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With so many different types of protein powders out there, it can be difficult to know which one is best for you. Here’s our take on some of the most popular protein supplements right now and how they compare with eachother.
The different types of protein powder can be fit into one of two categories: animal protein and plant protein.
Animal Protein: Whey and Casein
Of all of the different types of animal protein out there, whey is definitely the most popular for its taste and cost, as well as it’s nutritional value. Whey protein is packed with essential amino acids that are digested, absorbed and metabolised in only 20 minutes – that’s fast, even if we compare it to protein-packed whole foods. Pretty impressive!
Numerous studies have been done over the years looking into the benefits of this supplement, and it has been shown to not only help you to increase strength and reduce fat mass, but also enhance your immune system. Of course, whey protein isn’t for everyone, but regarding its nutritional value, it's pretty hard to beat.
Next up is milk/casein protein. While whey protein is digested quickly, casein takes several hours. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing! The slow stream of amino acids that come from casein protects your existing muscle mass and keeps tissue breakdown during exercise to a minimum.
It is worth bearing in mind, however, that despite it being anti-catabolic, studies have shown that whey protein remains superior when it comes to maintaining muscle mass during rest periods.
Plant Protein: Pea and Hemp
Plant protein has undoubtedly seen a rise in popularity recently, and pea protein is up there as one of the top. If compared side by side, pea protein doesn’t look to have much on whey protein – it doesn’t contain nearly the same amount of BCAAs and whey is more effective when it comes to fat burning and muscle building.
However, pea protein does come with its own benefits. Not only is it suitable for vegans, but it also contains far more arginine than whey. Arginine is not an essential amino acid, but it certainly helps when it comes to building muscle and therefore supplementing with pea protein is certainly not a waste of your time and money.
Last but not least is hemp protein. Hemp protein, along with soy, is one of the only plant-based protein sources that contain all of our essential amino acids. It is also high in fibre, easy on the digestive system and, unlike whey protein, does not contain additives and hexane extract. Like pea protein, hemp protein is also sustainable unlike whey protein, so it is definitely worth looking in to.
These are such just some of the most popular protein supplements out there, but there are plenty of others for you to experiment with. Which is your favourite protein supplement? Let us know in the comments.