We give you the key facts so that you can figure out which is the best protein you can buy
In this article we are going to establish certain criteria to take into account, that as users and consumers, of one of the products that is in greatest demand, especially if we maintain a sporting life, we can find.
We are talking about Protein powder.
- 1. Protein shakes for everyone
- 2. How to know if a protein is the best option
- 3. How much protein do you need
- 4. Type of protein according to the origin of the raw material
- 5. Type of protein based on protein percentage
- 6. Concentrate or Serum Isolate?
- 7. Type of protein according to the speed of absorption
- 8. Type of protein according to the time of use
- 9. Type of protein according to composition
- 10. Budget
- 11. Conclusions
- 12. What is the best protein if you are looking for…
- 13. Related entries
Protein shakes for everyone
If we have experience in the sector, we will quickly know what to choose. However, if it is our first time, the feeling will be similar to that of a child visiting a sweet shop for the first time: he is eager to buy, but cannot decide why, due to the wide variety…
There is a wide variety of protein supplements
The market for sports supplements has experienced an exponential growth in recent years, establishing a high level of competition between the different manufacturers, who also offer a high variety of products, in different formats, shapes and colours…
And, of course, compositions that fit any profile, both sportsmen and women and sedentary people.
It is possible that in our environment the amount of people who drink at least one protein shake a day is out of hand. Years ago, this was something strange and reserved only for the faithful at the gym.
Fortunately, people have been “opening their minds” and looking beyond those powders that are mixed with water, they can be sure that they provide nutrition. This is what Protein Shakes are all about.
The famous “smoothie” can be made with Whey Protein
How to know if a protein is the best option
Nowadays, carrying out a previous study of a product that we want to buy, taking into account a series of factors, can be a benefit to our research.
Obviously, if we consider the economic savings, on the one hand, and on the other, the rule of “the best is the most expensive” may not always be fulfilled
How much protein do you need
As I mentioned before, first study, and then buy… So, the first thing we have to observe, if we want to optimise, would be to know the amount of protein you need per day.
Don’t think that by taking more protein, you will get more muscle… this is something that just doesn’t happen for many.
It could be said (I am opening a can of worms here…) that the intake of protein is highly overrated, in the sense of ingesting a high quantity at each meal, sometimes recommended by certain gurus, without stopping to think that if anyone could pay attention to them and that by looking more closely at the other 2 macros (carbohydrates and fats), we can make an effective overall calorie count for each subject, taking into account their subjective qualities (body composition) and activity (purpose and objective), resulting in a boost in performance, loss of fat or increase in muscle mass.
Type of protein according to the origin of the raw material
Type of protein according to the origin of the raw material. We can differentiate in this first classification fundamentally 2 types (animal origin, plant origin). Within each group, several types differ, already depending on the font itself. This fact will condition the choice of one or the other according to our type of feeding. Below are the types of protein based on the source we can find in the sports nutrition market:
- Dairy (Whey or buttermilk)
- Egg (Albumin)
On the other hand, if we do not discriminate against food sources, we will have a wider range and in that case we can opt for those of animal origin
Type of protein based on protein percentage
We can perform a general classification according to the composition of the protein. In such a case, we will mainly encounter 2 types:
This type of protein can be framed as the protein that is extracted from the source, usually milky (Whey Protein Concentrate).
In performing this process of protein extraction, we separate from the milk the Serum (Whey, or what everyone knows as fast-absorbing protein) and the Casein (or slow absorption protein)
It is usually the most economical protein and the one most people can access as their “first supplement”. The percentage of proteins that can be obtained ranges from 40 to even 85-90%, speaking of the raw product.
Thus, you get a product of high protein value, with very low fat and carbohydrates
Both the Concentrate and the Whey Isolate are two excellent sources of protein that are accessible to practically the majority of the population
This type of protein is obtained from the previous one, through a refining process, whose goal is to maintain the protein part and eliminate practically completely the other macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates).
It is also sought to leave protein fractions intact (depending on the processing mode, such as CFM or Double Cross Flow Microfiltration). That is, we seek to leave a product as pure protein as possible.
We can find products with up to 85-90% protein ready-to-eat
Concentrate or Serum Isolate?
Up to this point, we can find on the marketH:
- WPC or Whey Protein Concentrate
- WPI or Whey Protein Isolate
The range of flavours offered by the manufacturer is also important
Type of protein according to the speed of absorption
We link the above heading, this time we make a classification according to the absorption rate of the protein, without mentioning the source (dairy, meat, vegetable…), which we find on the market. We basically list in 2 types of proteins:
Within this group we find:
- Whey Protein Concentrate(WPC),
- (Isolated Whey Protein - WPI),
- (Hydrolysed Whey Protein - WPH).
Progressive absorption or slow absorption
This is where you see the difference and also with other sources such as egg. It is also quite common to find products that are mixed from several sources with different absorption rates, giving it the sequential release category.
This type of protein can be obtained either from the WPC or from the WPI, mentioned above, maintaining the characteristics to these products (% protein, amount of fats, carbohydrates…).
Now let’s deal with a pre-digested type of protein. That is, a protein that has undergone a hydrolysis process by which its molecular structure will become made up of a certain amount of di and tripeptides.
