The scoop on protein powders
Nutritionally speaking and taste-wise, most people favor animal proteins over vegetable proteins.
- The most popular animal protein is whey protein.
- The most popular vegetable protein types are soy, rice, and pea protein. Most people use vegetable protein powders because of a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.
Whey protein comes from milk. There are two varieties.
- Whey Concentrate: More economical per gram of protein, has a low lactose level, and has only trace amounts of fat and carbohydrates
- Whey Isolate: Virtually fat-free, typically lactose-free, tends to taste slightly better than whey concentrate
Casein or Milk Protein
Casein protein is another milk protein. Because most milk protein (80%) is casein, the terms “milk protein” and “casein protein” are used interchangeably. The main difference between whey and casein: The digestive system absorbs whey quickly, while casein is absorbed slowly and steadily.
Like milk proteins, egg-white protein is also naturally low in fat and carbohydrates. It’s also cholesterol-free and an option for individuals who want to avoid dairy products.
Plant proteins are alternatives to whey, milk or egg-white protein. They come from a variety of sources, including peas, hemp, sprouts, and grains and seeds such as brown rice, quinoa, millet, spirulina, chia, and more. They’re high in vitamins and minerals, and often provide antioxidants, amino acids, fiber and more.
Soy may have additional benefits, too. The isoflavones in soy may provide antioxidant, support heart health and is often used by women transitioning through menopause.
Beef protein has become extremely popular for those looking for a non-dairy, non-plant protein. They do not taste like beef, and come in various flavors.