Things You Need To Know
- Protein powders are great for building muscle, curbing appetite, and as part of a weight loss or weight management program.
- Not all protein powders are the same. There are different types that work well for different goals. Research the varieties and pick what’s best for you
- Whey concentrate is the cheapest form of whey protein powder, but is also the least pure form and contains more fats and carbs than whey isolates.
- Casein protein powders are also great for building muscle and should be taken before bed.
- If you want a plant-based protein powder, rice and pea protein are your best options.
Table Of Contents
Whether you’re trying to lose weight or body fat, or simply put on some lean muscle, it’s critical that you’re eating enough protein. Not everyone can eat enough during the day so many turn to protein powders in order hit their daily protein intake.
However, purchasing a protein powder can be confusing. There are a million different brands selling what seems like a million different types of protein.
REMEMBER: Not all proteins are created equal.
Various types of protein powders are made from different sources, processes and methods, which can affect the quality and purity.
It’s also important to note that not all protein powders are good quality. Don’t be fooled by different marketing techniques and hypes of a new compound or ingredient addition to a protein blend.
Read the ingredient labels and make sure to do your due diligence on what you’re putting into your body.
But not to fear, we’ll lay out the differences and hopefully make it as easy as possible for you to choose the best protein powder for you.
Why you should use a protein supplement
Women use protein supplements to help them achieve various health and fitness goals.
A common goal for many is to increase lean muscle while simultaneously decreasing body fat. This gives your physique a more “toned”, defined look. Protein powder can help you achieve this goal.
Protein can also help curb your appetite and cravings if you’re trying to lose weight. On the flip side, protein powder can help build up your muscle mass and strength. Check out IIFYM Explained: A Simple Guide To Flexible Dieting to see how much protein you need daily to lose weight/body fat, or build up muscle mass.
So let’s cover the basic types of protein powder and see which works best for you and your goals. Remember, there isn’t a single best protein powder for women: it all depends on your preferences and objectives!
The most popular type of protein powder is whey protein. It’s abundant in amino acids (the building blocks of protein), it’s fast absorbing, tastes awesome, and is generally great for building muscle.
Whey is made as part of the cheese-making process. During this process, the milk curdles (also called casein) are separated out, and the remaining liquid is known as whey (also called milk serum). From there, the whey is processed into a powder and sold, or added as an ingredient to protein bars, baked goods, etc.
One reason whey protein is so popular is because it’s affordable. In terms of grams of protein per dollar, and it’s effectiveness in helping build muscle, you get a lot of bang for your buck.
Taking all of these awesome benefits into consideration, it’s important to know that there are different types of whey protein powder.
Whey protein can be made and separated through different manufacturing processes. The three most popular forms of whey protein are concentrates, isolates and hydrolysates. Each of these have their own characteristics and benefits.
Whey Protein Concentrate
Whey concentrate is the most economic and common form of whey protein on store shelves. If you check the labels of protein powders, concentrate is typically labeled in protein “matrixes” or “blends”.
Though concentrates are typically the most cost friendly form of protein powder, they are considered less “pure” than other forms of whey.
Due to the nature of label regulation and the process by which they are created, concentrates are typically only 30-90% protein by weight, meaning there are potentially lots of other carbs/fats in the blends (dependending on the brand/product).
Concentrates generally have low levels of lactose and cholesterol, but not as low as whey isolates and hydrolysates. Whey protein concentrate also tends to have a higher lipid (energy storing molecules like fats, waxes, glycerides, etc.) content than other forms of whey protein.
Due to their costs however, concentrates are best for those trying to add muscle on a budget. However due to their lack of purity and relatively high levels of fats/lipids, they may not be the best choice for weight management and those using protein shakes as part of a fat loss regimen… for that we recommend Whey Protein Isolates.
Whey Protein Isolate
- Maintaining lean mass while dropping body fat (toning)
- Building lean muscle
- Weight/appetite control
Isolates are a more pure form of protein powder than concentrates. The process in which they are made allows the larger proteins to be broken down into smaller pieces that are able to be absorbed into your system faster than other forms of protein.
This process also helps remove excess fats, cholesterol and lactose while making it easier for you to digest. Yeah buddy!
Whey isolate products have a higher percentage of protein by weight than standard whey concentrate products as isolate is upwards of 90% protein by weight.
They are generally considered one of the more concentrated forms of whey protein supplements, which allows a higher availability of protein to promote muscle growth and recovery. The isolate form of whey is also less allergenic due to the lower lactose levels.
IMPORTANT: There are two ways to produce whey isolate which affects how high quality the product is.
- Ion exchangers that utilize heat
When protein is isolated through heat, many of the important and beneficial micro-fractions and peptides of the protein can be essentially burned away, degrading the quality.
Micro-filtrated isolates maintain the micro-fractions and peptides, preserving the quality and integrity.
Our top recommendation for whey isolates is PrettyFit Whey, which is a non-GMO, cold-processed ultra micro-filtered whey that contains digestive enzymes for even easier digestion. Plus you can try it FREE!