Protein powders are not just for the gym-bros looking to beef up. Whatever exercise you’re doing can benefit from a protein boost to reduce muscle breakdown, as well as a variety of lesser-known benefits. Everything from high cholesterol to eye damage can be aided by protein. And it can do it all without the added calorie intake of trying to swallow a steak for a snack.
Take a look at our guide to finding the right protein powder for you to see which type suits your needs.
Found in the watery portion of milk that separates in the process of making cheese, whey protein is commonly used for increasing strength and athletic performance when combined with resistance training and a high protein diet. However, with its ability to create serotonin and suppress cortisol, it has mood-stabilizing elements and can aid in mental health.
On top of this is its ability to aid in weight loss by having high levels of satiation and an ability to boost metabolism. It also has mixed results in lowering blood pressure but a studied ability to moderate blood sugar in type 2 diabetes. Rather than opting for standard whey protein, you may want to consider a product such as ioWhey from becomeio.com which has 123% increased bioavailability.
Casein protein is the other half of protein found in milk but is more common and less effective due to the fact that it is absorbed a lot slower. Casein offers a slower absorption of amino acids, reducing the rate of muscle protein breakdown. The middle ground between soy and wheat and whey, casein is useful in increasing muscle protein breakdown but not the best.
However, with a calorie-restricted diet and resistance training, casein may beat whey in improving body composition and it is also very good at aiding fat loss.
Casein’s lesser-known benefits include immune and antibacterial benefits that may reduce high blood pressure and the reduction of free radicals: unstable molecules that are produced during metabolism, causing illness and aging.
Combining the benefits of whey and the slow absorption of casein, egg protein is one of the highest quantity and quality proteins, with 25g per 30g serving of supplement powder. It has the highest protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score.
With similar benefits to whey, it has one main advantage: it’s dairy free. Those of use with lactose intolerance can look to egg protein to gain muscle mass and avoid bloating and cramps.
It also contains choline, an important nutrient that produces signaling molecules in the brain and lutein and zeaxanthin, which counteracts some of the effects of aging in our eyes.
If you’re looking for something to keep you full, check whether the powder you’re looking at is made from just egg whites or a mix of egg whites and yolks. The protein quality will stay the same but you might feel more full with the yolks included.
Popular amongst those looking for a cruelty free or plant-based alternative, as well as the lactose intolerant, pea protein is made from the yellow split pea, which has all but one of the amino acids.
Rich in BCAAs, it can compete with whey and casein in strength training. With a faster absorption than casein but slower than whey, it is a happy medium.
Considered the low-calorie option, pea protein aids in weight loss and lowers cholesterol and blood pressure without damage to the kidneys.
Containing all essential amino acids, however at lower rates, hemp is less beneficial when compared to egg and soy. Another plant-based alternative, its saving grace is that it is far more digestible than most plant proteins and even animal proteins. In turn it improves digestion and cleanses the colon due to its high amount of fiber. This fiber uptake can help you lose weight by making you feel fuller for longer.
Hemp seeds are also full of minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, and copper.
Brown Rice Protein
Another great source of fiber, brown rice is the easily digestible, cruelty-free option that boasts all essential amino acids. These help in fast muscle recovery after a hard workout and burns fat fast.
Although brown rice is considered not as effective as whey or casein for building muscle and protein is just one aspect of its benefits. Therefore, its many other benefits are more potent in replacing white rice rather than digesting it as a powder.
Mixed Plant Proteins
Mixed plant proteins are a mixed of usually two or more of: brown rice, pea, hemp, alfalfa, chia seeds, flax seeds, artichoke, and quinoa. Most of these are high in fiber and therefore are digested slower than animal proteins, which can limit the amino acids your body can use after exercise.
With this to guide you, you can find a protein shake to help your workout. Whether it’s yoga or swimming or hiking, you’ll have something to help you build muscle, lose weight, and reduce muscle breakdown.