How To Choose A Protein Shake
Trying to find the perfect protein shake can be challenging. There are different brands, flavours, protein sources, and reasons for drinking them in the first place. Are you trying to lose weight? Build muscle mass? Gain weight? Or looking for a good meal replacement?
Exploring the four basic types of protein sources (whey, casein, soy, and egg), will help you decide which option is right for you!
Whey is widely considered to be the ultimate protein source. According to Merriam-Webster.com, it is derived from milk in the cheese-making process. Whey is a complete protein, which means that it provides your body with all of the amino acids necessary to build and maintain muscle mass. It is also the most efficiently digested, which is an advantage when your muscles need to refuel after an intense workout. Scientific research has shown that whey proteins may even be beneficial to your immune system. Whey protein shakes are a good choice for nearly everyone. Dieters should choose a powder that is high in protein and low in fat and calories. Athletes and body builders should choose a shake that is high in protein and carbohydrates.
Casein is another protein found in milk, and is the primary protein in cheese, as per Merriam-Webster.com. It is a much more slowly digested protein, which aids in creating an unfavourable environment for muscle breakdown. Casein protein shakes are a good choice for someone looking for a weight gainer, as they are generally higher in fat and calories. Due to this, it can also be a good choice as a meal replacement.
Soy is a plant-based protein (made from soy beans) that is low in fat and cholesterol. Protein shakes made with soy lack animal products and therefore are perfect for someone lactose intolerant or vegetarian/vegan. In the fitness world, soy is generally considered to be an inferior protein source. It is not as readily digested or absorbed as compared to the other protein sources. There is a lot of conflicting information available on the benefits and disadvantages of soy, including the effects of plant estrogens on your body.
Albumen (Egg Proteins)
Albumen, or egg white powder, is considered to be another high quality protein source. It is easily digested, and nearly devoid of fat, carbohydrates, cholesterol, and dairy products. Egg white proteins are an ideal choice for a protein shake if you are trying to lose weight or are a vegetarian. They are also a good choice for meal replacement as albumen helps to keep you feel satiated for a longer period of time.
Blended Protein Sources
Another alternative is to purchase a protein shake with mixed protein sources. Most often these tend to be made from milk proteins, which are a combination of casein and whey. Eggs is also a common ingredient. The benefit of blended powders is that they combine a quickly absorbed protein source with another that will be more slowly digested over several hours. A disadvantage is that they tend to be more costly.
After having considered the different protein sources you should now be able to make an informed choice. Each protein is unique and offers a variety of advantages and disadvantages. After identifying what your goals are, you should be well on your way to choosing the perfect protein shake for your needs.