If you like to take a protein supplement, you’ve probably found yourself – at some point or another – wondering which kind is right for you. There are just so many different options. Is whey more effective than soy? How many grams should you be taking? What’s the difference between all of them?!
First of all, let’s complicate things and assume you’re vegetarian or vegan. Veggie peeps might be even more likely to take protein supplements since they aren’t eating meat, and sometimes not any animal proteins at all, which eliminates eggs and dairy protein. There are vegan options that contain all the muscle-building essentials so that you can still Hulk out and be green.
Pros: Easily digestible, lactose and gluten-free, and mixes smoothly if you add it to foods or other shakes. It’s got isoflavones, fiber and all of the amino acids you need for muscle growth.
Cons: Phytoestrogen content (stuff that mimics estrogen). While there are benefits to it (read the science), some fear that eating too much soy could have harmful effects on men due to the estrogen content.
Pros: Highly digestible (good as a pre-gym supplement that won’t cause tummyaches), offers complete amino acids, and it’s got healthy omega-3s and omega-6s
The fat and calorie content can be higher than other proteins
- Whey (non-vegan)
Pros: Whey protein isolates are very low in fat, carbs and lactose. Concentrates are cheaper but they have higher fat and lactose contents. I would reco the complete whey. This powder also has a great amino acid profile. W00t.
Cons: It can be confusing as there are several different types, between whey isolate, whey concentrate or complete whey.
Concentrate is a good starter, and can be used both pre and post workout, or even just as a protein boosting snack between meals.
Isolate absorbs quickly and are good for people on low-carb diets, and to take immediately after your workout.
Casein Breaks down slowly over several hours so that you feel fuller longer, it’s also a better choice if you’re taking it before bed. Since it takes longer to digest, your body stays absorbing nutrients even while you sleep.
- Brown Rice / Pea Protein
Pros: It’s high in fiber, gluten-free, lactose-free, full of B vitamins (which can help muscle metabolism and growth). It’s also hypoallergenic, so it likely won’t irritate your system or cause a reaction.
Cons: It isn’t a complete protein by itself. This just means you need one with enhanced amino acids, or alternatively, pair it with something like eggs, lean turkey, or if you’re avoiding meat – tofu, quinoa or beans.
And that’s not even every kind. Obviously, the best way is – with exception to allergies – try different options and see what agrees with you. Consider how long the product has been around and what kinds of reviews it has, look at your labels and try to pick one with under 10 ingredients (no science experiments). And don’t buy into hype. Too many supplements manufacturers hype up their product or claim “added ingredients” to promote faster results.
And remember, you can always get plenty of protein from FOOD!
But if you supplement…
Take your time
Read the label
Pick ingredients you can pronounce