Protein powders are a great way to supply your body with high quality, convenient and cost effective nutrition to support any training program or even simply healthy living. There are many different types of protein powders but the main differences are outlined below:
Lean Protein Powders: These are protein powders that have no added cars or fats and are usually either Whey Protein Isolate (WPI), Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) or Casein (Milk Protein Isolate) or some kind of blend between these types. To quickly summarise the differences between these types, WPI is fast digesting (30 mins) and best for directly before and after training. WPC is normal digestion speed (2-4 hours) and is best as a general dietary supplement to increase protein levels throughout the day. Casein is very slow digesting (8 hours) and is best to take either right before bed or as a meal replacement.
Weight Gain Protein Powders: These a protein powders that use the same types of protein powder as lean protein powders, except there have been carbs and fats added into the blend. The protein component will usually be a blend of WPI, WPC and Casein to have a sustained release in the blood stream. The main thing to look for in a weight gain protein powder is that you are getting the right ratio of protein to carbs. Most weight gainers are called 50/50 blends meaning equal protein and carb content which is suitable for most people that want to gain weight. However others will have ratios more like 1:2 or 1:3 which is more suitable for people that find it the most difficult to gain weight.
Dairy Alternatives: These are protein powders that contain no dairy and are best for vegans, vegetarians and people with lactose intolerance. It is worth mentioning that pure WPI is legally considered lactose free and is usually suitable for people with mild allergies. The most common dairy alternatives are pea protein, rice protein, bean sprout protein and beef protein. Yes beef protein powder is a real thing. To differentiate the dairy alternatives the main thing to note would be that rice has the highest biological value (meaning highest utilisation in your body). Next hhighest is beef protein isolate followed by pea protein.