With so many different types of protein powders on the market, choosing the best protein for you can be confusing. It’s not surprising that the most commonly asked question we receive is, what protein powder should I be using? In this article, we will focus on the five most popular protein types to help you make the best choice.
Why should I use protein powder?
Protein powder is one of the most purchased supplements on the market. This is because it serves a dual purpose that many other supplements don’t. Firstly it’s a food that helps you feel satiated and full. You can take it on it’s own as a shake, mixed in with a smoothie or some oats. You can even use it in recipes to make high protein snack. Secondly, as a sports supplement protein powder is one of few supplements for which strong scientific evidence for it’s effectiveness exits.
Protein is made up of amino acids which are used in our body for muscle growth and repair. Protein is a vitally important nutrient for those wanting to grow muscles and increase strength. It is also important for those that give themselves a beating during training and need to optimise recovery. Amino acids play other essential roles in the body including the synthesis of hormones, enzymes and neurotransmitters. Amino acids are also a source of energy during intense exercise. Put simply, protein is vital to maintaining health.
While most people can get enough protein through their usual diet, protein powder is a convenient source of high quality pure protein.
When should I take protein powder?
Protein powder can be taken at any time of day. However, if you are looking to maximise muscle building and recovery you should take it before or after exercise. Around 30 minutes before, and within an hour after training is ideal.
What are the different types of protein powder?
The most common protein powders are derived from dairy milk. Whey protein isolate (WPI) , whey protein concentrate (WPC) and casein are the three different protein powders that are processed. Whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate differ only in their processing and purity. You can read more about that here.
Whey Protein Isolate
WPI is cold filtered two times and when pure, has around a 90% protein content. If your WPI is not around 90% protein, then it is not really WPI! Because of the extra processing costs and higher purity, WPI is more expensive than other protein types. WPI is the fastest digesting protein, and is ideal for instigating muscle building and repair after exercise. It’s high leucine content means that it is superior to other protein powders if you are looking to maximise muscle building. It’s low lactose content means it is well tolerated by most people who need a lactose free protein powder due to lactose intolerance. WPI is an ideal healthy snack as protein is the most satiating of the three macronutrients, and is low in calories. This makes WPI the best protein for losing weight.
VPA Whey Protein Isolate is a pure whey isolate protein and the best whey protein powder on the market. With a 90% protein content and 14 delicious flavours, and great mixability WPI is the best protein for most people.
You can find product information on our pure whey protein isolate here – www.vpa.com.au/products/whey-protein-isolate-wpi
Whey Protein Concentrate
WPC is only filtered one time, and therefore has a slightly higher carbohydrate and fat content compared to WPI. A pure whey protein concentrate should have around 80% protein. The slightly higher carb and fat content means that WPC is more slowly digested and absorbed compared to WPI. This is useful if you want a protein that will keep you feeling a little more full in between meals. It also gives the protein a slightly creamier taste and texture when made on water, and some people find it more enjoyable to drink than WPI for this reason. WPC is also a good choice of protein to lose weight. Although it is slightly higher in calories than WPI, it does make for a more complete meal and can lead to you feeling more satisfied.
VPA Whey Protein Concentrate is a pure whey concentrate and the the best WPC on the market. With a 80% protein content and 14 flavours, you won’t find a better value high quality protein anywhere.
You can find product information on our pure whey protein concentrate here – www.vpa.com.au/products/whey-protein-concentrate-wpc
Casein is a different type of protein found in dairy milk. The structure of casein protein makes it naturally clumps together. This means it is more slowly digested and absorbed than both WPC and WPI. Because of it’s slow digestion, casein is ideal if you go a long time between meals, as it will provide a sustained release of protein. Casein is also considered a ‘night time protein’ as it is useful to take before sleep to maximise overnight muscle building. Casein has a thicker and grainier mouth feel than either WPI or WPC due to the clumping nature of the protein. Many casein powders are blended with WPC to improve the mouth feel.
VPA Micellar Casein is a blend of WPC and casein. With a 78% protein content and 4 flavours, you won’t find a better value high quality casein anywhere.
You can find product information on our casein here – www.vpa.com.au/products/night-time-protein
VPA Muscle Gainer is a weight gainer supplement, which you may have also heard referred to as a mass gainer or bulking powder. Gainers are different to pure protein supplements like whey protein isolate (WPI), whey protein concentration (WPC) and casein, in that they combine protein with carbohydrate and fat to provide a high calorie and high protein supplement. They are often used by those on a bulk as an easy way of increasing calorie intake. Muscle Gainer should not be used by those looking to lose weight, WPI and WPC are the best protein powders to lose weight.
VPA Muscle Gainer combines high quality Australian whey protein powder, easily digestible carbohydrate, and creatine for maximum muscle growth. Ours ingredients are WPC, dextrose monohydrate, maltodextrin and creatine to maximise your muscle gain.
You can find product information on our Muscle Gainer here – www.vpa.com.au/products/muscle-gainer-xxxl
There are many types of vegan, or plant-based protein powders including soy, pea, rice, pumpkin seed, and Sacha Inchi. Plant-based protein is ideal for you if you are vegan or unable to consume dairy products for any reason. Plant-based protein powders are easily digested and therefore we suggest sourcing a plant-based protein that includes digestive enzymes. to increase the percentage of protein your body will use. They can be used by anyone looking to get more protein variety in their diet. Plant proteins are great as a snack between meals as plant protein does not digest as quickly as whey, which means it will keep you fuller for longer.
The protein content of plant proteins is often lower than whey proteins, and therefore the serving size is often larger. VPA Premium Plant has a serving size of 40g and a protein content of 71%. It has added digestive enzymes to maximise your uptake of protein.
You can find product information on our Premium Plant protein here – www.vpa.com.au/products/premium-plant-vegan-protein
If you want to know more about the different types of protein VPA sells, you can checkout this handy comparison chart below.
The information given within this article should help you understand some of the main different types of protein available on the market and therefore you will be able to make a more informed decision about what protein is best for you.