QUICK GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING PROTEIN POWDERS
Originally Posted on
The use of protein powders to aid muscle growth and repair is becoming increasingly popular. But with this popularity comes a bigger variety of protein types on offer, and this can be confusing. As always we’re here to demystify sports nutrition and help you work out what protein is right for you.
A recovery protein shake is designed to be your one stop drink to kick start the recovery process. The idea being it contains protein, carbohydrates and electrolytes, with an aim of ticking off the three ‘R’s of recovery.
- Repair with protein
- Refuel with carbohydrates
- Rehydrate with fluid and electrolytes
The higher carbohydrate content is what makes a recovery protein drink different from your normal protein drink. It is there to help replenish the glycogen stores that are used up during exercise. Ideally this should be consumed within 20-30 minutes of finishing a workout, as the opportunity to effectively replenish glycogen stores declines with time.
WHEY CONCENTRATE PROTEIN
Whey is the most popular form of protein found in supplements and is a bi-product of cheese production. Whey protein can come in different forms, the most popular being whey concentrate.
Typically the protein content in whey concentrate is around 80% and it also contains some carbohydrates and fat. Whey concentrate is designed to be taken around workouts, particularly resistance training, to help encourage muscle mass gain or preserve lean muscle mass. The protein intake is beneficial for consistently providing the body with the building blocks needed to continue protein synthesis and help reduce muscle soreness and damage.
WHEY ISOLATE PROTEIN
Another type of whey protein is whey isolate. This a further purified version of whey concentrate and can therefore be absorbed quicker by the body. This is why whey isolate is a more expensive, purer protein option with approximately 90% protein content. It is also lower in fat and carbohydrate which makes this the protein of choice for high performance athletes or people with specific weight or nutritional goals to meet. Whey isolate is also lower in lactose and a good option for anyone that struggles with stomach discomfort associated with lactose.
PLANT BASED PROTEIN
Plant sources of protein are becoming increasingly popular, opening up the protein market to vegetarians, vegans and people who are lactose intolerant. The most popular forms of plant based proteins are soy, pea, hemp and rice. Plant based proteins don’t naturally contain the same functional branched chain amino acids (find out more about BCAA’s here) as whey protein, most notably leucine, but they still have many benefits for recovery and general health. Also plant based proteins are becoming ever more appealing due to the manufacturing process not being as heavy as whey protein.
OTE have a soya recovery protein powder available in chocolate and strawberry flavour, which is vegan friendly and gluten-free.