A Guide To Choosing Protein Powders
Protein powder is a quick and simple way to ensure your body is getting the required daily protein intake it needs. Supplementation with protein powder can be done for a number of reasons, such as to improve sports performance, promote weight loss, build muscle mass, and boost overall wellness.
Due to the wide range of protein powders on the market, it can be overwhelming when trying to decide which protein powder is best for your personal needs and fitness goals.
We have broken down protein powder by types and uses, so it can help you understand the differences and make an informed decision when trying to start protein supplementation.
The 3 Main Protein Supplement Types
Whey protein is one of the most popular proteins and is generally used for day-to-day use. Whey protein is easily digested and contains all of the essential amino acids. This can help to boost energy levels while reducing stress levels. Whey concentrates and isolates are a great option to use after a workout for muscle recovery. The best part about whey protein isolate is that it contains an incredible range of essential amino acids.
Meat-eating gym-goers probably already know this, but beef and collagen are very densely packed with a whole lot of protein while being gluten and dairy free.
Over the past few years, there has been a significant rise in beef and collagen protein powders available in the market, so the options are endless.
Beef and collagen proteins are an ideal substitute for those who struggle with processing dairy or soy products, and it is also an ideal alternative to thicker protein shakes, as their texture is lighter, similar to fruit juice, and can be enjoyed chilled or over ice.
Vegan & Plant-Based Protein
Plant-based protein supplements are not only made for vegans, but also for those looking to reduce high cholesterol and for people who are looking to improve their overall health through plant protein. The most common vegan proteins are:
- Pea proteins. Pea proteins are highly digestible, economical, and hypo-allergenic.
- Brown rice protein. Brown rice proteins are 100% plant-based and are a great option for vegetarians or for those who cannot consume dairy products. Brown rice protein is also gluten-free.
- Hemp. Hemp seeds are a plant-based source of complete protein that provides a range of nutrients. It is an excellent option for individuals who want to add more protein to their diet while avoiding animal products.
A Guide To Choosing Protein Powders: Different Protein Powders For Different Needs
If You Want To Build Muscle
If you are looking to increase and improve muscle growth, then a protein powder with a high biological value (meaning a value that measures how well the body absorbs and utilises a protein) then whey protein and whey isolates are the perfect options for you.
If You Want To Lose Weight
If you are trying to lose weight, try choosing lean protein powders that have no added sugars or dextrins/maltodextrins (these are sweeteners made from starch). It is also a good idea to try to avoid those with added BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids), as these can help to encourage muscle growth and promote weight gain.
If You Are Vegan / Vegetarian
If you are a vegan or a vegetarian you should definitely avoid milk-based protein shakes like whey, instead, you should opt for 100% plant proteins such as pea, oat, rice, and hemp.
If You Are On A Budget
If you need to save some money, you should consider buying protein powder in bulk tubs instead of ready-made protein shakes as they can be more expensive due to their convenience. It is also a good idea to look for large protein bags with minimal packaging, such as our DSI whey pouches linked here.
If You Are Lactose Intolerant
If you suffer from lactose intolerance, then vegan proteins and beef proteins are your best bet. There are a number of really great dairy-free proteins to choose from so you will never be stuck for choice when sticking with a dairy-free diet.
If You Need A High Protein Intake For Gaining Mass
If you are trying to gain mass, then protein oats and protein powder that contain more than 30g of protein per serving are a really great option for you. At DSI we carry a range of mass gainers – we have linked our best-selling mass gainer from optimum nutrition here.
If You Prefer Light-Textured Shakes
Protein shakes can be too heavy and thick for some individuals, but thankfully clear whey, beef and collagen proteins are a really great light-textured alternative and can do the same job as a regular protein shake can, without the milkshake texture
If You Want To Improve Overall Health
If you are looking to improve your overall health, hair, skin and nails, then collagen protein supplements might be for you. Collagen is the protein responsible for skin elasticity and keeping healthy joints. Collagen is in your bones, blood and muscles and comprises ¾ of your skin and ⅓ of the protein in your body. As we age, our collagen production slows and supplements are a really great alternative.
The list above should be used as a starting point for individuals to engage in a conversation with their GPs so they can get professional medical advice on the best type of supplementation based on an individual’s medical history.