Deciding which protein to use for your goal can be quite a hard task as there is just so much to choose from, so where do you start? Well, you can start by taking a read of this post as it will outline the different whey, casein and soy, pea proteins which are also available to those that perhaps need stricter requirements. You might even find after reading this that looking at your protein supplement doesn't actually give you what you thought you needed, that's ok, they can get quite confusing and if this is the case please get in touch with us as we can steer you in the right direction. Let's take a closer look....
This type of protein is certainly the most popular out of all the different proteins you can choose from. It is derived from dairy sources and has an excellent nutrient make up, including all of the essential amino acids. It is considered a fast acting protein source due to the acidity of it which means it is broken down very quickly in the stomach. Consuming a whey protein after a workout is highly advised due to it's rapid absorption rate at which it can get to work on repairing and rebuilding your muscles. However, there are a few sub types which also need to be explored...
Whey Protein Concentrate
Whey Protein Concentrate is the least processed of all the whey protein forms out there. Typically these types of supplements will contain a 70% protein by weight and is the most cost effective form of whey protein on the market to date. You will likely see whey protein concentrate in the ingredients list of many proteins we stock on our site. Beginners and intermediate users, those that train but don't take it too seriously will do well using this form.
Whey Protein Isolate
This type of protein means it is slightly more pure than the concentrate and therefore is a more expensive source of protein. These powders being so pure are usually no less than 90% protein by weight and are considered to be the best. They also have much less fat and lactose compared to concentrates and again you will likely see them sold separately or paired with another blend of protein, usually concentrates. More advanced gym users will use an isolate for greater results however these as already stated are more expensive than others.
Whey Protein Hydrolysate
An even faster absorption rate than concentrates and isolates, discount supplements is an isolated whey protein that has been broken down slightly to make it more effective. Due to the extra processing of this protein however, it does become more expensive than the isolate. Usually this type of protein will be in a blend of isolate and concentrate due to its bitter taste if used on it's own. Big brands like Optimum Nutrition will use this type of protein in their blend but again, this comes with a price as this protein supplement is not cheap. Advanced gym users will recommend such a product to maximise their training needs.
Moving on from whey protein's, we have casein protein which is the most abundant form of protein in cow's milk, accounting for 80% of its protein content. A big difference between whey and casein is the fact that casein is considered a much slower release in protein due to it's alkaline properties. So much slower in fact that a whey protein is usually getting to work when consumed within 15 minutes, a casein protein however can drip feed the muscles for six hours, that's quite a big difference. So you wouldn't really want to take something solely casein based immediately after a workout for this reason, so when is a good time to take it? Well, before sleep is optimal as this is when a lot of your recovery takes place. Aside from this, maybe if you know you aren't going to be able to eat for a good few hours depending on your schedule.
Possibly the most popular source of casein used in many products is micellar casein and this is due to its typical value of 85-92% protein by weight, with very low levels of fat and lactose. This casein forms a slow digesting clot in the stomach, extending its period of utilization for up to seven hours. Casein is thicker than whey so you probably won't be able to swig it down as fast as you would do, however if you are used to weight gainer shakes then casein is no different to them. Remember to use this before bed for maximal recovery from your hard day. Micellar casein is great for beginners right through to level expert, be sure to use it to enhance recovery and growth.
Some of you can't use a dairy based protein and certain supplement companies have realised this gap in the market with different protein sources available, one being soy. Soybean is a rich vegetable source of complete protein that contains essential and non essential amino acids, though the balance of essential amino acids is less ideal for humans than the milk proteins. A positive though is the fact that soy proteins contain a large amount of glutamine compared to whey, which helps with building muscle and improving the immune system. Soy protein should be used by those that have a dairy intolerance and need to sustain protein requirements, soy is a perfect replacement.
A protein which is very similar to soy is pea protein. Another vegetable based protein which again can be used as an alternative to those who don't want to consume whey. Pea protein is very popular and a product which does very well is Pulsin, who just so happen to sponsor Chelsea Football Club also. Pea protein has slightly better protein per weight when compared to soy but both otf these proteins are great options for you. Whatever level you are at, you can use soy or pea protein to help your body and muscles recover quicker.
Make sure you are checking your protein labels so that you know exactly what you are having, but as you can see from this post it really isn't too confusing. Remember to consider the type of protein you are consuming post workout to maximise the recovery period, always stick with a whey for this. Before bed or if you know you won't eat for a fair few hours, stick with a casein.
Reference - William Llewellyn's Sport Supplement Guide