Today, store shelves are bursting with a wide variety of options for protein mixtures, but how do you know which is best for you? Our review will help you understand this issue. Below we will talk about the advantages and disadvantages of the main types of protein mixtures and how and why they can be used in your diet.
Whey-based mixtures are the most popular source of supplemental protein. The protein for these mixtures is obtained from milk during the production of cheese. Milk coagulates, separating into two phases: solid and liquid. The solid phase is a curd-like mass, and the liquid phase is whey containing the same protein.
In fact, whey is a solution of water-soluble milk proteins in water. Only 20% of the protein extracted from milk is whey, the remaining 80% is casein.
Whey protein contains a complete set of essential amino acids with a moderate or high content of the most necessary of them. It also contains a relatively large amount of l-cysteine, which is a precursor to n-acetylcysteine and to the antioxidant enzyme glutathione (this line is written specifically to cheer up and please all the nerds reading this article). In addition to cysteine, some biologically active peptides that can lower blood pressure (acting as a weak ACE inhibitor) are also present in whey protein.
This protein is very popular in part because of the myth that light protein absorption promotes rapid muscle growth. True or not, it’s hard to say, but one thing is certain: its advantages are greatly exaggerated by marketing. Yes, whey protein is really faster to digest, and protein from there really helps muscle growth. But so far there is no reliable information that the rate of digestion is of great importance for muscle growth.
Previously, this type of protein was considered a waste product and its price was quite small. But now the need for it has increased and it is no longer so cheap. This is easy to see by looking at prices at any sports nutrition store.
Bottom line: whey protein is derived from milk and has long been considered a byproduct. It is relatively quickly absorbed (although the importance of the rate of assimilation is greatly overrated), and contains all the essential trace elements.
Casein is a milk protein obtained from a hard curd mass. This protein is insoluble in water, unlike whey. Casein supplements are an excellent source of protein, and they also contain a fairly large amount of essential glutamic acid. Casein is absorbed more slowly compared to whey protein due to its gel-forming properties. Someone likes this feature of it (mmm, remember all kinds of cottage cheese casseroles and mousses with puddings!), But someone cannot stand it and recalls with horror his last attempt to stir casein in a shaker.
The gelation property does not bring any special benefits to our health, however, this distinguishes casein from other proteins from a practical point of view. The ability of casein to form gels is due to its special structure (before, glue was even made from it for some time). And if you pour 2 two cups of casein into a bowl and add a little water, you get pudding so beloved by the British.
The physical properties of casein are truly amazing and allow you to use it to create a wide variety of culinary masterpieces. With casein, you will discover the world of protein cheesecakes and muffins. Other additives (whey or rice protein) can also be used to make desserts, but since they do not have gel-forming properties, xanthan gum or glucomannan will have to be added as gelling agents.
At least, someone from your loved ones who do not particularly follow a healthy lifestyle may well enjoy chocolate and cinnamon pudding. Moreover, in terms of caloric content and protein content, it will be absolutely identical to two chicken breasts. In general, almost all protein powders contain flavors to ennoble the taste, but the use of seasonings and various additives that add flavor (for example, blueberries, vanilla extract, etc.) can positively affect the final taste. But it seems we are distracted.
Let's move on to the effect on health. Then casein is not too different from whey protein. It contains a large amount of calcium (up to 60% of the daily daily allowance in one scoop for some manufacturing companies), but in addition, it does not have any additional benefits. It is worth noting that an allergic reaction to milk proteins is usually much stronger on casein than on whey protein. Therefore, if you have problems with the assimilation of dairy products, you are better off avoiding mixtures based on it.
Casein better protects muscle cells from catabolism and creates better conditions for muscle growth compared to whey protein due to the slow rate of digestion
Soy protein is obtained from soybeans and it contains the maximum amount of such an essential amino acid as glycine. It is very often used in sports nutrition, as well as in conventional products due to its low price and simple production technology. Soy is somewhere in the middle between full sources of protein with a complete set of amino acids and insufficiently complete, and the methionine content in it varies depending on growing conditions.
Soy is a good source of protein, if we forget about the content of other bioactive substances in it (we will talk about them later in the next part of the article, including a discussion of estrogenicity). It contains a sufficient amount of amino acids and has a mild flavor that is easily masked by flavorings. When processing soy, it is possible to remove many undesirable components, while obtaining a sufficiently pure mixture of amino acids.
