THE WHO'S WHO OF PROTEIN
The essential guide to picking the right powder.
Choosing the right protein powder can be a tricky task! There’s whey protein isolate, concentrate, casein, hydrolysed isolate, egg albumin, collagen... and we haven’t even touched on the plant-based blends yet.. Feeling confused about which protein is right for you? Let us simplify it!
Whey is the most versatile member of the protein family and is offered in variety of different blends. In its liquid state, whey is a mixture of mainly water, with a little bit of protein, fat, carbohydrate and lactose. In order to turn the liquid into powder it is carefully filtered to remove the excess fat, carbs, lactose and any of the other naturally occurring ingredients - leaving a powder consisting of roughly 80% protein. This is what we call WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE. This is the most basic of the whey blends and is correspondingly on the cheaper end of the scale, making it more of an entry level protein and not something we'd generally recommend here at FIT.
If the concentrate is further filtered to remove a little more lactose, carbs and fat you are left with WHEY PROTEIN ISOLATE, which is roughly 90% protein and much more our style! Isolates are generally the fan-fav when it comes to protein. They’re quick absorbing, low in carbs and easily digested. Thanks to their speedy absorption rate and their ability to supply the muscles with the nutrients required for recovery and growth, isolates make the perfect pre-and post-workout protein fix. Rival US Native Pro 100 earns the title of FIT favourite when it comes to isolates!
HYDROLYSED WHEY PROTEIN ISOLATE is the next in line and as its name suggests, consists of isolates which have been hydrolysed to amino acids. This reduces the fat, carb and lactose content even further and facilitates a much more rapid digestion than its isolate and concentrate counterparts. Hydro contains roughly 99% protein and is essentially pre-digested making it easier to tolerate for people with allergies and intolerances. Hello happy tummy! We’re obsessing over Rule1 ISO right now, and you should be too!
CASEIN is likes whey’s long lost cousin - related but from a different protein. It has a slow rate of digestion, which results in a gradual but steady release of amino acids into the circulation. Due to its slow absorption, casein is commonly used during sleep to support and sustain the long period of anabolism for enhanced muscle growth. So basically your guns grow why you snooze – it doesn’t get much better that! Gen-Tec Casein Custard scores a 10/10 if you’re asking!
COLLAGEN is the gold standard when it comes to protein. This stuff is the most abundant protein in the human body and is found everywhere – from skin and muscles to bones and joints. It’s basically the glue that holds us together. Seriously, this stuff is responsible for healthy hair, skin, nails, tendons, ligaments, artery walls – we could go on for days! Now alongside its impressive role in promoting the perfect pout, collagen has the incredible ability to aid in the production of creatine – a compound essential for building muscle and producing energy. Collagen is found in the flesh and connective tissue of beef (bovine collagen) and fish (marine collagen) and gets a big fat high five from the team at FIT. We are completely infatuated with ATP Science’s No Whey hydrolysed bovine collagen – you NEED to try this stuff!
The last of the animal based blends is our humble friend EGG ALBUMIN – AKA protein sourced from eggs. It’s obtained by isolating the egg white, pulverising it, removing the fat via filtration and drying the remains into a powder. Egg white protein delivers a medium rate of digestion, allowing for a steady sustained release of amino acids. Being dairy, legume and grain free, egg protein is the bees’ knees for anyone following a paleo diet or restricted by allergies. For a super smooth and eggxelent hypoallergenic protein fix check out Protein Supplies Australia Paleo Pro.
Now, just when you thought things couldn’t get any more complicated, the plant-based blends emerge - introducing PEA PROTEIN. This bad boy is made from yellow split peas and generally takes the title for the most popular vegan blend. It’s easily absorbed and contains a relatively high protein content for a wholefood source. Being all natural and free from soy, gluten and lactose, pea protein is a damn good go-to for people prone to intolerances and allergies. We’ve loving Passion Projects in the pea protein department and we can guarantee you will too!
BROWN RICE is next on the list, and another hidden gem for the intolerant folk since it generally contains nothing but.. you guessed it.. Rice! Being sourced from a grain, it does have a higher carbohydrate content than some of the other protein blends, and a medium digestion rate, which makes it a perfect meal-replacement or snack option. Unlike whey, both pea and brown rice protein alone do not contain all nine of the essential amino acids. This is why you will often notice a blend of the two - when pea and rice are combined, all nine essential amino acids are available and the protein becomes complete. Check out Prana on the brown rice front – these guys have totally nailed the perfect sweet, yet smooth blend of rice-based protein. Good luck trying to choose a flavour!
As its name suggests, SOY PROTEIN is another plant-based variation made from hulled, dried and ground soybeans. Unlike the other vegan options, soy protein contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. The digestibility and absorption of soy protein is however, much slower than its milk and egg containing colleagues. Truth be told, we’re not a huge fan of soy around here – we save our shelf space for the good stuff!
HEMP is the last of the plant-based blends and contains all 21 amino acids, making it both a complete protein and possibly the most nutritious member of the gang. It’s manufactured from hemp seeds that are cold pressed to extract the oil, with the left-over meal cold-milled to separate the protein. It is roughly 50% protein and packs a healthy punch of fibre, chlorophyll, minerals, branch-chain amino acids, antioxidants and essential fatty acids. Hemps’ impressive nutrition profile means it’s easily digested and a kick ass all-rounder! Hemp Protein Australia takes the cake when it comes to hemp-based blends – try it for yourself!
- Anna Warren