Protein is an essential nutrient for supporting muscle recovery and growth. However, getting all the protein your body needs from food alone can be challenging.
This is why many people turn to protein powders to fill in those gaps. I know I certainly use them every day! After all, protein powder is a convenient tool to increase your protein intake, and help you reach your fitness goals.
But, with so many different kinds of protein powder on the market, choosing the right one can be tough. Each type of protein powder has different properties and benefits.
If you want to know how to choose the right protein powder for you … keep reading! In this article, I’ll walk you through the different types of protein powders out there. I’ll also cover what you need to consider when choosing the right protein powder for your goals.
See, whether you're an athlete, or just looking to add more protein to your diet, keep reading ... because there's some helpful info in here for you. So, let's dive in and explore the world of protein powders, and which one is right for you!
Why Should You Use Protein Powder?
In general, protein powder has many benefits when it comes to a healthy and fit lifestyle. For me, it’s been an absolute game-changer. There are a lot of different things protein powder can help with…
Protein Powder Can Help Support Muscle Recovery and Growth
Protein is a basic building block for muscle tissue. This makes it an essential nutrient for anyone who works out or stays active. If building muscle is your goal, a high-quality protein powder can make a big difference!
Protein Powder Can Help Support Weight Loss
Protein takes longer for your body to digest than carbs and fats. That means that it can keep you feeling fuller for longer. Pretty crazy, right?
Well, that can also make it easier for you to maintain a calorie deficit and achieve your weight loss goals. Not only does it help curb cravings, but you can actually burn more calories from digesting protein too!
Protein Powder Can Make It Easier to Hit Your Protein Goal
Protein powder is easy to prepare and can be taken on the go. It really is a convenient way to get the daily protein you need!
You can mix it into a shake, or add it to the meals you prepare as an extra ingredient. I know a lot of people who will bake with protein powder or even add it to their greek yogurt for extra flavor and protein.
Protein Powder Can Help You Meet Different Dietary Needs
Not everyone needs the same type of protein. For example, some people don't consume animal products or don't do well with dairy. Because of this, it can be hard for them to get a lot of high-quality protein sources throughout the day.
That’s when a high-quality plant-based protein powder can really help out. It can be an effective and convenient tool for these people to help them reach their goals.
With that being said though, not all protein powders are created equal. In fact, there are a few different types of protein powder that I'll walk you through below.
Types of Protein Powder
Is there really a difference between protein powders? Yes, absolutely. Every source of protein is different, and protein powders are no exception.
Different protein powders get their protein from different sources. That means they all differ in their nutritional content and potential health benefits.
Here are some of the most common types of protein powder and what you need to know about them.
Whey Protein Powder
Whey protein powder is by far the most popular type of protein powder available. It’s also the one I use, and recommend, almost every single time!
Whey comes from milk and is available in two main forms. These forms are whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate.
Whey protein isolate is higher in protein and lower in lactose and fat. This makes it a good option if you are lactose intolerant or trying to watch your calorie intake.
By removing the lactose and fats, whey protein isolate also digests faster. This makes it a phenomenal protein source for post-workout recovery! Faster digestion equals faster absorption, which can help jump start your recovery.
On the other hand, whey protein concentrate is a less expensive form of whey protein, but has more carbs and fats. This will slow the digestion rate though, which can be good in the right setting.
The slower absorption rate will give your body a more sustained supply of amino acids. This makes whey protein concentrate more ideal for meals and snacks.
Casein Protein Powder
Like whey protein powder, casein protein powder comes from milk too. However, it takes much longer to digest than whey protein powder. That makes it a good option for those who want a source of slow-release protein.
Most people will consume this before bed because of that slow digestion rate. It also goes great in a blend with whey protein for a more well-rounded meal replacement powder!
Collagen Protein Powder
Collagen protein powder is derived from animal sources such as cows, chickens, or fish. There are no natural plant sources of collagen, unfortunately. So if you’re a vegan, or stay away from animal-sourced foods, you don’t want to take a collagen protein powder.
The main benefits of collagen protein powder have to do with its amino acid profile. Collagen is high in amino acids that support hair, skin, nail, and joint health.
It’s not very high in the amino acids that support muscle tissue though. For this reason, collagen is a supplement best used for its actual benefits. I would not just use it as a way to increase your protein intake throughout the day.
Pea Protein Powder
Pea protein powder is a popular vegan protein powder option.
It is derived from yellow split peas and is rich in essential amino acids. That said, it doesn’t contain all of them, so pea protein on its own isn’t a complete protein source.
To truly support your fitness goals, you need all 9 essential amino acids. So, if you go for pea protein powder, you’ll have to pair it with another protein source.
More specifically, you’ll have to pair it with one that contains the amino acids that pea protein lacks.
Soy Protein Powder
Soy protein powder is another popular vegan protein powder option. As you might guess, soy protein comes from soybeans.
