Choosing the Best Protein Powder: The Many Faces of Protein
What’s the best protein powder? Does one exist? What does it look like? Hmm, all great questions. And to be perfectly honest, many “best protein powders” exist. It all depends on what kind of protein you’re looking for. Think about it; many different protein powders exist for a reason. Some are looking for organic proteins, some want protein sweetened with all natural herbs like stevia, some want a vegetarian plant-based protein, and the list goes on and on. There are also many uses for protein powders. Bodybuilders might want a fast digesting protein like whey for post-workout recovery. They also might want a slower digesting protein like casein to have as part of a nighttime recovery program.
Let’s take a look at the different types of protein and their common uses:
The Various Types of Protein Powder and their Specific Functions & Uses
Egg protein: Egg protein is a highly bio-available protein source, meaning that your body is able to utilize a high amount of the amino acids after digestion. Egg protein absorbs rather slowly, providing a consistent flux of amino acids into the bloodstream. This makes egg protein a great candidate for nighttime shakes, allowing your body to absorb aminos while you sleep to aid in recovery of muscle. Recommended: Healthy N Fit 100% Egg Protein
Egg white protein: Egg white protein is a fat-free egg protein powder that has the same slow digesting action of whole egg protein except with less calories. This makes egg white protein powder a great choice for dieters or those looking to lean out their physique. Recommended: Body First Egg White Protein
Natural Protein: Natural protein is free of all artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives. Only natural ingredients are used, typically natural colors, natural flavors and natural sweeteners like stevia extract. Natural whey protein concentrate and natural whey protein isolate are both become incredibly popular in the last few years, most notably from the apparent “natural health movement” pushed by the media and journalists such as Michael Pollan. If you’ve never tried a natural protein before, I definitely recommend it. The flavors are great and you can rest assured that what you’re putting in your body is undenatured and healthy. Recommended: BodyStrong 100% Whey Protein – Natural
Collagenic Protein: Collagenic protein, also called hydrolyzed collagen, is an incomplete protein on its own but is often combined with actinase protein (whey, casein and collagen blend) to make the entire blend a complete source of all amino acids. Hydrolyzed collagen is the central protein of connective tissues in joints and also the most abundant protein in humans. It is hydrolyzed so it’s able to be absorbed and utilized rather quickly, which makes it a great choice to have pre/post workout. Recommended: Isatori Liquid Morph+
Whey concentrate: Whey concentrate protein powder is perhaps the best choice if you’re new to protein. The taste is great, the cost is great, and the versatility is unmatched. Whey protein absorbs quickly, usually within 45-60 minutes of digestion, making whey protein powder a great choice for post-workout nutrition and morning shakes, delivering highly bio-available aminos to muscles when they need them most. It’s better to take a slower digesting protein such as egg or casein before bedtime because they are broken down throughout the night. If you take whey protein before bed, the aminos will absorb within the first hour or two and the rest of the night your muscles will be left hungry for more protein! Recommended: BodyStrong 100% Whey Protein
Whey isolate: Whey isolate shares the same fast-absorbing properties of regular whey concentrate, but with less fat, carbs, and calories. Whey isolate is a little more expensive than whey concentrate because it is a purer form of whey. It doesn’t taste quite as good as whey concentrate, but that’s because there’s less fat and carbs. Whey isolate is a favorite of bodybuilders, pre-contest athletes, and extreme dieters watching every calorie in their diet. Recommended: 4 Ever Fit 4Ever Whey Isolate
Casein protein: Casein protein is the second part of milk protein, whey being the first. Like egg protein, casein is a slow-digesting protein and is best utilized at night or before workouts, allowing the amino acids to be broken down and absorbed over time. Recommended: Champion Nutrition Pure Casein
Rice protein: Rice protein is typically extracted from brown rice and is a great source of vegetarian protein. Rice protein is suggested for those looking for a quality bio-available protein that isn’t from a milk, egg, or animal source. Recommended: Jarrow Brown Rice Protein
Soy protein: Soy protein is a vegetarian protein extracted from soy beans and is the most popular type of non-animal protein. Soy protein tastes decent, is very inexpensive, and in addition to supply plenty of amino acids it also has been shown to promote heart health. Soy is a great choice for vegetarians or heart health conscious individuals. Recommended: Body First Soy Protein Isolate – Non GMO
Vegetable protein: Vegetable protein is usually a combination of multiple proteins consisting of brown rice, quinoa and other ancient grains, millet, buckwheat, kidney bean, lentil, garbanzo, flax, sunflower, pumpkin, chia seed, sesame seed, and pea protein among others. This gives people a nice blend of different vegetable proteins all from non-animal sources and makes for a great “intermediary cycling protein” to mix-it up from your typical protein. Experts suggest rotating your protein products to diversify your protein intake from different sources. Often times your body gets used to the same protein over and over again and by switching to a new brand or type of protein your body can better utilize the amino acids as well as better utilize the other brand when you switch back in the future. Recommended: Garden of Life Raw Protein
Hemp protein: Hemp protein is a favorite protein of vegetarians for its rich source of bio-available amino acids, healthy omega-3 fats and as a source of dietary fiber. Recommended: Jarrow Organic Hemp Protein
Beef protein: Beef protein is just that, protein derived from beef. People who have trouble eating large amounts of beef might want to consider using beef protein powders like Carnivor and Olympian Labs, because it allows them to consume more beef to meet their muscle-building goals.
Beef liver protein: Beef liver tabs are another form of beef protein except they are derived exclusively from the liver. They provide an incredibly bio-available and healthy source of protein rich in amino acids ratios not found in any other protein supplement. Recommended: Nature’s Life Beef Liver (1500mg) & Beverly International Ultra 40 – 4X Beef Liver Concentrate
The Votes Are In on The Best Protein Powder
As you can see there’s a lot of protein available today. So what is the best protein powder? In my opinion, if you’re looking for a morning protein shake or post-workout recovery shake I’d go with BodyStrong 100% Whey Protein. You can’t beat the quality, taste and price of BodyStrong brand protein, which is why it’s quickly rising to be one of the most popular proteins at All Star Health. If you’re looking for a nighttime recovery protein powder, I’d go with both Body First Egg White Protein and Champion Nutrition Pure Casein.
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