It’s a well-known fact that the human body benefits from taking in protein after a strenuous weight training or exercise session. Some will follow a high protein diet rather than use protein powders, and eat a meal soon after training that contains chicken, nuts, or fish but many choose the easier, convenient, option of a protein shake or protein bar.
Protein containing up to 20 amino acids (8 of which are known as essential amino acids) provides the building blocks to allow the body to recover and, in the case of a bodybuilder, will provide the nutrients for new, lean muscle growth.
Many of the protein shakes available on the market contain high protein content, usually between 20g and 50g. They are marketed in many, many, different flavours now compared to a few years ago.
The shakes also contain minerals and vitamins to offer a complete, yet balanced nutrition in each serving. Each serving is around 30g and can be mixed with water or milk of your choice. Prices vary wildly between brands and types of protein powders. Cheap whey protein may seem like a bargain but may only have a low amount of protein per serving and it may not be the best whey protein powder on the market. There are quite a variety of protein powders available. A few are listed below.
Probably the most popular and widely known type of protein powder available, whey protein is a by-product recovered from the cheese making process. It has a high biological value and is easily and quickly digested allowing the body to benefit quickly.
Casein is a protein found in milk in high quantities. Formed during the processing of milk this protein is gelatinous in texture. Casein protein is digested slower than whey protein and is a popular choice for a bedtime or overnight, slow release protein shake. Casein also contains bioactive peptides that are shown to help your digestive and immune systems.
Pea protein is plant based and contains legumin and has some similar properties to casein. Pea protein products are marketed as an alternative to whey and are suitable for vegetarians and vegans wanting to increase their protein intake while avoiding meat and dairy products.
Hemp protein is a plant based protein that is extracted from the hemp seed and consists of two types of protein, albumin and edestin. The edestin protein is rich in all nine of the essential amino acids and is suitable for everyone including vegans. Hemp is a popular alternative to whey protein powders. A 30g serving of hemp protein contains approximately 15 grams of protein and 120 calories.