What Makes A Quality Protein?

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We always keep telling you that the king of protein sources is whey protein. However, there can be a big difference between two whey products. Plus, there are other protein sources as well, which may get absorbed slower, but in certain situations this can be an advantage over whey protein. So, what is the right choice? Which protein source is worth choosing if you cannot afford several proteins to make stacks for different times of the day?

Protein hierarchy

Now let’s see the protein sources. Which are the ones you should prefer and why?

Whey protein hydrolysate

At the present state of science this is the fastest absorbing whey protein. It has an outstanding biological value and can raise the concentration of amino acids in your blood very quickly after ingestion. It is prepared by enzymatic hydrolysis. This means, it is made with enzymes, without heating.

Whey protein isolate

It was considered the best form of whey protein for a long time. This protein is made by cross flow micro filtration. Only hydrolysate can compare with its biological value and fast absorption; in any other respect, it is better than any other protein product. It is still the main ingredient of post-workout protein shakes.

Whey protein concentrate

This type of protein is absorbed somewhat slower than the previous one, but the body can utilize it highly efficiently. It is prepared by ultra- and micro-filtration. In our opinion, if you can afford one type of protein, this is the protein source that is suitable for more or less any purpose, because it is still fast enough to provide you the necessary amino acids after workout, but not as fast that you get hungry and your nitrogen levels upset half an hour later.

Milk protein isolate

80% of milk protein isolate is casein and 20% is whey. Its casein content ensures a prolonged supply of amino acids. Needless to say how important it is for athletes who should maintain a positive nitrogen balance on an ongoing basis. It can be consumed basically any time of the day. However, after workout, a protein source with faster absorption is recommended.

Micellar casein

What makes casein popular among athletes is not only its sustained release but its remarkable 20% glutamine content as well. It is a common ingredient of night proteins but it can also be useful by day, as (similarly to milk protein isolate) it ensures a sustained release of amino acids for your body, which can be crucial if you have to skip a meal. Micellar casein is the best choice. It is drawn from milk using cold filtration and enzymatic processes. Doing so, the end product is an undamaged and undenatured protein source with even better immunity-boosting and muscle building properties.

Further useful ingredients might include various whey peptides (“predigested” whey protein fractions), egg albumin (which makes about half of the protein content of eggs) or calcium caseinate.

All at one place?

Now you know what are the best protein sources regarding their absorption characteristics and biological values. But which one to choose? Maybe a concentrate, as mentioned above, as a multi-purpose solution?

Well, we have a better idea. What if I told you there is a protein product that contains all of the above-mentioned protein sources? One protein that starts to supply amino acids for your body as soon as possible and for as long as possible. So you can have it after workout or before bed: after all, it contains both fast and slow protein sources!

Of course, there are only a few proteins that can do it all. Frankly, if you are looking for a (seemingly) cost-efficient solution, you are less likely to run into such a product.

But if you prefer quality and you are willing to spend a little more on it, it is worth searching for a product like that. Cheap proteins may be tempting because it seems like you get a lot of “powder” for relatively less money. But if you calculate the actual protein content per portion or take a closer look at the type of protein sources and their biological values, you may find out that the cheapest protein is not necessarily the best value for money, even if it sounds tempting at first.

So, what makes a quality protein product?

Now, based on the last three articles (you can read the previous ones here and here), let’s summarize what a quality protein product should contain:

  • Several types of protein: whey hydrolysate, isolate, concentrate, casein (preferably several types), whey peptides, egg albumin

  • Added amino acids: most of all, glutamine and BCAAs, especially leucine

  • Digestive enzymes like bromelain
  • Prebiotics and maybe xylitol

Further benefits

  • Should be as low on carbs (especially sugar) as possible
  • Should be low on fat, especially saturated fats
  • And yes, it should have a pleasant taste as well—this is the 21st century, after all!

Now how many of these criteria does your protein fulfill?

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