Close up of protein powder and scoops

GUIDE TO PROTEIN POWDERS

Confused by the different protein powders available? You’re not the only one. Not so long ago, protein powder was made from whey, and if you were lucky you had a choice of vanilla or chocolate flavour. These days there are numerous different sources and flavours – but which is best for you? Here are some tips to help you decide…

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Whey Protein Powder

Whey is often considered to be the “original and best” when it comes to protein powders; it provides the most effective protein for our bodies to use. It has 21g of protein per 30g scoop and 13% of that protein is leucine, the amino acid that triggers muscle growth and repair. If you’re lactose intolerant, whey isolate should be fine for you to use, as milk sugar is removed.

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Brown Rice Protein Powder

This is made from ground rice grains which are treated with enzymes to separate the protein. One 30g scoop of powder gives you as much protein as 500g of rice – 23g. It’s easy on the stomach and considered to be just as effective as whey protein.

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Pea Protein Powder

This is made by extracting protein from yellow split peas and is often the protein powder of choice for vegans. A 30g scoop provides 23g of protein, and it’s high in leucine too. It is lacking in some other important amino acids though, so it’s worth pairing it with another plant protein such as oat bran in order to avoid missing out. The fibre from the split peas is removed during processing, so there should be no gassy side effects from using pea protein

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Hemp Protein Powder

Another vegan superfood, hemp has the added benefit of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids which are often lacking in the modern diet. A 30g scoop provides 16g of protein.Hemp also has all 21 amino acids, but not in the quantities you would find in animal based proteins. Although it does contain leucine, it is present in lower amounts. This is easily remedied by mixing hemp protein with pea protein in order to get the benefits of both. Hemp does have a high amount of fibre though, which can cause bloating and gas.

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Casein Powder

Casein is a dairy by-product (as is whey), and has a reputation for being a “fat blaster.” A 30g scoop provides 26g of protein, and it forms a jelly-like substance in the stomach which means you feel full for longer. Casein also helps to keep muscle from breaking down so it’s good for those aiming to lose weight without dropping muscle too. Studies have found that taking casein before bed can improve muscle repair by more than 20% which can help to speed up progress in training.

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When shopping for protein powder you might just go for whichever is on special offer, or the brand your friend uses – but it is worth taking a look at the pros and cons of each type of protein, and deciding which will work best for you.