I get this question all the time! There are so many different choices for protein powder it can be incredibly overwhelming and leave even the most seasoned fitness junkie wondering, “what the heck is the difference?” Most of the protein powder you will see in GNC or your local gym wellness store is going to be a protein called Whey or Whey Isolate. These are usually the cheapest but there are other options like Hemp, Pea, Casein, Soy, and the list goes on and on. I am going to go over each one so you can make an educated decision and choose the best one for you!
Whey: Because this is the most common I will talk about this one first. Whey is a protein in milk and is the most common because it mixes easily without having a bad taste. This is usually the cheapest protein because Whey is a byproduct of the cheese making process. Whey protein powder also typically has minimal or no Carbs but is higher in fat content. This type of protein is ideal for those who care about taste, have no dairy allergies or food restrictions, and care about price. My favorite is Beverly International Whey protein in graham cracker flavor.
Casein: This is pronounced “kay-seen” and is also a milk protein and is a major component of cheese. Casein has Amino Acids, Carbohydrates, and Calcium which make it a good recovery protein for those who lift heavy weight on the regular. The Amino Acids are the biggest draw here and help to rebuild your muscles quickly. However Casein is typically more expensive than Whey, it doesn’t mix as well, and doesn’t taste as good as Whey. This type of protein is typically best suited for powerlifters and those who do Olympic style lifting with incredibly heavy weight. I love Optimum Nutrition Casein protein in chocolate.
Hemp: This type of protein is made of hemp seeds and contains a good amount of Amino Acids. This is probably my least favorite form of protein because it is expensive, can only be mixed with other foods (ie: a smoothie or oatmeal), and if you are vegan there are much better alternatives. One thing about Hemp protein is that it has been shown to reduce fatigue and stress in Hypertensive rats, meaning because of the molecular breakdown it is potentially beneficial to those with high blood pressure.
Pea, Soy, and Rice: All three of these proteins are vegan alternatives and are considered to be a more comparable Whey/Casein alternative than Hemp. They are all relatively cheap and Soy protein can even be mixed with water much like the other two milk options. They also have comparable macros to Whey/Casein making them all a great vegan or milk sensitive option.
Adding protein to your diet is just one piece of the macros puzzle and while it’s extremely important to be getting enough protein in your diet, it’s also important to make sure your other macros are in check as well! Need some help in this area? Check out my Facebook or Instagram for great tips on getting fit and if you want to send me a request to train with me, check out my website!