Have you ever gone to a health food store or Whole Foods to buy protein powder and noticed there were more options than milk alternatives? Knowing what to buy can be very overwhelming. Here’s a breakdown of the most common types of protein powder. Just remember, no matter what kind of protein powder you buy, it’s best to read the label first. Make sure it doesn’t have added sugar and is as nutritionally complete as possible.
Whey protein is probably the most convenient protein powder to buy and one of the most popular. It’s readily found at most supermarkets and even some drugstores. Whey protein is affordable and generally has a good taste.
Whey itself is a by-product of milk. If you’ve ever opened up a yogurt container, whey is actually that liquid part on top. Whey protein doesn’t contain too much lactose and is very digestible. However, because it digests quickly, it can create less than pleasant gastrointestinal side affects, so if you have a very sensitive stomach, this is something to consider.
Because of whey’s saturated fat levels (this might be one of those times when saturated fat is actually a good thing), it will also give you an energy boost during your workouts. This protein also helps you lose fat and build lean muscle.
Pea is becoming the next big thing in terms of protein powder supplements. After all, pea protein has lots of benefits. It is low in both fat and calories, but high in protein. Peas also contain no animal ingredients, lactose or gluten. It’s also easily digestible and highly bioavailable.
But unlike other forms of protein powder, it digests slowly, making it ideal as a meal replacement. Another thing that makes pea protein stand out is that unlike other plant-based proteins, it is considered complete, meaning it has all nine of the essential amino acids.
Hemp seeds might be high in protein, but unlike the Cannabis sativa plant where it is derived from, it won’t get you high. Hemp is a great source of plant-based protein for many reasons. First of all, its natural flavor is on the nutty side, making it a perfect compliment to an almond or peanut butter smoothie. It also has 20 amino acids including the nine essential aminos. Furthermore, it’s rich in fiber, making it an optimal choice for those who are generally prone to digestive upset from protein powders.
A popular choice for those with plant-based diets, soy protein contains all of the essential amino acids. Soy also contains isoflavones, which can help your muscles recover and reduce soreness and inflammation. Studies have even shown that soy can decrease your risk of heart disease by lowering your levels of cholesterol. However, one of the major drawbacks is soy’s affect on hormones because it increases estrogen and decreases testosterone levels. Also, most soy grown in the United States is genetically engineered. So if you have hormonal issues, perhaps it’s best to consult with a doctor first or maybe choose another kind of protein supplement.
Bone broth has become a big health trend, but if you aren’t into soup, bone broth protein powder is certainly an option. It’s paleo-friendly, gluten, dairy and cholesterol-free. Bone broth also contains both glucosamine and chondroitin, which can be incredibly helpful when it comes to muscle repair. One unique characteristic of bone broth is that it has a high collagen content, meaning it can benefit your hair, skin and nails. So, if vanity motivates you, then bone broth might be your favorite new source of protein. However, this supplement is anything but vegan and made exactly how you imagine it is, which may turn even some carnivores off from giving it a try.