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Take a stroll down any supplement aisle and it’s easy to become a bit overwhelmed. There are several different types and seemingly hundreds of brands and flavors to choose from. What’s the best kind of protein powder for you?
Protein powders are mostly derived from animals or plants, such as milk, eggs, rice, or peas. There are three common forms:
- Protein Concentrate: Concentrated protein is produced by extracting protein from whole foods using heat plus acid or enzymes. Protein concentrate supplements are usually about 60 to 80 percent of protein.
- Protein Isolate: An additional filtering process removes more fat and carbs, further concentrating the protein. Protein isolate powders contain about 90–95 percent protein.
- Protein Hydrolysate: Produced by further processing with heat, acid, and/or enzymes, breaking the bonds between amino acids. Hydrolysates are absorbed more quickly by your body and muscles.
Foods such as eggs, lean meats, nuts, and dairy all contain protein. So does the average exerciser really need to buy protein powder?
For an active person looking to bulk up or optimize their body, it’s nearly impossible to get the proper amount of protein without the use of a protein powder. Protein is also proven to help increase that feeling of fullness after a meal, so it can aid weight management. Vegetarians and vegans sometimes find it hard to get all essential amino acids through food alone, so protein powder can help fill in the nutritional blanks. The only people who don’t need a protein powder supplement are those who don’t exercise regularly or those who are already getting at least 30 grams of protein per meal.
Here are the eight most popular types of protein supplements, and where to get them.