Whey protein is a protein derived from casein, the protein found in cow’s milk. This is probably the most popular form of protein powder used throughout the bodybuilding world. Whey protein has the highest biological value of all proteins.
What does this mean? This means that whey is the highest quality protein. They boast a large BCAA (branched-chain amino acid) profile and will highly elevate amino acid levels when taken.
Some wheys include little to no lactose, and can be taken by anyone. They truly are a revolutionary supplement, and should be a staple in your supplement plan.
There are 2 kinds of whey protein, whey concentrates and whey isolates.
Concentrates – are about 80% pure protein. They are cheaper, and may not have as smooth a taste as isolates. People that are lactose intolerant may have a problem with concentrations, and people may have problems with gas. If you have no problems, whey concentrate is still good to take, and in fact, contains fragments that are beneficial that are removed from isolates.
Isolates – Isolates are at least about 90% pure protein. They are more expensive and may have a better taste. WPIs (whey protein isolates) can be made in different ways.
Ion-exchanged – this is the standard WPI. Impurities are removed, but so are beneficial peptides that are included in WPCs.
Micro-filtered – this is kicked up a notch. The whey is filtered to an isolate, but the peptides that are in concentrates remain intact.
Hydrolyzed – this is micro-filtered whey kicked up a notch. It goes through another filtration process that breaks it down more and makes it quicker digesting.
Whey protein can be beneficial for any use. The most commonly used times are upon waking, pre-workout, and post-workout.
Casein is the protein found in milk, and is part whey. Casein is a slower digested protein, and although it won’t rise amino acid levels as high as whey, it will keep the levels elevated much longer than whey. Whey usually keeps levels up for 3-4 hours, while casein does for 7 hours.
The protein forms a type of gel in your stomach, and this allows the slow release over hours. This is what makes casein a great pre-bed protein, which will keep your body anabolic throughout the night.
Milk also has a high biological value. Some people may not be able to consume casein protein powder because of their tolerance to lactose.
Also, don’t underestimate mixing your protein shakes with milk pre and post-workout. You may be thinking “but won’t milk slow down digestion?”. Yes, it will be a little, but milk can go where whey can’t.
Milk has great insulin creating capacities, as well as other growth factors. Milk also creates benefits for IGF-1 that whey does not. So a tip (follow up if you wish), mix your protein shakes with milk!
Soy Protein Powder
Soy is a protein that comes from soybeans. Although soy protein does not rank up at the top for biological value, it has become a good substitute for vegetarians. It also helps lower cholesterol and prevents heart-related diseases. This is also a great replacement protein for people who are lactose-intolerant.
Soy protein is a choice of protein that can be taken by anybody who wants to reap the health benefits of it, and especially for vegetarians to help increase their protein intake.
Egg Protein Powder
Egg protein is the protein from, well eggs! It provides a way for bodybuilders to get the benefits of high-quality egg protein while avoiding the cholesterol and fat found in egg yolks. The biological value of egg protein ranks up close to whey, coming in 2nd.
This makes a great protein for all bodybuilders to use at any time of the day.
Meal Replacement Powders (MRP’s)
These powders are a combination of protein and carbohydrates, meant to replace a meal. Most MRPs also have a good amount of vitamins and minerals. MRPs are usually a combination of casein, whey, and egg protein, although they come in all forms – from 100% whey to just casein and egg.
MRPs are great replacements for meals on the run, or just as a smaller calorie meal.
Weight gainers are shakes that contain a high amount of calories, in order to help customers gain weight. They usually come in a 2:1 (carb-protein) ratio. Something to look out for with weight gainers is the high sugar content. You don’t want to be getting that much sugar throughout the day, although it may be ok post-workout.