This protein powder is also high in essential amino acids. Very few plant-based proteins are complete sources of protein.
This makes soy a good alternative to animal-based protein powders if you follow a plant-based diet.
However, plenty of people are allergic to soy or prefer to avoid it due to the phytoestrogens . If this is you, soy protein may not be the protein powder for you.
Rice Protein Powder
Rice protein powder is a good option for those who are allergic to soy or dairy, but it has its drawbacks. For one, it’s not a complete protein source. So, like pea protein, it needs to be paired with another protein source to give you all of the amino acids you need.
Luckily enough, pea protein and rice protein pair well together to make a complete protein source. As far as vegan protein options go, a pea protein and rice protein blend makes for a great vegan protein powder.
All of these proteins have different benefits and drawbacks. When choosing a protein powder, you should consider these for sure.
You also need to consider your specific dietary needs and preferences as well, obviously.
Other Protein Powders
Other than these, there aren’t a lot of very popular alternatives. Off the top of my head, you can also get hemp protein, egg white protein, and even beef protein. However, your options when it comes to these are few and far between.
Plus, beef protein and egg protein are not the best-tasting or mixing options out there either. However, they still have complete amino acid profiles, unlike some plant-based protein powders on the market.
Choosing the Best Protein Powder for You
When it comes to choosing the right protein powder for you, you really only have to think about two questions:
1. What type of protein sources work best for your body and your diet?
2. What are you looking to use the protein powder for?
If you follow a plant-based diet or lifestyle, a plant-based protein powder would be a great option for you.
If you don’t, that’s when I would definitely recommend a whey protein powder. However, that also depends on how well your body can tolerate dairy and what you’re looking to use the protein powder for.
If you’re just using it to achieve better hair, skin, and nails … Collagen may be more up your alley. But, even then, consuming more protein in your diet, in general, can help with that too.
If your body has a difficult time with dairy or whey protein, you may even consider an egg white protein.
For most people though, the best answer is going to be a whey protein powder. A lot of people even find that a high-quality whey protein powder does not mess with their digestion like a low-quality whey protein powder would.
What Are Your Goals?
Are you wanting to change your body through fat loss and muscle gain? If so, whey protein is going to be the best option for most people. The amino acid profile is unmatched when it comes to this.
Have those same goals, but you’re plant-based or lactose intolerant? A pea and rice protein blend would be what you're looking for!
Ultimately though, the best protein powder for you depends on your own needs and goals. Your dietary needs, goals, and preferences are different from anybody else's. The best choice for me could be different from the best choice for you.
Now, if you’re looking to get your hands on a high-quality protein powder, we have great options for you! Just remember there are different protein powders that serve different purposes. I like to think of it as picking the right tool for the job.
For instance, whey protein isolate is your best option for a post-workout protein source. It digests quicker, allowing the muscles to start rebuilding faster than other protein types.
For the best-tasting and highest-quality whey protein isolate on the market, check out our Phormula-1. It’s made with the highest-quality ingredients and comes in incredible flavors. You really can't beat flavors like Root Beer Float, Orange Dreamsicle, Loop D Fruit, or even just classic Chocolate Milkshake!
If you’re looking for a protein supplement to use for a meal or high-protein snack though, Phormula-1 won’t be your best option.
In that case, you would want something that digests slower, like a whole food protein source would. In this case, our Level-1 or Vegan Power Pro powders could both be great options for you. Level-1 is a blend of whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, and casein protein.
These protein sources all absorb at different rates to help hold you over between meals. This helps to stay in a state of muscle repair longer, making it a perfect meal replacement.
On the other hand, Vegan Power Pro is a blend of rice protein and pea protein. As I mentioned earlier, these sources combine to form a complete amino acid profile!
If you’re serious about your fitness goals and need additional help past getting in more protein, check out the 1st Phorm App!
We designed that app to provide you with as much help with reaching your goals as possible.
In the app, you’ll get access to:
• Your own certified advisor to chat with and ask questions
• The ability to track your food and manage your macros with your advisor
• Education to help with your nutrition and workouts
• A full library of workout programs for your goals
• Progress tracking and detailed body metrics
There’s so much more to it too! If you’re serious about reaching your goals, check it out! I promise, if you get the app, listen to your advisor, and execute on the plan you come up with together ... you won’t regret it!
If there's ever anything we can do to help out in the meantime, that's what we're here for. Reach out to our team of NASM Certified Personal Trainers and Certified Nutrition Coaches. They are available to talk to you and help you reach your goals for free! Just shoot us an email at CustomerService@1stPhorm.com or give us a call at 1-800-409-9732 anytime.
 “NCI Drug Dictionary.” National Cancer Institute, www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-drug/def/soy-protein-isolate. Accessed 20 June 2023.ABOUT THE AUTHOR