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What Type of Protein Should You Choose?

Most athletes know how important protein is since it provides the necessary building blocks to produce the amino acids that the body uses to build lean muscle tissue. Protein cannot be stored in the body like fat, it must be continually restocked, therefore, those who train to build lean muscle must replenish it frequently. It can be difficult (and boring) to meet your daily recommendation on chicken alone, which is why protein powders are not only so popular, a vital part of a successful bodybuilding regimen.

If you have ever been to a sports supplements store, you will have noticed the array of selection, and this can be very overwhelming. as you’re staring at a wall of whey protein supplements wondering what it all means. What’s the difference between casein, and isolate, and which is the best choice for me?
Here we will explain some of the differences so you can feel confident the next time you decide to buy.

Whey Protein Isolate

Isolates undergo multiple filtration levels to remove lactose and fat content without losing their biological activity. The resultant is 90-95% protein content with minimal or no fats and carbs and even lactose. People who are generally lactose intolerant use whey protein isolate. Whey proteins are optimized to contain the best combinations of amino acids to improve body composition and athletic performance.
It is highly soluble and absorbed by the body quicker than other proteins which is useful as a fast nourishment.

Whey Protein Concentrate

Has a lower biological value than whey protein isolate. However, it is less expensive than isolate.
Provides same benefits as isolate version, but less efficiently. Whey protein concentrate is the best choice if your goal is to maintain a healthy weight and you’re using shakes in between meals to help keep hunger at bay. It is actually digested a little slower than an isolate.

Hydrolyzed Whey

It contains the same amino acid and micro-fraction content, but the hydrolyzed version is smaller and faster. Hydrolyzed whey protein can be considered as an up-scaled version of isolate. It is pre-digested whey protein, which means it typically release aminos at a faster rate and the digestion process will be quick.


This type of protein is digested slower than any other type. The benefit of this is that the presence of amino acids in the bloodstream are elevated and sustained for about 6 to 7 hours. This provides a great anti-catabolic effect in preventing muscle breakdown. Casein is classified as anti-catabolic which means that it prevents excessive protein breakdown. You can speed up muscle recovery by having 30 to 40 grams of a slow-burning protein like casein before bed.

Hemp Protein

If the lactose in whey protein does not agree with your stomach, you might want to try a vegan powder like hemp. It provides essential fatty acids, an array of essential amino acids and relatively high levels of branched-chain amino acids that are important in the metabolism in exercising muscles. Hemp has as high fiber and antioxidant content.

Soy Protein

One of the most important factors to look at when evaluating a protein powder product is the amino acid profile. There are 22 types of amino acids used by the human body; nine of these cannot be synthesized by the body and must be obtained from dietary sources. Both soy and whey protein are “complete” proteins, meaning that they contain these nine essential amino acids. However, they differ slightly in their relative concentrations of the essential amino acids. For example, whey protein tends to be higher in leucine, isoleucine, methionine, and lysine. Soy, on the other hand, is higher than whey protein in arginine, phenylalanine, and tryptophan.
Since lysine is associated with muscle growth and accelerated fat loss, many bodybuilders choose whey protein. Both soy and whey protein contain adequate amounts of essential and nonessential amino acids, so if you need to be on a vegetarian diet, it is a good substitute.

Pea Protein
Pea protein is another great vegan option that is drastically increasing in popularity. It does not upset the stomach and doesn’t cause bloating, a common side effect of many other protein powders and increases muscle thickness just as potently as dairy-based proteins. It has a great amino acid profile, including a lot of the branched-chain amino acids that are well-known for decreasing muscle breakdown after workouts. It doesn’t hurt that it contains about five more grams of protein per serving than whey protein. Besides building muscle, pea protein has many added health benefits, including regulating blood sugar and lowering blood pressure.

In conclusion, you can see that any of these options all beneficial and should be included in any athlete, bodybuilder or vegan diet for muscle building, recovery or general health. The type of protein powder you choose should reflect your dietary needs and food preferences. If you’re still stumped on which variety to choose, feel free to reach out to our educated staff at Urban Nutrition Center, and feel confident that you made the right choice when it comes time to shake-up your recovery drink post-workout!