From crickets to cows to peas - there are all kinds of proteins available out there. And it can be confusing to know which is right for you. This short list of the most common proteins will help you narrow down which is the best fit for you.
Whey Protein Concentrate - a by-product of the process of making milk into cheese; easily digestible and the least processed of the milk-based proteins.
Pros: comes in easily accessible forms, available in many flavors.
Cons: animal based, contains lactose.
Whey Protein Isolate - whey protein concentrate that’s been refined to remove more of the non-protein content. Has the same benefits of Whey Concentrate, but with higher protein yield per serving. Fastest digesting, making it great for recovery.
Pros: high protein yield.
New Zealand Whey Protein - this product comes in a concentrate and isolate, but it is a protein that comes from some of the happiest cows in the world that live in Canada (not what you thought, huh?). These cows are treated without any hormones and fed a really nutritious diet. It’s one of the true un-denatured protein products, but you do pay a heftier price for the quality. Pros: truly clean and natural protein product, undenatured. Cons: price.
Casein (Milk Protein) - produced using a separation process applied to liquid milk that can concentrate or isolate the milk protein from the carbs and fats. It digests over a long period of time making it a great protein for before bed or better appetite control. However, it is more expensive than whey and much less palatable.
Pros: sustaining, great mix in with whey.
Cons: price, taste.
Egg Protein - a complete protein made by separating out the yolks and dehydrating the egg whites. Rice in vitamins and minerals, it is a more expensive protein option.
Pros: highly nutritious.
Bone Broth Protein - the hottest new protein on the market; made from the broth produced by boiling bones. It is one of the most nutritious foods you can eat! Proteins are also very versatile, including in recipes. It does taste like broth.
Pros: highly nutritious, flavor.
Cons: animal based.
Beef Protein - exactly what it sounds like, but defatted to remove the fat and cholesterol, and has no taste. Non-dairy, non-plant, and a great source of natural creatine. It is one of the more expensive proteins.
Pros: nutritious, flavor-less naturally.
Cons: price, animal-based.
Plant Based Proteins
Soy Protein - protein from soybeans; it is more nutrient dense, showing benefits for the immune and circulatory systems. Contains isoflavones which can have an effect on hormones. Highly genetically modified.
Pros: nutrient dense, affordable.
Cons: possible hormone interaction, GMO’s.
Hemp Protein - made from hemp seeds and is from a variety of the cannabis family, but contains no THC. Has over 20 amino acids (including the nine essential) and is one of the most nutritious protein powders available. Mild taste with slight nutty flavor. High in Omega-3 and Omega-6, two critically important essential fatty acids.
Good source of fiber.
Pros: highly nutritious. Cons: price.
Pea Protein - one of the most hypoallergenic powders available, made from where its name comes from, peas. It contains no gluten or dairy, is easy on the stomach and doesn’t cause bloating. It’s beneficial for blood sugar levels, a healthy heart, and even your kidneys.
Pros: nutrient dense, hypoallergenic.
Cons: can be harder to find, cost.
Rice Protein - also hypoallergenic, comes from various forms of rice (look for brown rice). Proven just as effective as whey protein for building muscle and weight loss. Does not contain all the essential amino acids unless blended with quinoa or chia proteins.
Pros: effective as whey, affordable.
Cons: not a complete amino acid complex.