What Protein Supplement Should I Take?

With all the different types of proteins out there, it can be overwhelming to shop!

Protein powders are awesome for folks looking to get more protein in their diet and are popular among fitness enthusiasts, bodybuilders, and athletes. But there’s often a lot of questions about these supplements because there are so many options on the shelves! Check out this quick guide to help you make that decision.

“How much protein do I need each day?”

There’s no right answer to this question because it varies so much from person to person, plus it is based on your activity level and weight goals. If you’re a vegetarian, the number goes up. If you engage in endurance training, the number goes up. If you lift weights, the number goes up. The rule of thumb in the workout community is to consume about 1g-1.5g of protein for every pound you weigh. Here’s a neat and simple calculator that takes activity level, types of exercise, and other factors into account. (And if you want even more information than you’ve ever wanted to know on protein, check out a very comprehensive guide from Bodybuilding.com)

“Do I even need a protein powder?”

Need? Nope. If you can get your target amount of protein each day from regular foods like chicken, beans, fish, meats, dairy, and so on, stick with that. It’s the best way to get your protein. But realistically, it can be tough to cook or get in meals if you’re busy with work or school, which is why protein powders are so popular. They’re quick, they’re easy, and most importantly, they’re convenient. It’s a lot easier to get a quick shake in after a workout by just adding water, mixing, and drinking.

“Can I have too much protein in my diet?”

Yes. How much is too much? The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine suggest that if more than 35% of you total daily calories are protein, you’re probably eating too much. Excess protein can’t be stored in the body (like fat and carbs) so eating too much may put a strain on the kidneys and liver. Before you make any big changes, be sure to talk with a doctor of physician!

“What are the types of powders?”

Whey: Whey protein is derived from milk and comes in two forms, concentrate and isolate. Whey concentrate is more economical per gram of protein. It has a low lactose level that is well tolerated by most lactose-sensitive people. Whey isolate is virtually fat-free and is typically lactose-free for those sensitive to the low-lactose levels found in whey concentrate. Learn more

Casein: Since most of the protein (80%) in milk is casein, the terms “milk protein” and “casein protein” are used interchangeably. The key difference between whey and casein is that whey is absorbed in the digestive system quickly, whereas casein is absorbed slowly and steadily. This makes it a great protein to take late at night for digestion as you sleep. Learn more

Egg White: Like milk proteins, egg white is also naturally very low in fat and carbs. Egg white protein is cholesterol-free and an excellent choice for those who wish to avoid dairy products. Learn more

Plant: Plant proteins are ideal alternatives to whey, milk or egg white protein. They are derived from a variety of sources, including peas, hemp, sprouts, and grains and seeds like brown rice, quinoa, millet, spirulina, chia and more. They’re rich in vitamins and minerals, and often provide antioxidants, amino acids, fiber and more. Learn more

Check out Mo breaking down the different types of protein supplements on the BeefHeads Fitness YouTube channel:

Have a tip or recommendation? Tell us in the comments!

Leave a Comment