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I’m sure you’ve seen your favourite influencer’s slurping down a protein smoothie after their morning Bondi to Bronte beach walk. Or the bodybuilder at your local gym loudly rattling his protein shaker around before his workout. Today, protein powders have well and truly found their way into our workout regimes. But dipping your toes into the world of pre-workouts and protein powders can sometimes seem more daunting than doable. You might be asking yourself: what protein base is better? Is whey the way to go? Or are plant-based proteins a more sustainable option?
Let’s start from the beginning and break down what a protein powder is and how it can be used in your workout regime.
Protein powder is a macronutrient used to build and repair your muscle and on occasion, for weight loss.
The nutrients in this powder can help to reach your daily protein intake by providing your body with the
necessary amount of amino acids for each day. It’s most easily consumed in a powder form which you can
use in smoothies, baking, meals and more. There are three main categories of protein powder: whey,
casein, or plan-based vegan protein.
Our blog has some great healthy protein recipes available if you’re looking to test your culinary skills. Such as our protein breakfast bowls, protein cookies, and protein bliss balls!
Casein is a complete protein that also comes from milk. While whey has a lot of BCAA’s, casein contains more amino acids such as histidine, methionine, and phenylalanine. It is often consumed as a daily health supplement or used on a mixed protein with whey powder.
This type of protein is more slowly digested by your body, resulting in a delayed release of amino acids. Casein protein is a great option to take before bed to aid in muscle recovery and promote muscle growth while you sleep. Due to its composition casein also contains bioactive peptides to aid in immune and digestive health.
Plant-based proteins come in a range of forms. Typically, this is pea, soy, hemp, or brown rice. Each type of vegan protein source contains its own health benefits. However, due to the make-up, vegan or plant-based proteins are not considered complete proteins as they don’t contain the amino acids necessary to support protein synthesis. The only exception to this is soy which contains all 9 amino acids.
However, vegan protein sources contain other forms of nutritional value. For example, pea-based proteins have a higher protein content with iso-leucine, valine, and leucine. Hemp proteins contain high sources of omega-3, omega-6, zinc, magnesium, iron, and fibre. Finally, brown rice proteins contain high levels of protein and other amino acids making them easy to digest. However, its low levels of lysin make it not a complete protein.
A major drawcard with vegan proteins is they are dairy-free and less inflammatory. This makes them great for those who may be lactose-intolerant or have other dietary requirements. It is also more sustainable and environmentally friendly to produce.
Like casein proteins, vegan and plant-based proteins also take longer to process in your body. However, this can help you stay fuller for longer and reduce the need for snacking. The protein powder also tastes good naturally, eliminating the need for artificial flavours or sugars.
Mixing into smoothies and baking
Supports weight loss
Lactose & Dairy
Complete protein with all amino acids
Serving Size: 20-30g
Suitable for vegetarians and vegans
Supports weight loss
No Lactose & Dairy-Free
Not a complete protein
(except for soy and protein mixes)
Serving Size: 20-30g
As with anything, the type of protein you should consume is dependent on your fitness goals, needs, and
personal requirements. Take the time to consider why you want to use a protein powder in the first
place. Also, ask yourself what fitness goals your hoping to achieve by using protein sources? This
should help to provide some clarity going into making your first protein powder purchase.
If you’re still on the fence about whether increasing your protein intake is right for you. We have a range of helpful articles that discuss other benefits of eating protein!
The macronutrients in protein powders can contain help to reduce your appetite, minimising cravings and reducing snacking throughout the day. However, as with everything, this should be done in moderation alongside a healthy and balanced diet.
The use of complete proteins in your diet through amino acids can help to promote muscle synthesis. This can help to grow your muscles and repair tissue.
Typically, protein powder sits at 20-30g per serve. However, how much protein powder you should have will depend on the type of protein, along with the brand. Always follow the directions for your specific protein product.
What type of protein powder you have will help to determine when is the best time for consumption.
Typically, if you have a whey protein, consuming it within 15 minutes up to an hour after exercise can
help improve muscle growth and recovery. However, Casein protein is great to take before bed.
Once you’ve chosen what protein is best for your needs and fitness goals, a quick Google search can help to find the best time to consume your protein.