Choosing a protein powder can be an overwhelming experience, there’s isolate, concentrate, whey, casein, collagen… and that’s just a start.
While it is easy to get the protein we need from food, protein powders can be a convenient option. They can be used as an on-the-go snack or added to breakfasts, smoothies or smoothie bowls to make them more balanced and filling.
How to pick a good protein powder.
If you go down the powder path, then use these tips to pick your winner.
- For the best quality protein choose either whey, casein, collagen or soy powder. Their ‘high biological value’ protein means they contain good levels of all of the amino acids. Pea and rice proteins are usually lower in quality.
- Whether it’s collagen, whey, casein, soy or pea protein, our bodies work to break down the protein chains into amino acids for absorption into the blood stream. If you’re after faster digestion and absorption then whey, soy and pea protein powders are best. Unlike casein, which coagulates in the stomach, these proteins do not – which means they are digested quickly and the amino acid absorption occurs faster.
- Choose a powder that has a high per cent of protein. So, look for between 80 to 90g of protein per 100g. For whey proteins this is usually the whey protein isolate (WPI) with no added sugars or fillers. Be wary of the labels that state ‘100% Whey’ because while this means the protein is 100% whey, the powder is still likely to contain fillers.
- The less ingredients the better.
What about collagen?
- Collagen is a structural protein that binds cells and tissues together. As such, collagen protein powders are made from the bones, skins and connective tissues of animals.
- There are some studies supporting a potential benefit of collagen supplements on joint pain with more research underway.
- Do not bother choosing it for benefits for your skin because the evidence is weak in this area.
❝Collagen powder is a good choice however, it is usually more expensive than whey based powders.