If you do an Internet search for protein, a mind-boggling number of results will come up – probably leaving you feeling confused. There are several different types of protein, each with its own purpose. Read on to find out the main types of protein and when you need them.
A basic and inexpensive product found in many supplement stores, whey concentrate is a good starting product, especially if you’re on a budget. On the plus side, it’s versatile – it can be used before and after workouts and as a between-meals snack. However, it can leave you feeling a little bloated and shouldn’t be used at night.
Casein breaks down slowly, so if you take it before bed, you’ll stay anabolic throughout the night. This means muscle tissue will continue to build up by utilising the protein in your body, as casein takes five to seven hours to break down. Its high glutamine content also helps boost the immune system, speeding up recovery.
This protein absorbs quickly and is ideal for people on low carb diets, as it has very low – sometimes zero – carbs or sugars. It can be used before and after workouts, supplying the muscle with nutrients to help them recover and grow. It is also not too expensive.
The highest quality available protein, hydrolysate also has the highest absorption rate, with peptides that can have an effective anabolic effect. It can be used before and after workouts and is easy on the digestive system. However, these optimum benefits are reflected in its price.
A good source of protein for vegetarians, soy has plenty of glutamine and BCAAs to aid recovery and arginine to enable nutrition to enter the muscles more quickly. It’s healthy in terms of cholesterol and boosts thyroid hormone output, speeding up the metabolism and aiding fat loss. It can be used pre and post-workout and as a snack.
Milk Protein Isolate
This contains casein and whey proteins and amino acids. It’s mainly used in a blended source containing multiple types of protein. It can be used at any time during the day but is not suitable to be used at night. It’s popularly used in protein bars, cereal bars, yoghurts and sports recovery drinks.
This is an old-fashioned source of protein, from the days before a variety of powders were available. It doesn’t contain yolk, so is cholesterol-free and low-fat. A medium-digesting protein, it keeps you satisfied for longer and its amino acid patterns are almost perfect for human growth.
Many nutritionists recommend finding a protein that agrees with you and giving it time to produce results – then, if it’s successful, stick with it.