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Pure protein or a protein powder blend: Which is best?

June 03, 2020 4 min read

Pure protein or a protein powder blend: Which is best?

Is a pure protein powder or protein powder blend the best choice for you? What is the difference between them? Now, it’s important to note that when we say “protein blend” we are not talking about inferior products sold by some supplement companies. These poor quality products blend protein powder with fillers such a fibre and milk powder and they have a lower protein content than high quality protein powders. Read on to discover what a good quality protein blend powder is, and how it might benefit you.

What is a pure protein powder?

A pure protein powder is one made with only one protein source and protein type. Examples of pure protein powders include whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, casein, and pea protein.

What is a protein powder blend?

A protein powder blend is one that combines protein types into the one product. Common examples of protein blends include casein-whey blends, plant protein blends, and blends of different dairy proteins such as whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate and casein.

Why should I choose a pure protein powder?

Pure protein powders generally provide great value for money and are great for people who use protein for a specific purpose and/or use different powders at different times. VPA® Australia sells three different pure protein powders.

Whey protein isolate

Whey protein isolate is the most pure dairy protein powder on the market. WPI is a fast digesting protein that consists of at least 90% protein, with almost no carbohydrates or fats. It is also 99% lactose-free, making it suitable for most people who are lactose intolerant. WPI is the more expensive than other proteins due to it’s high purity. However VPA® WPI is still great value at only $40 per bag, and $1.10 a serve. WPI contains high levels of the branched chain amino acid leucine, and as a result it is the best protein to choose to take after training. WPI is most effective for stimulating muscle repair and growth.

Whey protein concentrate

Whey protein concentrate is slightly less refined that WPI and as a result it has slightly lower levels of protein and slightly higher levels of carbohydrate and fat. VPA® WPI has 23g of protein per serve, 0.7g of fat and 1.5g of sugars from lactose. Because the protein level is slightly lower, WPC is a cheaper alternative to WPI at only $31 per 1kg bag or $0.93 per serve. For most people it is more than adequate to take after training to promote recovery and repair.

Because it is slightly higher in fat and protein, WPC is slower to digest and generally a bit nicer to drink that WPI. Many people use WPC in oats and smoothies to help boost the protein content of their meal. The slower rate of digestion makes it better than WPI for people that have a protein shake as a snack or in place of a meal.

Pea protein

Pea protein is a plant-based protein that provides great value for money. While pea protein is considered to be a complete protein, it does not contain high amounts of branch chain amino acids. This makes it a less than ideal protein source if this is your only source of protein. However, for those following a protein rich plant-based diet in general, pea protein can be very handy for boosting your protein intake.

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Whey Isolate (100% WPI)-Protein Powder-VPA Australia
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Premium Whey (100% WPC)-VPA Australia
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Pea Protein Isolate-VPA Australia
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VPA® Protein Blends

VPA® Australia has 3 different protein blends. Each has been formulated for a specific purpose and has it’s own benefits. You can find out more about these blends below.

Micellar Casein

VPA® Micellar Casein is a blend of casein and whey protein concentrate. Casein is rarely sold as a pure protein powder. This is because the structure of this protein means that it clumps together and doesn’t mix well, making it hard to drink. For this reason, casein is mostly sold as blend. Generally it is mixed with WPC added to improve it’s mixability and to make it more palatable.

The fact that casein clumps together could be seen as a reason to not use it at all. However, it is this clumping that makes it most useful as a protein source. How, you might ask? The natural clumping of casein means that it digests far more slowly than either WPC or WPI. This in turns provides a slower and sustained release of amino acids making it a particularly useful protein to have before bed or when you have a long time between protein meals.

Complete Tri-Protein

VPA® Complete Tri-Protein is a blend of 1/3 whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, and casein. The purpose of this blend is to provide both an immediate yet sustained release of amino acids over time. First the WPI is digested, followed by WPC, and finally casein.

There are few advantages of Complete Tri-Protein blend over a pure protein powder:

  • It keeps you feeling full for longer. The addition of the slower digested WPC and casein means that Complete will keep you feeling satisfied for longer in comparison to a pure protein powder. This makes it more suitable if you have a long time between protein meals.
  • In comparison to a casein-whey blend, Complete protein provides an immediate release of amino acids making it more suitable for use after training.

Premium Plant Protein Powder

Many plant-based proteins are not complete proteins. This means that they do not contain all of the essential amino acids (EAAs). When plant-based proteins arecomplete, they rarely provide the optimal balance or quantity of EAAs. For this reason, plant-based protein powders are better when sold as blends. Blends are generally formulated so that together the different plant proteins provide the EAAs needed for optimal muscle repair and recovery.

VPA® Premium Plant certified vegan protein combines four different protein sources: pea protein, rice protein, pumpkin seed protein and sacha inchi protein. Together these proteins combine to provide a high-quality complete protein source.

Hopefully this blog has helped you decide between a pure protein powder or a protein blend. There is always a protein powder to suit your needs and budget.

Micellar Casein-Protein Powder-VPA Australia
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Complete Tri-Protein-Protein Powder-VPA Australia
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Premium Plant Vegan Protein-VPA Australia
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Sally Mitchell

Sally Mitchell (BSc, MHumNut) is a scientist, university qualified nutritionist and VPA staff member. She brings a nerdy love of numbers, data, and science wit her to VPA. Her favourite VPA product is coffee Breakfast Shake. She enjoys powerlifting and running but, sadly, does both poorly.

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