Whey protein, whey isolate, vegan protein powder, brown rice protein - the list goes on! If you’re a part of my Facebook Tribe, you would have heard me speak about the importance of protein and its benefits in helping you stay fuller for longer, maintaining muscle and supporting a healthy weight. But with the amount of protein powders on the market, it’s hard to know which one to choose. As a general rule, fewer ingredients will usually indicate a better product, eliminating additives like artificial sweeteners and fillers. The cost will usually indicate quality as well, so if the price sounds too good to be true in comparison to others - I would be wary and again always check the ingredients list before buying! I’ve broken down some of the protein categories below to help flesh out what your options are to help find the best option for you.
Whey protein types generally contain all essential amino acids and therefore are a great one stop protein shop! Broadly speaking, the difference between Whey Isolate, Concentrate and Hydrolysate is the protein content. Whey Concentrate (WPC) contains around 60-90%, Whey Isolate (WPI) about 90% and Whey Hydrolysate (WPH) 99%. You’ll find that as the protein content increases so does the price as well as a stronger taste. These guys contain diary so if you have food intolerances then perhaps a plant-based option is better for you.
Casein protein is often a go to for weight loss as the type of protein takes longer to fully break-down and absorb helping you feel full for longer. Casein generally has the same amount of protein content as whey, depending on the brand and product you buy, and usually is more expensive.
There are a couple of different plant-based types of protein powder with soy being one of the few that contain all essential amino acids. Pea-protein is another great vegan option that is generally soy, gluten and lactose friendly (always double check the ingredients label), however will usually lack a few of the essential amino acids. Personally, I prefer to have plant-based protein, not because of dairy intolerances but purely because I enjoy the taste better than the whey versions.
Below are a few suggested brands for my Australian, American and UK friends if you’re considering adding protein powder to your pantry!
Price: 52 - 62AUD (1kg)
Types: Whey, Pea-Protein
Flavours: Vanilla, Salted caramel, Chocolate
Womens Best (INT)
Price: 64.99 - 76.98 AUD (900g-1kg)
39.99 - 54.98 US (2.2lb)
24.99 - 37.99 GBP (900g-1kg)
Types: Whey Isolate, Pea + Rice mix, Casein
Flavours: A range of fun flavours from cookies and cream to peanut butter marshmallow etc.
My protein (INT)
Price: 37.99 - 50.99 AUD (1kg)
17.50 - 36.99 US (2.0-2.2lb)
12.99 - 26.99 GBP (1kg)
Types: Whey Concentrate + Isolate, Soy, Pea, Casein
Flavours: 40 different kinds of flavours*
*far too many to list all however the usual suspects (vanilla, chocolate, banana) are included in this list.
Remember guys, protein powders are not a necessity and does not need to be replaced with protein that you get from food, but that's of course if you are actually getting enough. Daily protein recommendations will differ depending on a variety of different things such as age, weight and activity levels but as a general rule, daily recommendations for an untrained healthy adult aim for a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day. However, when training my clients or those in my Tribe, who are predominantly active women, I want to go beyond just the minimum of preventing protein deficiency. For my women who train and are active daily, I like to go beyond the recommended to about 1.4-2.0 g/kg (or around 0.64-0.9 g/lb) of body mass. This goes beyond just keeping at a minimum level to avoid the deficiency but will assist in the creation of new proteins for your body in a process called protein synthesis. But even beyond this we may need even more protein in our diets not just to survive but to thrive! Promoting improved immunity, metabolism, satiety, weight management and performance.
This is why often supplementation can be an easy way to get extra protein in your diet if you’re struggling to meet requirements, or just prefer your protein in a breakfast smoothie rather than consuming the physical food. which in my personal case, I do. On the other hand, If you are hitting your protein requirements through foods then don’t feel as though you need to supplement with protein powder. I hope this guide has helped to flesh out what ones to look for and remember always do what works for you!