When it comes to choosing a protein powder, you have no shortage of options. It can feel overwhelming at times trying to know which protein powder variety is right for you, but when you stop and consider the pros and cons of each type, it can become more clear.
Let’s walk you through the different variations of protein powder so you know which is the one to invest your money into.
Whey Protein Concentrate
Whey protein concentrate is your basic of all whey proteins and is usually the one that is priced most effectively. This protein powder typically comes with 2-4 grams of carbs and fats and around 18-22 grams of protein per scoop.
Whey protein powder has been shown to help boost the immune system and may also help to suppress your appetite, so these are two very good reasons to consider it.
If you want a basic all-around protein powder that’s very versatile, this is a good choice.
Whey Protein Isolate
Next you have a whey protein isolate powder. This type of protein powder is designed to be as rapid digesting as possible, so is ideal for use after workout sessions. Following a workout your body needs the amino acids for optimal repair and rebuilding of muscle mass tissue and whey protein isolate will deliver.
Whey protein isolate is typically more expensive for this reason, but used strictly as a post-workout protein choice, it’s well worth it.
This protein powder variety also typically contains the lowest amount of lactose as well, so is a great option for those who can’t have dairy.
Casein Protein Powder
Casein protein powder is the next protein option to consider. This one is the slowest digesting protein you can buy, so great for using right before bed to help get you through the overnight fast.
Likewise, it’s also an excellent choice to have between meals, especially if you know it may be a while before you are able to eat again.
This said, casein protein powder does taste a bit more chalky, so be warned of that. It is thicker as well, so is very often the type of protein used to make protein powder. Try stirring a little into yogurt for a high protein snack any time during the day.
Soy Protein Powder
Soy protein powder is a great alternative potion for those who can’t have dairy. While men should not be consuming large amounts of soy protein as this can influence their natural testosterone release, women on the other hand may benefit from a scoop a day.
Soy protein powder for females may help to reduce the risk of certain forms of cancer. As it isn’t dairy, it’s also lactose free.
Note that you typically won’t get as much protein per scoop with soy protein however as you’ll usually get a few more grams of fat and carbs.
Hemp Protein Powder
Finally, hemp protein powder is the last option that you may turn to. Hemp protein is a vegetarian friendly option that both men and women can have and is great for those who are lactose intolerant.
Hemp protein will also provide a small dose of omega-3 fatty acids as well, which offers a wide range of health benefits from lowering your cholesterol levels to boosting brain health to enhancing your mood.
Again, hemp protein powder tends to contain a bit fewer grams of protein than whey isolate does as you’ll be taking in some fats and carbs as well.
So there you have a brief primer on protein powder varieties. As you can see, there is a perfect protein powder out there for everyone. Which is right for you?
Shannon Clark holds a degree in exercise science and sport performance from the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Her love for physical activity began with her time as a competitive figure skater and she has since been working in the health and fitness field for over 10 years.
When she’s not writing about health, wellness, or fitness, she loves working as a personal trainer, baking up the latest high-protein desserts, and spending time with a good book or movie.