Within the product catalog, we can also find proteins based on hydrolysing meat isolate
The protein is composed of chains of amino acids. For our body to absorb it, it needs to be reduced to these minimum units. A hydrolysed protein will contain a large amount of di-tri or oligopeptides (two junction, three or more amino acids) depending on the degree of hydrolysis you suffer (to a higher degree, higher concentration of dipeptides).
Our intestinal cells will immediately absorb di-tripeptides, while the rest will still have to be digested. We are therefore faced with a fast acting protein, which can be obtained from a “purer” (isolated) source and which will therefore be a high-performance product.
Type of protein according to the time of use
Other criteria to consider will be when we are going to take the protein, which we have seen that they have different absorption ratios.
In accordance with our “timing“, we may be interested in taking a Concentrate or Serum Isolate, and even Hydrolysed, or Casein
Then we must synchronise our meal intakes with our training:
- Training after waking up
- Training at midday/during the day
- Training in the evening
- Training before bed
Training first thing
There are those who train on an empty stomach, or those who have a meal beforehand. If you are one of the latter, bear in mind that if you eat before training, and of course you want those nutrients to be available when you start your sports session, you should take something that is as fast as possible.
Training during the day
If our afternoon session is delayed, taking it to mid-morning or even mid-day, we can keep the previous scheme, as long as we don’t have a pre-workout meal (about 1h before).
Training in the evening
If we train in the afternoon or already for our working hours mainly, at the last minute, we can contemplate several strategies, such as:
- Have a milkshake as a pre-workout meal.
- If it’s already quite late, either have a solid meal, or drink a shake that is a mixture of several protein sources, such as Whey Protein Isolate + Egg Albumin + Micellar Casein. We could accompany it with some source of carbohydrates (or leave the load for the next day) and/or fats (nuts…).
Of course, all these doses would fall within our daily protein requirement
On the other hand, we don’t necessarily have to incorporate the protein only when we train, in fact, as I believe and it is nothing else, we are talking about food.
Therefore, its use will also have a general purpose, being able to make a protein shake when we opt for this protein source at times when we either don’t feel like making a protein intake from solid food, or because it fits better into our daily eating pattern.
Type of protein according to composition
If we have seen the type of protein before, from the point of view of the absorption rate, it will now be the turn to see its composition, both at the level of macronutrients (proteins, fats and Digestive enzymes, to promote absorption and digestion, such carbohydrates) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).
Protein shakes usually have a low amount of fat and carbohydrates, and of course the higher protein ratio.
If we choose weight winners or gainers, the ratio is usually divided in 3 to 1, or 4 to 1, i.e. 3 or 4 parts of carbohydrates to 1 part of protein.
- Digestive enzymes, to promote absorption and digestion, such as Digezyme®
- Probiotics to improve intestinal flora
- Colostrum to strengthen the immune system. Learn more about this product in the link.
Intolerant to lactose
Lactose intolerant people may resort to protein shakes whose source is non-dairy, such as those from plant, meat or egg origin.
As long as this nutrient is avoided in manufacturing processes (cross-contamination), as can happen with gluten
In some cases we can also find products that are themselves a mixture of several, such as
- Mix of Isolated and Concentrated Whey, which seek to increase the percentage of protein, and improve the taste
- A mixture of more than 3 or 4 different protein sources, which seek to provoke a progressive absorption of amino acids, which can last up to several hours, and therefore, interesting from the point of nitrogen balance
No Sweetener or Natural Sweetener
It also offers the possibility to acquire the protein supplement without flavour. In this case, after tasting the protein, you will have the feeling of a slight dairy flavour. This option serves those people who do not want to add any type of excipient (the sweetener in this case) and buy the purest possible protein.
For those, who do seek a protein of flavour, but at the same time want a natural sweetener, there is the protein with stevia.
If our goal is to lose weight (fat…), obviously we will be interested in a product which is the “cleanest” and gives us the highest concentration of proteins.
The type of Whey Isolate protein will maintain the least presence of carbohydrates and fats (or even traces), and in turn higher percentage of proteins. Here these characteristics have a price, therefore, it will be the criterion to be highlighted, our budget.
Buy a Whey Concentrate
The reasons that can move us to one product or another taking into account the economic factor would be:
- If we demand a type of product of “more performance“, understanding this as that it provides more protein, is more free of carbohydrates and fats, we will have to disburse more money, but nevertheless, for our requirements a Whey Concentrate if it fits perfectly.
- If we are constant with training, and meticulous with our food, for the value we pay for the most expensive product, it is well worth it.
- We have been training for 3 months… because possibly wwith a protein concentrate causes the same effect as an Isolated… For people with more experience, and therefore able to perform more demanding workouts, apply more intensity, higher training volume…, you may choose a type of Hydrolyzed protein that is quite feasible for you.
Some may have bad experience with a type of protein from some manufacturer, where just by taking 1 shake he could already see “in his meats” that it was not the right one for him, either because of bad taste, texture, dissolution, or that he was sprinting down the corridor to get to the toilet…
Usually this does not happen. But if it happens, we could understand that he was lactose intolerant, and bought a Concentrate, or because the chocolate flavour was not what he expected, being an Isolated (less amount of sugar, sweetener…) where what is rewarded are the characteristics of the product, and not so much its taste…
What is the best protein if you are looking for…
- The best protein to eat for breakfast
- The best pre-workout protein
- The best protein for during your workout
- The best protein for after your workout
- The best protein to take before bed