The one drawback is that it is a milk based product. This means that it contains lactose, making it a difficult choice for anyone who is lactose intolerant. The benefits of whey protein are two-fold. It has a high protein per serving ratio (as high as 90 percent) and is easily absorbed by the body. In addition, it is an excellent source of protein during and after intense workouts, increasing muscle mass and strength. The one major drawback is whey is used very quickly by the body. Because of this it will not sustain muscle repair or allow for maximum muscle growth.
The best night protein powder – casein
For anyone who is looking for the best protein powder to take at night before heading to bed, Casein is a great choice. Another milk based protein, like whey, its clotting properties has made it widely-used in cheese production. These same properties are what help casein slow its absorption in the body, making it an excellent slow protein builder that delivers 85% of the protein in each serving. The slow absorption rate aids in repairing muscles and is a good counterpart to the quick delivery of whey powders. However, casein powder can be more expensive then whey and because they both are milk derivatives, can be a problem for anyone who is lactose intolerant.
Plant-based soy protein powders
For anyone who is lactose intolerant, soy can be the best protein powder for their diet because it is plant based. Body builders love using soy protein because it is easily absorbed and digested by the body, making it a good choice for intense workout fuel. (2) However, it is not a good choice for anyone looking for a slow burning energy source. In addition, the presence of phytoestrogens can be a problem for many women. Recent studies have begun to suggest post-menopausal women should avoid excess phytoestrogens because of their ability to become mutagenic in the body under certain conditions. Phytoestrogens can give protein the ability to transform cells from healthy to pre-cancerous in estrogen fat receptor cells, the fat stored around the middle and in the breasts.
Other plant based protein powders
If you have milk or soy sensitivities or just want to avoid lactose or the phytoestrogen risk, there are other protein supplement alternatives. These can provide you with what you need and may be the best protein powder choices for you. Hempseed and flaxseed are both major protein sources and are plant-based. Spirulina, one of the world’s superfoods, is also considered an excellent source of protein. The major drawback with plant-based sources, besides the potential of an allergic reaction, is they do not deliver as high a percentage of protein per serving as the big three sources.
- Garlick, P. J. (2004).The Nature of Human Hazards Associated with Excessive Intake of Amino Acids. The Journal of Nutrition, 1633S-1639S.
- Lemon, P. W. (2000). Beyond the Zone: Protein Needs of Active Individuals. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 513S-521S