Confused by all the different types of proteins? It’s easy to be overwhelmed. There’s A LOT of protein out there. So what’s best? And what’s not worth your time? Whether you’ve recently started a fitness regimen or are a veteran of the gym, adding protein to your diet is probably a top priority in your wellness routine. The first place many people look to increase their protein intake is by increasing the animal proteins in their diet. However, loading up on the meat can add extra calories, isn’t very convenient and can have plenty of its own unhealthy implications. And that’s where protein supplements come in to fill a critical need. There are numerous ways to add protein to your diet without increasing meat intake. Let’s look at the types of protein supplements there are and how they affect you.
What is whey protein?
When deciding on which protein to take, you may frequently come across whey protein. It’s a protein that’s a popular ingredient in protein drink mixes, bars, and several other weight loss products. This protein, which is commonly found in cow’s milk, is the liquid that remains during the cheesemaking process. The fluid left behind is pasteurized and dried to add to many products. It can come in various powder types, including concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysate.
One of the most common powder types that most people consume is whey concentrate, the cheapest and most readily available. Whey has an enormous amount of amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Most people add whey protein to the diet, mainly when working out, because it may help with weight loss, reduce inflammation, and promote muscle growth. A few other benefits that whey protein might help with include lowering blood pressure, treating type 2 diabetes, and helping the body’s antioxidant defences.
What is whey isolate?
While whey concentrate is a common form of whey protein found in many nutrition products, whey isolate packs more protein punch. Whey concentrate has about 70 – 80 percent protein, while isolate has 90 percent or more. Additionally, isolate has less fat and lactose. If you’re lactose intolerant or have digestive issues with cow’s milk products, isolate may be less harsh on your digestive system. Whey isolate can also help with recovering after working out and may enhance endurance.
What is grass-fed protein and is it better?
When purchasing some whey proteins, you may notice that the label says it’s grass-fed. This means that instead of the cows grazing in a traditional feeding lot, eating grain, soy or corn, and getting injected with antibiotics, they freely roam, eating natural grass. As a result, grass-fed cows produce much more nutritional milk, which includes omega-3, vitamins, and minerals.
Improvements in the nutritional value of whey can potentially help decrease the risk of heart disease, help with weight management, and aid in fighting cancer. Along with omega-3s, grass-fed whey also contains more conjugated linoleic acids, a group of fats which may promote a leaner body mass and increased metabolism.
What is vegan protein?
As many people change their diets from ones that incorporate animal to plant-based lifestyles, they may wonder how they can get the protein they need. Since animal meat and byproducts are an easy way to get more protein into the body, removing animal products from the diet takes away a substantial amount of protein sources. Many vegans resort to getting the proper amount of protein by increasing the intake of protein-rich vegetables.
Some vegetables and non-meats high in protein include:
- Tofu and other soy-based meat substitutes
- Brussels sprouts
As a vegan, it can still be hard to achieve the protein needed to maintain and build muscle. If you still aren’t getting enough protein from these food sources, incorporating vegan protein is a convenient option. Vegan protein is similar to whey protein. It can be purchased in powder form with several appealing flavour options. The significant difference is that vegan protein doesn’t contain any animal byproducts. Manufacturers make these protein powders using peas, hemp, pumpkin seed, soy, and other plant-based proteins.
Is whey protein better than vegan protein?
You may be wondering whether whey protein is better than vegan protein or vice versa. To determine this, it’s a good idea to assess your goals in taking protein. For example, vegan protein is a better option than whey if you’ve recently decided to stop consuming meat products but want to ensure you get the proper amount of protein daily.
However, if you don’t have any dietary restrictions or reservations about taking whey protein, it could be better to consume whey. This is because it has a higher count of leucine amino acids, which are helpful with muscle repair. Also, whey is better for weight loss because it helps you feel fuller than plant protein. While there is a slight benefit in consuming whey, both options will help you get the protein. It just comes down to a matter of personal preference.
What are the best ways to take protein powder?
One of the most common ways to consume protein powder is to mix it with your favourite beverage. Some may drink it with water, juice, or shakes. However, these aren’t the only ways to consume protein powder. Here are a few other tasty ways to consume protein powder.
- Add it to mashed potatoes (as long as it’s flavourless)
- Protein pancakes
- An addition to oatmeal
- Drink it in coffee
- Add it to yoghurt
- Sprinkle some on fruit or salad
- Whisk some into scrambled eggs
- Add some to soup or sauces