There is a plethora of protein powders available these days.
The sheer gamut of options can be overwhelming.
You will be perplexed if you do not know which one to choose for your needs.
All protein powders are basically concentrated sources of plant or animal proteins.
The sources could be eggs, dairy, peas or rice among others.
Most protein powders can be classified in one of the three categories.
3 Categories of Protein Powder
There are protein concentrates that have amino acids extracted from whole foods using acid, enzymes and heat.
Such protein powders contain sixty to eighty percent protein.
The rest is carbohydrates and fats.
Protein isolates is the second type of protein powders that have more amino acids.
The carbohydrates and fats in protein concentrates are removed or filtered.
The minimum proportion of amino acids in protein isolates is ninety percent.
The concentration may be as high as ninety five percent.
The third type of protein powders is protein hydrolysates.
This is made by subjecting protein concentrates and isolates to another phase of heating and treated with enzymes or acids to break down the bonds between the various amino acids.
Such a process makes the protein more readily absorbable and hence the muscles get the boost they need.
Protein powders may contain minerals and vitamins in addition to amino acids, carbohydrates and fats.
Popular Types of Protein Powders
Protein powders increase mass in muscles, improve body composition and satiate the requirement of amino acids.
The most popular protein powders are whey protein, casein protein, egg protein, pea protein, hemp protein, brown rice protein and mixed plant proteins.
Whey protein is easily digested and hence it leads to a quick rise in the content of amino acids in the body, thereby contributing to increased strength and eventually mass in muscles.
Whey protein can also help with fat loss and suppress appetite.
Casein protein is derived from dairy, like whey, and it can enhance growth of mass in muscles and prevent loss of fat.
It also reduces the breakdown of muscle protein, hence retaining mass.
Egg protein, also known as egg white protein, is easy to digest and the amino acids are readily absorbed.
It can help with weight loss, an increase in mass and suppression of appetite.
Pea protein can promote muscle growth and contribute to a feeling of fullness.
It is not as widely studied or as popular as protein powders based on dairy or amino acids extracted from animals.
Hemp protein is rich in omega-3 fatty acids but does not contain enough amino acids, such as leucine and lysine.
Brown rice protein and mixed plant proteins are alternatives to animal based protein powders but their effectiveness in muscle building is not fully explored.
Which Should You Choose?
When it comes to supplements the most important thing to remember is they can only HELP you reach a goal.
They aren't some type of magic pills.
So the first thing to do when picking the right protein powder is to understand why you need it.
Who's Using It?
Are you a Swimmer? Bodybuilder? Crossfitter? Runner? Man or Woman?
Believe it or not some powders are better suited for men than women and vice versa.
Another thing to be weary of is allergies.
If you're allergic to nuts you need to keep that in mind when picking a protein powder.
Also, if you have problems with dairy, find a dairy free option.
It's in your best interest to find specifically the best powder for YOU.
Which brings me to my next point...
What Do You Need It For?
Do you want to use it as a snack?
Do you lack adequate protein needed for muscle building?
Are you always on the go and need something to make dieting easier?
Maybe you need it for breakfast...
Figuring out why you want to use it will help you decide on a type and brand easier.
NOTE: protein powder isn't some type of fairy dust. You still have to work out and eat correctly.
So Many Brands
Once you decide on why you need to start looking at the different types of brands out there.
There are so many different companies and each has its strengths and weaknesses.
Some have amazing taste but a low serving per serving.
Others have terrific macronutrients but taste like chalk.
It's all about you and what you can sacrifice.
Remember no product is perfect so pick based on your needs.