Although there is no evidence that soy is better than other protein sources, soy protein can be used as a worthy alternative to milk-based protein blends. This should be especially interesting for people allergic to dairy products (we will discuss the effect on the hormonal system in another section).
Rice and peas
These two sources of protein are considered together due to their frequent sharing. Obviously, both types of protein obtained in this way are vegetable and therefore suitable for vegans. Moreover, each of them individually is not complete. But if you mix them in a ratio of 1: 1 ... and voila! ... it turns out a product with all the necessary amino acids.
The protein obtained from rice is a finely divided and soft powder with a small content of lysine and highly soluble in water. just like pea protein, on the contrary, it has gelling properties similar to casein. Therefore, it is likely that pea protein alone would be as useful in cooking as casein.
Rice protein is considered a low allergen and is suitable for people allergic to eggs, dairy products and soy.
Interestingly, the amino acid composition of a mixture of rice and pea proteins (due to the high cysteine content in rice) is very similar to the composition of whey protein; therefore, a mixture of rice and pea proteins is sometimes called the vegan analogue of whey protein. Comparative studies (rather limited) do not show significant differences between a mixture of rice and pea proteins and other protein sources.
Egg Protein Blends
Egg protein mixtures are a protein derived from egg whites and then subjected to heat treatment and evaporation of water.
It should be noted that the use of raw egg whites is not as useful as heat-treated. The fact is that the avidin amino acid present in egg proteins binds to vitamin B7, also known as biotin, making it impossible for it to be absorbed in the human body. Although moderate consumption of raw egg protein is not associated with a biotin deficiency, nevertheless, some studies have reported that biotin deficiency developed while consuming several hundred grams of egg protein daily for a long period of time.
For protein mixtures based on egg protein, this problem is not characteristic, since avidin is destroyed during the heat treatment. At the same time, egg yolk is usually not used due to the high content of fatty acids, but they can add leucine separately to create a more balanced protein mixture (usually leucine is found only in egg yolk).
Such protein mixtures are well suited to meet the protein needs, but they do not have any advantages over other protein sources. In addition, they have a specific egg flavor that can only be hidden with the help of the most powerful flavors.
Beef-based protein blends
Beef-based protein blends are obtained from dehydrated and processed cow meat (and this is also the first protein blend on the market with blueberry flavor!).
At the moment, no significant advantages of using beef protein have been found compared to other protein mixtures, especially when it comes to a mixed diet.
From a practical point of view, the financial costs of dehydrating large quantities of meat are excessively high. Therefore, it is likely that the acquired protein mixture of beef is a fake, taking into account the cost of meat and huge production costs. Separated amino acids can be added in the required proportions, thereby achieving a complete amino acid composition.
However, in this case, the mixture will not contain any biologically active peptides characteristic of meat. In fact, it is highly likely that the beef protein mixture on the counter is nothing more than regular gelatin. Beef-based protein mixtures are quite new in the market and at the same time their benefits and harms for sports nutrition have not been sufficiently studied.
At the same time, such mixtures are hardly somewhat better than other sources of protein, especially considering that with a high probability their real source is not beef at all. So it's probably best to just eat a juicy piece of delicious meat.
Hemp Protein Blends
Hemp protein is a protein product derived from hemp seeds. For reference:
- Hemp with a high content of tetrahydrocannabinol was on the market until the 1930s. She was exterminated at the initial stages of the fight against drugs, and its cultivation and sale have long been banned.
- Now hemp is on sale again, but only one particular variety is sold, containing a small amount of psychoactive cannabinoid.
In this regard, hemp protein does not affect the nervous system. Hemp seeds themselves are balanced in terms of the content of three macronutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates), and hemp protein is a seed powder obtained after extraction of hemp oil. The protein content in this powder reaches 70-90%, so this product is quite suitable for sports nutrition.
It is known that the hemp protein mixture contains a large amount of arginine and tyrosine, but it does not have enough leucine and lysine; due to an insufficient amount of lysine, the hemp protein mixture is not considered a complete source of protein.
There are many quality and health requirements for hemp protein. Most of them are associated with a rather high oil content (fatty acids in the hemp seed protein make up about 10% of the daily calories). The oils in hemp protein are a mixture of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The omega-3 fragment comes from alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is identical to that found in flaxseed. There is not much research on hemp fatty acids, but nothing special has yet been found on this subject. The only thing worth paying attention to is that ALA acids are not as easily absorbed by the human body as eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) acids found in fish oil.
