Walking into a supplements store today can be a little overwhelming. There seems to be a supplement for everything and more and more products are coming to the market everyday. In order for exercisers to build and repair muscle, adequate protein intake is required with athletes needing slightly more protein than the average active individual. But what is the difference between different proteins?
A complete protein, meaning it contains all 20 amino acids used by the body, Whey is generally branded as the best and the most commonly used protein supplement. Fast and easy to digest (providing you aren’t lactose intolerant), the liquid component (whey) is extracted from milk in the cheese making process. Whey, in addition to high protein content, contains good fats, minerals and vitamins all of which are beneficial for the body while supporting fat burning, boosting the immune system, improving insulin sensitivity, and decreasing appetite. The only disadvantage of whey is that the lactose intolerant or vegan can not consume it.
Soy is renowned as one of the best non animal product sources of protein and a great alternative for vegetarians and vegans. Soy contains all nine essential amino acids, as well as good levels of zinc, potassium, iron, vitamin E and B complex vitamins. On top of this, soy has had a long history boasting the ability to lower cholesterol and prevent breast cancer. In recent years there have been an increasing amount of studies into soy to determine if the super food really is all it’s cracked up to be. Soy today is generally highly processed, and genetically modified and also appears in a large range of foods, but the jury still seems to be out on its pros and cons.
For those who are lactose intolerant and are keeping a cautious distance from soy protein, pea might be the answer. Suitable for vegetarians and vegans, as well as the gluten intolerant, unlike whey and soy, pea protein does not contain allergens. Higher than other plant based protein pea protein contains the same protein content per serve as whey protein. Pea protein contains a unique combination of essential amino acids that are great for muscle growth and weight loss.
Isolate vs concentrate
Protein Isolate and Protein Concentrate are often written all over supplement packaging, but what is the difference? Protein isolate is protein concentrate broken down even further than concentrate. The further breakdown results in smaller peptides which are more easily absorbed by the muscles but at the cost of other health benefits. In the digestive process our body will break down protein concentrate further so contrary to popular belief consuming isolate does not affect our muscle fibre’s absorption of the protein and does not affect muscle building. There are arguments which support both isolate and concentrate proteins and it seems they both have great advantages.