Choosing a protein powder can be an overwhelming experience, there’s isolate, concentrate, whey, casein, collagen …and that’s just a start. It’s important you know what you’re trying to achieve by adding a powder into your diet.
While it’s easy to get the protein we need from food, protein powders can be a convenient option when used as an on-the-go snack or added to breakfasts, smoothies or smoothie bowls to make them more balanced and filling. If you go down the powder path, then use these tips to pick your winner.
How to pick a winning protein powder
- For the best quality protein pick 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 tends to be lower quality. Whey is the most common found in supplement stores.
- 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, casein, soy and pea proteins are your best bet. Unlike casein, which coagulates in the stomach, these proteins do not – which means they are digested quickly and the amino acid absorption occurs faster.
- Collagen is a structural protein that binds cells and tissues together, so 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 from Sports Dietitians from the Australian Institute of Sport. Do not bother choosing it for benefits for your skin – the evidence is weak in this area. Collagen powder is a good choice however does tend to be more expensive that it’s whey based cousins.
- Choose a powder that has a high per cent of protein – 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 read ‘100% Whey’ as this means the protein is 100% Whey but the powder is still likely to contain fillers. Always read the nutritional info label
- The less ingredients the better.
For good food sources of protein, see article here