Don't be left out!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Protein Powder 101

Casein, soy, and whey, Oh my!  There are numerous types of protein powders available on the market today and it's pretty easy to get confused when trying to choose one right for you.

Whole foods are a better choice when it comes to nutrition but sometimes protein powders are just easier, faster, and more convenient.  Put a scoop or two in a baggie, grab a bottle and some water and your set.  No fridge or cooler required.  Just mix when you're ready.  Oh, and pray no one thinks your a drug dealer with powder in a bag.

Weather you're shopping online, in your grocery store or specially supplement shop there tend to be three main types of protein I see most often; Whey, Casein and Soy. When making a selection, here are some items to consider- how you will be using it (i.e. meal replacement, post workout, etc), do you like the taste, does it fit your nutritional needs, does it fit your budget?   Below I've given you a few pros, cons and usage ideas for each.  

Whey Protein
  • Product of milk 
  • Digests quickly 
  • Contains a large amount of BCAA's (Branched Chain Amino Acids) 
  • Whey Protein Isolate is a version of whey protein often found with less fat and carbohydrates and even less lactose but it is more expensive.  
  • Great for post workout

  • Product of milk 
  • Slow to digest 
  • Not as many BCAA's compared to Whey
  • Great before bed to keep protein synthesis higher while sleeping
  • May be a good choice for meal replacement as it's said to keep you fuller, longer
  • Look for "calcium caseinate", which is casein protein in it's purest form  

Soy Protein
  • Plant based 
  • Can be a good source of protein for vegans/people with lactose issues
  • High in many vitamins and minerals 
  • Higher in carbohydrates compared to casein or whey
  • Soy Protein Isolate contains more isoflavones which can help protect you from some types of cancer and may help regulate blood pressure and cholesterol

And to add to the confusion just a little more it is possible for a protein powered to contain a mixture of two or three of the types mentioned above.  For instance, my new favorite flavor, Graham Cracker Muscle Milk contains a mix of both whey protein isolate and calcium caseinate.

If you're still struggling to make a selection head on over to your nearest, reputable supplement shop.  They often have samples and/or a money back guarantee if you try the product and don't like it.

Your turn: Do you have a favorite protein powered?    


  1. This was such a helpful breakdown! The choices for protein powder make my head spin.

  2. I'm bookmarking this to refer people to. I get lots of questions on my blog about protein powder. I personally use Green Smoothie Girl plant-based protein.

  3. Great post. I currently use Nature's Research Mint Chocolate, its a whey protein powder and has BCAAs and Glutamine and no artificial sweeteners which is important to me bc my body cannot handle any sugar alcohols, etc. I love that it gives me a lot of protein (24 grams) without a lot of carbs (3 g) and only 120 calories. It also mixes really well in water, because no one likes clumpy protein shakes, at least I know I don't!

  4. Just found your blog! I love MRM 100% Whey Protein in Chocolate or Vanilla :) It is made from all natural ingredients so no additives or anything like that. It blends well and bakes well; and it tastes good too! Great post!