Despite the absence of tetrahydrocannabinol, hemp protein also contains other cannabinoids that do not have significant psychoactive properties (cannabidiol and cannabidisin B), but there is insufficient evidence that these substances, although in minimal amounts, do not affect health.
In general, hemp is an acceptable source of protein, although its value is lower than casein due to the insufficient content of lysine and leucine. It should also be borne in mind that there is a possibility that the cannabinoids in the composition have an effect on health, while the possible consequences have not yet been fully investigated. It is also impossible to say that the use of protein obtained from hemp has any advantages in comparison with other sources.
However, such a protein is rich in dietary fiber, which can be a pretty significant factor when choosing this protein mix.
In any case, we want to say that concern about the speed of digestion or any special properties of various protein powders are already secondary parameters that can be dealt with endlessly. Protein powders are designed to easily and quickly replenish the daily intake of protein, and all protein mixtures fully satisfy this requirement (although we would not recommend using a mixture based on beef).
To each his own
If possible, it is better to get as much protein as possible from ordinary food, and then compensate for the remaining deficiency with protein mixtures. Maybe your choice will be in favor of convenience and taste (whey protein), or you are more interested in preparing something from protein mixtures, then you will choose casein. Or maybe your main selection criterion is your allergy, and then you will choose a protein mixture from peas and rice or from eggs. In the case when low cost is important, the best solution is soy. In general, choosing the best protein blend is not difficult and depends largely on your preferences.
Recently, training people are increasingly asking questions: which protein is better? Which protein to choose for various purposes? It is impossible to answer the first question by naming any one type of protein, since for a variety of purposes a certain type will be most effective.
For weight loss
Those people who are overweight and want to get a more sculpted and slimmer figure, they first need to include casein protein in their diet. Sports supplements based on this protein can reduce a person’s appetite, thereby forcing his body to consume less food.
Casein protein, getting into the body, collapses into a lump, which for at least 8 hours will give a feeling of satiety, but at the same time due to the protein to maintain muscle and at the same time will help lose weight.
Also for people who have an undesirable mass, it would be very out of place to add a whey protein isolate. It is able to be absorbed as quickly as possible and almost instantly give the body all the necessary amino acids that contribute to the destruction of fat cells, replacing them with high-quality hard muscles.
For weight gain
For those athletes who daily struggle to increase their own weight, whey protein concentrate, as well as multicomponent proteins, will become an ideal weapon and assistant in this difficult task.
Whey concentrate is able to be absorbed by the human body within 1.5 - 2 hours. This allows the athlete to eat food as often as possible, which, as you know, is vital if we are talking about the maximum set of muscle mass.
Multicomponent proteins often consist of the following types of protein: casein, whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate and milk protein. For lean people when gaining muscle mass, multicomponent proteins are not as important throughout the day as at night.
A feature of multicomponent proteins is that the types of protein included in their composition have different digestibility rates. This means that after taking a portion of a multicomponent protein, each type of protein will be released in a certain period of time, such proteins as pure casein are completely absorbed in 8-12 hours. All this time, the muscles will be supplied with the protein necessary for building high-quality muscles.
To preserve muscle mass
And finally, recommendations for taking protein supplements have reached the large and already beautifully built athletes, owners of the athletic form desired by everyone. Such athletes are often worried about how not to lose weight already gained over the years, and if possible raise it an order of magnitude higher. For the described needs of people of the type presented, the best proteins can definitely be called whey concentrate and casein.
Casein is best taken just before bedtime so that the muscles do not remain protein-free for a long time, and take 3-4 portions of whey protein concentrate throughout the day. Such a simple way to use these additives will lead to the desired results and will achieve your goal.
A single serving of any type of protein should be at least 30 grams. and do not exceed the threshold of 50 gr.
Which protein is the best?
The best whey protein concentrates are:
Elite Whey by Dymatize
Universal Nutrition Ultra Whey Pro
100% Whey Gold Standart by Optimum Nutrition
Among serum isolates, the leaders are:
Iso 100 by Dymatize
Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydrowhey
The best multicomponent proteins are recognized:
Syntha-6 from BSN
Elite XT by Dymatize