The market for Protein Powder has most certainly exploded, and ‘Which protein powder is best’ is easily one of the most common questions I receive each week.
So let’s break down options first of all in the area of dairy proteins:
- WPI – Whey Protein Isolate
- WPC – Whey Protein Concentrate
- Protein Hydrolysate
- Casein Protein
So Which One is Best for Me?
To be honest, all of these powders have different positives and their use depends heavily on your personal circumstance.
For the Everyday Active individual –
The WPI and WPC are both perfect for recovery and the small difference in absorption is not going to be critical. Go with the option that suits your budget, preference and lactose tolerance.
If you are being mindful of energy or carbohydrate intake, just be aware that carbohydrates are higher in the WPC simply due to it being less refined.
There will also be a consideration for Casein Protein at night for a slow release protein source overnight to assist with muscle maintenance and synthesis – but bear in mind this doesn’t have to come from a supplement. The protein in milk is actually 80% casein!
For the Elite / Professional athlete –
In recovery the WPI and Hydrolysate are going to be ideal (if budget allows) due to your higher training load and need for faster absorption simply due to the shorter recovery time periods.
Be mindful however that WPI in particular is almost carbohydrate and fat free, so to hit your energy and carbohydrate targets for recovery, you are going to need to find ways of also including some carbohydrate when mixing it up.
The use of Casein Protein before bed may be also something to consider as an option that is filling and will provide a slow release of protein overnight while you sleep. Casein supplementation has been shown to improve overnight muscle protein synthesis and therefore your adaptations to training. Just be mindful that there are different types of Casein Supplement! It is the Micellar Casein that is slow release (as opposed to the Casein Hydrolysate).
Like we mentioned in the everyday athlete section though, this doesn’t have to be from supplements and can be via high protein yoghurt or milk.
What About Plant-Based Protein Powders?
This comparison is on it’s way! Keep your eye out for it’s release very soon where we go through which option is the best in terms of absorption and amino acid profiles.