The most universally accepted fitness supplements on the market that are proven to show results are protein supplements. It’s no surprise why so many professionals recommend taking a protein supplement if diet alone doesn’t give you enough protein.
However, when it comes to protein supplements you have so many choices. There are many different brands, flavors, and kinds of protein. This article is going to start from the top and cover the types of protein supplements and which one you should be taking. I will also give out my best recommendation and tell you why.
Protein Supplement #1 – Whey Protein
Whey protein is by far the most popular type of protein supplement on the market today. It is a protein derived from dairy and is a byproduct in the process of making cheese. It is used in a variety of foods as an additive and is most widely used as a supplement to increase lean muscle mass gains.
The reason why whey protein is so popular is that it is one of the fastest digestible types of protein available. A fast digesting protein is excellent in post-workout recovery as it can assist in starting the recovery process quicker. By starting your recovery quicker, you give your body more time to build additional muscle before working out again. This is why the post-workout protein shake is so popular.
Protein Supplement #2 – Casein Protein
Casein protein is another dairy protein and is naturally found in milk. Unlike whey protein, casein is a slow digesting protein that provides a small continuous flow of protein throughout the day.
Casein protein is best used before fasting and sleeping due to it being slowly digested. It provides a continuous stream of protein to your muscles for growth and repair. It also helps prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue when you go prolonged periods of time without food.
Recently, casein protein has come under scrutiny due to a controversial study stating that high amounts of casein protein was linked to cancer in some animal tests. However, that controversial study has been debunked by multiple studies that followed soon after it was published.
Protein Supplement #3 – Soy Protein
Soy protein has been the go to protein supplement choice of many people seeking an alternative protein supplement to whey. Soy protein is a plant based protein source that is derived from soybeans.
Most people who choose soy protein do so because it is a vegetarian friendly protein source and some people may have lactose intolerance which most brands of whey and casein protein contain.
It is important to note that there is an ongoing debate as to the effects soy protein has on increasing the levels of estrogen in humans. Higher estrogen in men causes “moobs” and decreases testosterone production. Lower testosterone means less muscle growth. Keep in mind that there’s evidence and studies that show evidence for and against the theory that soy protein increases estrogen levels. Use it at your own discretion.
Protein Supplement #4 – Hemp Protein
Hemp protein supplements are relatively new to the market and many people are switching from whey protein to hemp protein. Hemp protein is a plant based protein that is also high in fiber and contains omega-6 essential fatty acids for inflammation fighting benefits.
Studies have shown hemp protein is better in helping people lose weight versus other types of protein thanks to its high fiber content.
When it comes to protein supplements I recommend you either go with whey protein, hemp protein, or a combination of both.
Casein protein is a long lasting protein source that doesn’t give your body enough fast acting protein during the critical post-workout period where you need to feed your muscles. It is a great secondary protein and has its uses but it can’t top whey if you had to pick only one.
Soy protein has been shown to increase estrogen levels for various studies. It also isn’t a complete protein as no plant based protein is. In addition, some people may find they have allergies to soybeans.
My reasoning behind going with whey protein and/or hemp protein is because of their powerful benefits they provide relative to their cons. For whey protein, it is simply the best protein supplement for post-workout recovery and provides some of the highest amounts of protein pound for pound than any other type of protein supplement. Hemp protein, while not a complete protein nor has as much protein per pound as whey, is still the most powerful plant based protein supplement on the market that offers other benefits such as a high fiber content to help control cravings in weight loss. It also is vegan and vegetarian friendly and it is rare to form an allergic reaction to this kind of protein.
I personally use whey protein and hemp protein for my protein supplements. When I make smoothies for my meal I tend to include hemp protein for a boost in protein and also fiber to make me feel more full after drinking a smoothie. After all, I am trying to replace a meal with a smoothie so I need a lot of fiber in it to feel full with so few calories. I also use whey protein for my post-workout shake and when I need a quick meal and don’t have access to any healthy food.
So, what kind of protein supplement do you take and why? As always, I’d love to hear your responses.