There are a lot of different protein powders on the market today: whey protein, casein, pea protein, rice protein, soy protein and more. So, how do you choose the best protein powder for you? Well, there are positives and negatives to each of these types of protein powder. Let’s explore some of them.
Positive: Like whey protein, casein comes from milk and is made up of all nine essential amino acids. The body cannot produce essential amino acids on its own and must obtain them through food consumption.
Negative: According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, casein is digested much slower than whey protein. Whey is known as a “fast-acting” protein that the body breaks down quickly while casein can be referred to as a “slow-acting” protein.
Positive: Pea protein is great for vegans looking to increase their protein intake because, unlike casein and whey, it does not contain any animal products.
Negative: This protein source is deficient in the amino acid cysteine, so it is not considered a complete protein.
Positive: Just like pea protein, rice is a vegan-friendly protein powder.
Negative: And just like pea protein, rice protein powder is also “low in certain amino acids – namely lysine,” according to Daily Burn. “This means that relying on rice protein powder as your sole source of protein likely isn’t a good idea.”
Positive: Soybeans, unlike many other plant-based foods, are a complete source of protein and contain all of the essential amino acids.
Negative: According to Men’s Health, soy contains genistein and daidzein which are known as plant-produced estrogens that when consumed in high enough quantities can cause people to “experience gender-bending nightmares.”
The article also cites a 2005 Journal of Nutrition study that compared soy protein to casein. The study claims that “a significantly larger portion of soy is degraded to the waste product urea. Moreover, it contributes to less protein synthesis in the body.”
Positive: Whey is a complete protein that contains all nine of the essential amino acids. As a fast-acting protein, it is also absorbed by the body very quickly.
Negative: Whey protein is a dairy product, so it is not for vegans. However, as this positive-negative exercise showed, it is the optimal supplement for just about anyone!
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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.