Which Protein is best for you, and what quantity?
Updated: Feb 1
When it comes to Protein, it isn’t so much the brand of protein you consume, but more the type of protein. Different types of protein are more suitable for different people and different points before, during and/or after your workouts.Protein is one of your three main macro (big) nutrients which is essential for muscle growth and repair. It also has many other uses, including the making of enzymes, antibodies, bodily tissues and much more.
For reference, 1g of protein equals 4 calories.
How much do you need?
Everyone is different, whether it be height, gender, weight, your metabolism, whether you workout, and hundreds of other factors. Based on the latest scientific research, the average person requires around 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight. The average physically active person requires around 1.0g/kg.
Studies have shown that those who workout regularly will benefit from anything between 1.2g-1.8g of protein per kilogram of body weight. A sensible and easy to work out figure to remember would be around 1.5g/kg. For example a man weighing 80kg would require around 120g of protein per day.
There is however no scientific evidence that consuming any more than 2.4g/kg of protein will have any greater benefit, despite what supplement companies may have you believe. Your body can only absorb and utilise a certain amount of protein per day. One study performed at the McMaster Univeristy of Hamilton, Ontario found that highly trained athletes thrive at around 1.7g/kg per day. So be sure to ask yourself whether or not you fit into the category of ‘highly trained athlete’. One report in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism (April 2006) found that amino acids are absorbed at a rate of between 1.3 - 10.0g per hour.
Different TYPES of Protein...
Whey Concentrate - Basic
This is by far one of the more common forms of protein you will find in most supplement stores, and one of the more basic types. It’s usually fairly cheap to buy, and is ideal for anyone starting out at the gym, or anyone looking to increase their everyday protein intake. It’s best to take this form of protein during the morning or daytime rather than at night. However just be aware that some people may experience digestive issues when trying to break down this type of protein, which may include bloating.
Casein Protein - Slow Release & Hunger Control
This is a great protein as it releases it’s energy steadily throughout the day, making it ideal for having along side your meals, as a meal or having just before bed so it releases slowly whilst you sleep. Research has shown that it can take anything between 5-7 hours to fully breakdown in your system. Because of its slow release and breakdown rate, Casein Protein is a great way for people to manage their hunger levels and stay fuller for longer. It’s high glutamine content will also help your muscles recover quicker.
Whey Isolates - Fast Absorption
This is one of the fastest absorbed proteins available. The major downside is that it can be quite costly to buy compared to other proteins. Whey Isolates are ideal for anyone on a low-carb diet, and are frequently used Immediately before and immediately after a workout as the protein is released and absorbed quickly so it can be instantly put to use for muscle growth and recovery.
Hydrolysate Protein - Fast Absorption & Highest Quality
Similar to Whey Isolates, this is the fatest absorbed protein available, however is also often one of the more expensive proteins on the market. It’s peptides are highly absorbable, leading to a much greater anabolic (muscle building) result on the body (with the correct training methods). People often experience less problems digesting this protein compared to other types.
Soy Protein - Vegetarian Source of Protein
Soy Protein contains isoflavones which help support a healthy cholesterol balance. It has also been shown to help your metabolism and thyroid function better, resulting in increased energy levels and an enhanced ability to burn and utilise your body fat stores. Soy Protein is ideal before and after a workout, during the day as a meal or snack, although is not as recommended at night before bed.
Milk Protein Isolate - Casein and Whey Protein
This is a mixture of both Casein and Whey Protein. This is a less prefered source of protein compared to many of the above. It’s not recommended to take at night before bed, but can be used at other times during the day. I would recommend you consider some of the other protein sources before this one.
Egg Albumin - Egg Whites
Eggs are a fantastic source of protein and contain all the key amino acids to help you build muscle and maintain essential bodily tissues. An egg must go on to create a living creature so must contain all the essentials, meaning the they have a great amino acid profile. Egg Albumin can be bought as a powder but is usually bought in a container or carton.