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What is Most Important in Choosing a Protein Supplement?

Protein is one of the most popular types of nutritional supplements that people use. Protein is a macronutrient, along with fat, and carbohydrates, that helps repair tissue, build muscles, and make hormones and enzymes. Some people also use certain protein powders and the best protein pills to help with weight loss.

With so many options for protein supplements available, how do you know where to start?

Benefits of Protein Powders

Protein powders are the most popular way to supplement.

The benefits of protein powders include:

  • Powders can help you feel fuller for longer, which can help with weight loss. Powders can also help reduce your blood pressure, cholesterol, and other heart-related risk factors.
  • Protein is needed for muscle growth, and that’s why many athletes and people focused on working out will have protein shakes, often using powders. Some research shows that supplementing can improve muscle strength and size in healthy people who perform resistance training.
  • If you regularly do challenging or strenuous workouts, protein can help repair damaged muscles and tissues, speeding up recovery and reducing soreness.
  • You may not get adequate protein from your diet alone, particularly if you’re vegan, vegetarian, or have a chronic illness, so supplementing can help fill in the gaps.

Types of Protein Powders

To decide how to choose a protein supplement, you can begin to compare the differences in the most popular powder types. These include:

  • Whey is water-soluble, a milk protein that’s highly popular among athletes and weight lifters. Whey is a complete protein. As a complete protein, it has all of the amino acids you need to get from food. Whey is also absorbed easily by your body.
  • Whey concentrate is a subtype that’s considered pretty low-quality overall. Whey concentrate is also high in calories.
  • Whey isolate comprises at least 90% protein by weight, and it’s purer than whey concentrate. Isolate has fewer calories as well.
  • Casein is a protein high in glutamine. Glutamine is an amino acid especially helpful for workout recovery. Casein is derived from dairy, so if you have a milk allergy or are a vegan, this probably isn’t right for you.
  • Soy protein is an alternative for people who can’t or doesn’t consume dairy, and it does have all the amino acids considered essential.
  • Pea protein is plant-based, primarily a source of arginine, an amino acid.
  • Hemp is a complete protein with essential fatty acids, suitable for vegans and people with allergies to soy or dairy.
  • Egg protein isn’t as commonly used as other protein powders, and it’s a more expensive option but good for people with milk allergies.

Protein Bars

Protein bars are another way to pack more of the nturient into your diet, and they’re more convenient and easier to take on the go than powders and shakes.

Protein bars can be tucked away anywhere and often have a macronutrient balance. Studies show that chewing food is more filling than getting liquid calories, but there are downsides.

First, many protein bars are high in sugar. This is true with any packaged and processed food for the most part.

You may consume substantially more calories than you’d like if you go with protein bars, and they might not have as much actual protein as powders.

What About Protein Pills?

A pill or capsule is a third option when choosing supplements, but these are a little different from shakes and bars.

Usually, protein pills and capsules are made up of bone broth, collagen, or amino acids. Sometimes they’re a combination.

There are some benefits. For example, capsules and pills are also convenient, and you can take them on the go. Collagen and bone broth have unique benefits for your hair, skin, nails, joint health, and gut health.

The biggest reason some people opt for pills and capsules is that they don’t have to worry about consuming extra calories like with shakes or bars.

On the other hand, the big downside of pills is that you’re getting less protein overall. For example, a scoop of powder might have around 20 grams of protein, while capsules might have around two grams per serving.

The type of protein that’s best for you will depend on your goals, preferences, and reasons for supplementing in the first place.

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