Posted on: Thursday, April 21, 2011
Have you ever stood in front of a wall of protein powders in a health food store or sports supplement outlet and been completely confused? Find out which one to purchase then here.
As the protein market has grown there has been a massive increase in the different types of proteins available in respect to ingredients & nutrient composition along with flavour variants. Let’s look at making it a little easier to navigate through the products to find the one that best suits your needs in terms of nutrient requirements, body composition & training goals.
Step 1 Function
To start you have to decide what nutritional function the protein powder is going to play in your daily meal plan:
• Is it replacing a main meal or snack?
• Are you using it pre- or post-workout for nutrient support during your session and recovery after training?
• Are you using it to top-up your overall protein intake to help build or tone muscles?
If you are looking at replacing a main meal then you need to look for a protein powder product that provides sufficient energy per serve provided via adequate levels of protein & carbohydrate low to moderate total fat and fortified with at least 25% RDI for essential vitamins & minerals. This will help you get the right balance of macro & micronutrients to replace a regular meal - MUSASHI SLM Meal Replacement Formula is an ideal formula to suit this need.
If you are looking for a powder to use pre- or post-workout you need to ensure it has adequate carbohydrates to fuel the body during exercise & replenish carbohydrate energy stores (muscle glycogen) after training. In addition you need a formulation that is high protein and low in fat. MUSASHI Re-Generator and Musashi BULK (also good for gaining muscle mass) are ideal products for use in & around training times when fuel in the form of carbohydrate is an important nutrient consideration.
For people looking at simply gaining lean muscle or muscle tone then look at using a protein powder with a higher protein to carbohydrate ratio. These powders can be used pre- or post-training, as a between meal snack or at any other time of the day when protein is required. MUSASHI offers a number of suitable high protein, low fat, low carbohydrate powders including: Musashi ISO8 and SLM High Protein Formula.
Step 2 Type of Protein
So the next step when looking at protein powders is to explore the different types of proteins. You may have seen names like WPI, WPC, Whey Protein, Hydrolysed Whey all thrown around – but what do these actually all mean? What are the benefits of all these different forms of protein?
Whey Protein Isolate (WPI)
Whey Protein Isolate or WPI is a protein powder that contains more protein and less fat & lactose per serving than any other protein powder derived from milk. Most whey protein isolates contain between 90-94% protein and have a fast digestion rate making them rapidly absorbed by the body. WPI also contains high levels of Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) which may assist muscle recovery1-3 making WPI a great choice both pre- and post-training.
It should be noted that WPI is also the most expensive protein powder, be very cautious of purchasing a protein powder if you see it the same price as non WPI powders!
I recommend Musashi ISO8 for a whey protein isolate formula.
Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC)
Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) contains between 70-85% protein. It contains slightly higher amounts of carbohydrate & fat than WPI but these nutrients are still at relatively low levels and the natural sugar (lactose) level in WPC makes it more palatable. WPC powders are a great everyday protein, and because it is less expensive than WPI it is an extremely popular protein choice.
It can be used post-training as well as taken throughout the day to increase overall protein intake.
I recommend Musashi EVD for a whey protein concentrate formula.
Casein Protein (or Whey Protein Caseinate)
Casein is known as a slow release protein, meaning it takes a lot longer to be absorbed & digested by the body. While this sounds like a negative it can be used to your advantage at certain times. The most common use is to allow a steady release of protein into the blood stream while you sleep to aid muscle recovery overnight.
As fast absorbing protein sources are preferable post-exercise and casein is more slowly digested it is not normally used in isolation post-exercise; however casein is a key component of protein blended products.
I recommend Musashi HYBRID 92 for a slow release protein.
Ok so I hope I have provided a snapshot into the different types of protein powders that are out there and taken some of the confusion out of the category. Please post any questions that you have around this or let us know what type of protein you are taking currently and why and remember to join up to Musashi for access to exclusive content and to continue your education of sports nutrition.
1. Negro et al (2008) J Sports Med & Phys Fitness 48(3): 347-351
2. Blomstraud et al (2006) J of Nutr 136(1S): 269S-273S
3. Shimomura et al (2006) J of Nutr 136(2): 529S-532S