Many people have asked me what my thoughts are on protein supplements. So I have decided to write a post for everyone with my opinion to some common questions. The advice I am giving is for people who are exercising to stay fit. For bodybuilders and athletes there will be other factors you need to consider.
Do I need to take a protein supplement?
The answer to this question depends on your goals. My first answer is always try and get all the protein you need from quality food in your diet (chicken, turkey, beef, eggs and beans are all good sources). However I know this is not always possible or convenient. So if you are not able to get your protein needs from your diet then use a protein supplement.
Should I use a protein powder or protein bar?
In my experience protein bars usually have more added ingredients and added sugar than powder. For this reason I always use protein powder (this is the one I take).
What are the different protein powders?
The first choice is the type of protein. Usually the choice is between casein or whey protein (some contain both). Both these proteins come from milk, so for normal people it does not matter which you choose (for athletes/bodybuilders - whey is absorbed by the body quicker than casein).
The next choice is between concentrate, isolate or hydrolysed (you can also get a blend). This is the amount of processing the protein has gone through and how pure it is. Concentrate has gone through the least processing and hydrolysed has been processed the most (in protein powders more processing means it is absorbed quicker and a better product). However for normal people there will not be much difference between hydrolysed, isolate or concentrate.
Which is the most expensive?
Hydrolysed is normally more expensive and concentrate is usually the cheapest because of the amount of processing
Which protein powder should I use?
This is where it comes down to you! For someone who is exercising a few times a week and just needs some extra protein in their diet I would recommend a good quality whey protein concentrate with minimal added ingredients and little to no added sugars (this is the brand I use and they have sample size packs). Isolate and hydrolysed protein cost a lot more money and only really give benefits to people training specifically for sports or bodybuilding. However...... protein powder taste and the ability to digest it is different for every person. Try a sample first. See if you like the taste and see if you have any problems digesting it. If it passes those tests you have found your protein powder!