How to Choose Protein Supplements
Choosing proper protein supplements is not easy, especially with all those manufacturers literally screaming about their products and how they are good for you and better than their competition.
Updated: September 19, 2020.
First of all, you have to figure out what you need protein supplements for. For example, it can be used for speeding up recovery and regeneration after cardio and gym workouts (choose whey proteins), as meal replacements (choose meal replacement powders - MRPs), to increase the protein content of certain meals (choose whey, protein blends or even casein protein, depending on the purpose and part of the day), etc.
Also, some people are vegans and consume only plant-based food – choose plant-based protein blends. Plant-based protein contains all essential amino acids (EAS), but their amount and ratio is often insufficient - hence the plant blends are highly recommended since they have better amino acids profile. If required, vegan EAS powders are available on the market, but they can be quite costly.
If you are lactose intolerant or have issues with certain types of foods, choose lactose-free products and supplements containing no traces of your allergens.
Protein content is very important – the more protein supplement has, it is better, but also more expensive. On the other hand, balanced meal replacement powders should also contain complex carbs, healthy fats and digestive enzymes. All-in-one Post Workout Meal (PWM) powders should contain whey protein, but also simple carbs, vitamins, minerals, added BCAA, Glutamine, Taurine, Creatine and other compounds that promote recovery and regeneration.
So, it is not the same if you are buying whey protein based on whey concentrate or pure whey isolate, or even peptides. Whey should be consumed only after workouts - it digests quickly and it promote recovery and regeneration. It is NOT good for daily meals and snacks. If it is slowed down by oats, low fat or casein cheese, fruits and similar, it can be used for breakfasts and daily meals, just be aware of its digestion speed.
MRPs can be based on whey protein blends, but casein based MRPs provide nutrients for 6-8 hours after being consumed. If you are just recreational athlete and you don't like boxes, bottles, jugs etc. of various proteins at your house, go for a good, high-protein MRP, based on whey protein. It can be used right after gym, and for daily meals and snacks - it is not so good for bedtime protein shakes, unless it is slowed down with low-fat and/or cottage cheese.
Plant based vegan proteins don’t have protein biological value (Protein BV) and protein digestibility corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) as animal based proteins, but can be used to significantly increase protein intake by vegan athletes and vegans in general.