My Cart: 0 item(s)

Product Search
Product Search

Secure Checkout

Health Tips - Choosing a Protein Powder


Choosing a Protein Powder

Protein is comprised of amino acids which are the building blocks of muscle. Whole food sources of protein include beef, chicken, turkey, and fish. Supplemental sources include whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, casein, egg, and soy. Each of these protein sources has its strengths and weaknesses.

We are often asked, "What is the best protein powder?" Well, that depends on the quality, cost, and use of the protein. Each protein source has its strengths and weaknesses. An indicator of the quality of a protein is its biological value (BV) which expresses the percentage of protein absorbed by your body. We have summarized the primary sources of protein supplements. Ultimately, your protein needs and wallet will determine which protein is best for you. A rule of thumb for bodybuilders is to consume 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. Many powders use a protein blend to incorporate several types of protein for optimal digestion and absorption. However, they don't disclose the percentages of each source.

How Much Protein Do You Need?

The WHO (World Health Organization) set the minimum protein intake at about 1/3 of a gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. The first column in the chart below reflects this minimum amount, which is set low enough to include third world countries. However, you need optimal amounts - not minimum amounts - for survival. Begin by looking in the left column below and select your ideal bodyweight. Protein requirements for most people should fall between the Medium and Typical columns. Studies show weight lifters might need .72g/lb. of bodyweight, highly trained cyclists might need .8g/lb., rigorous exercise training might require 1.3g/lb., and world-class weight lifters may use upwards of 1.6g/lb. A good rule of thumb is to consume one gram of protein per pound of ideal bodyweight.

Ideal
Weight

Daily Protein Needs

Minimum

Medium

Typical

Bodybuilder

.34g/lb.

.5g/lb.

1g/lb.

1.3g/lb.

80 lbs.

27g

40g

80g

104g

100 lbs.

34g

50g

100g

130g

120 lbs.

41g

60g

120g

156g

140 lbs.

48g

70g

140g

182g

160 lbs.

54g

80g

160g

208g

180 lbs.

61g

90g

180g

234g

200 lbs.

68g

100g

200g

260g

220 lbs.

75g

110g

220g

286g

Where can you get this much protein? Eat whole foods such as meat, fish, eggs poultry, dairy and soy. If you don't have time for a protein-rich meal, then use a protein powder. Vegetarians tend to need protein powders desperately since complete proteins are usually lacking in their diet.

Protein Quality Ratings!

The chart below shows four different rating methods scientists use to evaluate the quality of several proteins. The higher the number shown in the columns, the better your body uses the protein. Whey protein tops the list as the best quality protein due to its specific amino acid array. However, one protein is not superior to others in all ways. Each has distinct strengths and weaknesses.

Protein Source

B.V.

P.E.R.

N.P.U.

PDCAAS

Whey Protein

104

3.6

92

1.0

Whole Egg

100

3.8

94

1.0

Beef

80

2.0

73

.92

Casein

77

2.9

76

1.0

Soy

74

2.1

61

.99

B.V. (Biological Value) is the proportion of absorbed protein that is retained in the body for maintenance and/or growth. The highest score of 100 was given for the best protein at the time, egg. However, whey protein came along and proved even better than egg.

P.E.R. (Protein Efficiency Ratio) is the gain in body weight divided by the weight of the protein consumed.

N.P.U. (Net Protein Utilization) is the proportion of protein intake that is retained (calculated as BV times Digestibility).

PDCAAS (Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score) is based on the amino acid requirements of humans. A protein scoring a 1.0 indicates it meets all the essential amino acid requirements of humans according to the Food Agriculture Organization and World Health Organization. However, it does not take into account surplus essential amino acids some proteins have that could compensate for lower levels in another protein like beans.

1) Whey Protein Concentrate

Whey concentrate is derived from milk and is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream which makes it ideal after a workout and upon waking in the morning. Proteins are extracted from whey by micro-filtration, cross-flow micro-filtration and ion exchange. These processes preserve the integrity of the protein which yields a high-quality, low-lactose, low-fat protein source. Whey protein concentrate contains roughly 75% to 80% protein. It's much more economical than whey isolate because the process of removing most of fat and carbs is relatively inexpensive. Whey protein contains the highest concentration (23-25%) of branched chain amino acids (BCAA's) of any single protein source. This BCAA content is important because BCAAs are an integral part of muscle metabolism and are the first aminos sacrificed during muscle catabolism.

2) Whey Protein Isolate

Whey Protein Isolates are the highest quality whey protein available. The best filtering processes are utilized which yields a protein source near 90% with minimal fat and carbs. This higher quality doesn't come cheap as whey isolates are more expensive than whey concentrates. Like whey concentrate, whey isolate is rapidly absorbed and contains a similar BCAA profile.

3) Casein

Casein is also derived from milk through heating, acid precipitation, or enzymes. Washing and solubilizing with sodium, potassium, or calcium and then drying, yields caseinates which have protein concentrations over 90%. Micellular caseins are typically very expensive and in short supply. They're produced using enzymes, cold processing, and nanofiltration. This "no-heat, no acid processing" yields the ultimate form of casein. Unlike whey protein, casein isn't rapidly absorbed. It tends to form a "gel" in the gut which causes it to be released more slowly into the intestines for absorption. An ideal time to consume a casein-based protein supplement is before bed. This allows you to feed your muscles through the night when you're unable to supply them with the

4) Soy Protein

Soy Protein is derived from soybeans by water extraction, followed by precipitation, washing, and drying procedures to produce either a soy concentrate (70% protein) or soy isolate (90% protein). Soy protein provides all the essential amino acids needed to fulfill human nutritional requirements for growth, maintenance and physical stress. Soy protein isolate contains high concentrations of naturally occurring isoflavones. Isoflavones are components of soy that have been shown to demonstrate cholesterol lowering properties. According to the FDA, taking 4 servings daily of 6.25 grams of soy protein may reduce cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. It has a lower BV than whey, casein and egg proteins. Soy protein is an excellent choice for vegetarians or for those who are lactose intolerant.

5) Egg Protein

Egg Protein is considered a complete protein that is free of fat, lactose and cholesterol. Egg albumen (egg whites) is absorbed faster than casein, but slower than whey. >