In the world of fitness, protein supplements are without a doubt one of the most commonly used supplements out there.
But are those big tubs of powder really worth it and can they help you pave your way to an aesthetic, functional physique?
In this article, we’ll give you our take on the matter and discuss the different types of protein and their benefits.
Without further ado, let’s see if there’s a faster whey to gains!
What Is Protein, Even?
Besides being a powdered supplement, protein is the building block of our bodies and is in fact, the most essential macronutrient.
The word itself comes from the Greek “protos” meaning primary/first, so that can tell you just how important protein is!
Proteins are made of of amino acids. These are linked together to form a protein. When we consume protein, the body breaks up the links to absorb the amino acids.
Protein functions are:
- Protective function
- Catalytic function (In order for certain processes in the body to occur, certain proteins called enzymes need to be present)
- Structural (Proteins make up the structure of the body and most of its tissues)
- Regulative function (Proteins regulate a variety of mechanisms and systems in the body, such as the hormonal system)
Because protein is that important for the body, we need to make sure that we are deriving enough of it from quality sources.
That is, 0.6-1g of protein per lb. of bodyweight, depending on your body composition and activity levels (i.e someone with more muscle mass that trains more would be on the higher end of the 0.6-1g range)
Protein powder is a high-protein dietary supplement. It is used to make high protein intake easier or to provide the body with quick, vital protein in times of need or when food intake is not possible.
Some protein supplements contain only one protein source, whereas others contain several.
Animal and plant products are sources for protein supplements.
Without a doubt, animal protein used in supplements is the most popular form of protein powders.
In the past decade however, plant-based protein supplements have also gained traction, due to the increased interest in plant-based diets, among the fitness population.
Types Of Protein Supplements
As we just mentioned, there are a wide variety of ways and sources used to produce protein supplements, so let’s have a look at the most popular ones!
Whey protein is by far the most popular protein supplement available.
It is quickly absorbed by the body and that makes it very popular. It takes only 60 minutes to do so.
Protein intake is most important in the morning, just after waking up, and immediately after an exercise.
When it comes to whey protein, we have a few options.
- Whey concentrate
This type of protein is derived through filtration. The proteins are separated from all other contents of the product used for making it.
Whey concentrate contains some fat and lactose, which in many people can lead to stomach discomfort due to lactose intolerance.
Nevertheless, up to 85% of the content in whey concentrate supplements is protein, meaning that it is a good option, especially if you are on a budget.
- Whey Isolate
This second variation of whey protein is the isolated version, which, as you can guess by the name, undergoes more processing.
Processing makes a bigger part of the protein isolated. The end product will have less fats and lactose.
This is without a doubt one of the mid-budget options for every trainee.
- Hydrolyzed Whey Protein
The third type of whey protein is the bugatti of all proteins. It is the most expensive protein supplement, due to it having the highest protein content.
A process called “hydrolysis” creates this protein. This breaks down the protein molecules to a certain extent and improves their absorption.
Actually, hydrolyzed protein is good at providing amino acids. Because of this, it is added in intra-workout formulas. These formulas support the musculature with a quick amino acid flow.
This is another dairy-derived protein supplement. It has a place in a supplement regimen.
Although the amino acid composition of this form of protein is beneficial, absorption is substantially slower (6-8 hours).
Casein has a significant anti catabolic effect. It’s for consumption when fast protein isn’t required right away.
The amino acid flow is weaker but longer during casein digestion, making it an essential component of our pre-sleep meal, resulting in a powerful anti catabolic impact and improved sleep recovery.
This supplement is the subject of debate. Some research states soy impacts testosterone levels in males, according to some studies.
We won’t go into detail because this is still a topic due for study and research for a concrete conclusion.
The amino acid patterns of plant and animal proteins come closest to animal-source protein in every scenario.
Soy protein is easily absorbed. It can be an excellent supplement to your diet, particularly if you are a vegetarian.
Hemp, also known as cannabis sativa, is an excellent source of protein. It includes a complete set of amino acids in the proper ratios, including BCAAs and essential amino acids.
Cannabis is free of sugars, as well as saturated and trans fats, lactose, and gluten.
Hemp protein can also strengthen the immune system and metabolism while lowering harmful cholesterol and blood pressure.
Hemp is an excellent addition to your diet. It will enhance your protein consumption because it is a completely natural product. Hemp is easily absorbed. It is high in antioxidants and enzymes.
The market offers a wide variety of options when it comes to protein supplements.
To choose the best option for you, factor in the following:
- Any present/past intolerances to any ingredients contained in the product
Based on these 3, you will be able to easily pick the best protein supplement for you, which will grant sustained protein intake at times of need, thus improving recovery and overall body composition in the long term.