Everyone needs protein, no matter the level of activity they do, as it is essential for maintaining and growing muscles as well as giving you energy.1
When you are exercising or training, it is especially important that you get the protein you need to maintain your muscles as physical activity can “damage” them.
An easy way to do this is to incorporate protein powder into your diet.
Protein powder can be used to make shakes and smoothies, which can be consumed as a snack or as a meal replacement.
And it can also be added to foods such as pancakes and mashed potato, to give your usual meal an extra protein hit.
From ice lollies to chocolate spreads, you can do all sorts of things with protein powder
But what is the best protein powder and which one is right for you? Here, we unpack the different types of protein supplements available and discover the benefits of each one.
Whey protein powder
Whey protein originates from dairy milk and is a by-product which is created during the cheese-making process.
Whey contains all of the essential amino acids which are also known as the building blocks of protein.
Whey is easy for the body to digest (unless you have a dairy allergy and then it should be avoided) and it encourages the growth of lean muscles.
Whey comes in a number of different flavours, including vanilla, strawberry and chocolate to name but a few. So you will easily be able to find one which suits you.
The range of PE Nutrition whey proteins are packed full of premium protein. Try the simply whey range for quality every day protein, or the performance range if you are training reguarlly.
It is a complete protein, containing all nine amino acids in a blend of isolate whey powder, concentrate whey powder and hydrolysed whey protein.
It is also low in both fat and sugar, making it one of the best whey protein powders available.
Casein protein powder
Casein is a slow release protein powder which is also found in cow’s milk.
It has the same amino acid profile as whey protein but is absorbed more slowly.
Casein is the solid curds which are released from milk during the cheese-making process.
As casein is a slow-release protein, it is best to consume it either early in the morning, or before you go to bed, when other nutrients will not be available for a while.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Casein contains 24g of slow digesting micellar casein in each serving.
It contains naturally occurring branched chained amino acids BCAAs leucine, isoleucine and valine which are not produced by your body.
Diet protein powder
When you replace carbohydrate and fat intake with protein,
this will help you stay feeling satisfied and fuller for longer and stop you from consuming extra calories through unhealthy snacking or overeating at mealtimes.
You can get diet protein powder which is specially formulated for anyone that is trying to limit their calorie intake.
PhD Diet Whey Powder is a low-calorie protein supplement which contains just 91 calories per serving. It is also low in sugar.
As well as this, it contains ingredients such as green tea extract, CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) and L-Carnitine, all of which can help you feel fuller for longer.
This is one of the best protein powders for women and men following a nutritional plan for those wanting to limit their calorie intake.
Vegan protein powder
As both whey and casein protein come from dairy milk, they are unsuitable for vegans.
However, if you are vegan, fear not – there are plenty of vegan protein powders available so you will not need to go without.
Instead of being made from whey or casein, sources of vegan protein include grains, legumes and seeds.
Food processors remove most of the fat and carbs found in these foods, to isolate the protein to make protein powders.2
Vega Clean Protein is made from a blend of premium plant-based protein from sources like hemp, pea and pumpkin which combine to create a high-quality amino acid profile.
It tastes great and is easily mixed into protein shakes and smoothies.
This plant-based protein powder contains just 133kcal per serving and is very low in sugar.
Which protein powder is best for me?
The best protein powder for you will depend on your lifestyle, exercise and nutritional needs – there is no one size fits all.
You may need to try a few different protein powders before you find the one that works best for you.
5 January 2021