If you're anything like me you try to consume enough protein that anything you do in the gym will be utilized when you are out of the gym. Protein shakes, meat, eggs, small dogs, and bugs (Just kidding, maybe).
Until recently I didn't give much of a brain cell about the type of protein I consumed because frankly, I figured it was all the same. I knew whey and casein were different but that's about as much as I cared. Until I realized that's stupid.
So here's the no-BS breakdown of proteins:
Whey (Milk Protein):
Whey is the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained. It is a byproduct of the manufacturing of cheese or casein.
Whey protein is the collection of globular proteins isolated from whey. The protein in cow's milk is 20% whey protein and 80% casein protein, whereas the protein in human milk is 70% whey and 30% casein.
Whey protein concentrate is one of the most digestible and bioavailable proteins around. Whey protein concentrate is that liquid, dried into a powdered form.
Whey concentrate is mostly protein with minimal fats and carbs. It’s special because of its host of precious bioactive compounds, which are what give whey its immune-boosting and antioxidant benefits.
Organic, grass-fed whey is said to be the best of the best. USDA Organic certified whey protein is sourced from cows that were not treated with antibiotics, rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone), or other synthetic veterinary drugs. Aka no endocrine (hormone) interrupters.
Whey Concentrate, Isolate, Hydrolysate:
Concentrate. Whey protein in this form is used in many products, from protein shakes and bars to infant formula. Each has different amounts of lactose (a sugar found in milk) and fat, depending on its intended use.
Isolate. Whey is processed to reduce its fat and lactose content, leaving mainly protein. Whey protein isolate may be better for people who have trouble digesting lactose (lactose intolerance). But it’s not for people with milk allergies.
Hydrolysate. When whey protein is hydrolyzed, its protein chains are broken down, which makes it easier to digest. This type of whey is most often used in infant formulas.
Casein (Milk Protein):
This wasn't included in whey protein because while it's a milk protein with similarities it's very different. Casein is digested and absorbed much more slowly.
Casein forms a gel when it interacts with stomach acid, slowing down stomach emptying and delaying your bloodstream’s absorption of amino acids. This results in a gradual, steadier exposure of your muscles to amino acids, reducing the rate of muscle protein breakdown. It's ideal for when you go to bed so your stomach can slowly release protein overnight.
Pea protein powder is especially popular among vegetarians, vegans, and people with allergies or sensitivities to dairy or eggs. It is foul and the texture is shit, it's also not a complete protein. I will cover another article on what makes a protein complete here soon.
It’s made from the yellow split pea, a high-fiber legume that misses one of the essential amino acids. Pea protein is also particularly rich in BCAAs.
There are many plant proteins such as hemp, brown rice, alfalfa, and so on. I do not recommend any of them unless you cannot stomach or afford whey. I have yet to find a plant protein that is complete or doesn't have the texture of wet sand and tastes like cow cud.
Let me know if you find a decent one so we can go gorilla mode.
Collagen is a compound found in your skin and in the connective tissues that make up your tendons, ligaments, muscles, and more. There are more than 28 different kinds of collagen found in the human body so it’s the most abundant protein in the body. It’s aptly named after the Greek word “kólla,” meaning “glue.”
However, over time, aging breaks down the collagen in your body and makes it more difficult to produce more. Starting in our 20s, our bodies begin producing less collagen each year — a decrease that is exacerbated by elements like sun exposure and smoking.
Made from animal tissues, this nutritional powder is typically hydrolyzed, which means the proteins have already been broken down, making it easier for your body to absorb them.
Vitamin C is crucial for collagen synthesis, so you should also be sure to eat foods rich in this vitamin, such as citrus fruits, broccoli, and bell peppers.
While there are still studies being done about how effective collagen is at repairing what you've broken down it is determined taking collagen can assist with maintaining what you have. It isn't a complete protein but very useful.
This is my favorite protein powder because while it isn't complete I can mix it into literally anything to add some proteins and they will become complete in combination with other things I eat.
What to do?
So, based on everything I've learned and tried out over the years I have figured out a method that works for me. This isn't a plug but just the brands I think taste good for the price and work.
Granted, I try to supplement with supplements. That means my goal is to get the majority of my proteins and needs from real food but man, eating that much protein can be expensive and difficult.
My go-to daily combination has become:
- Daytime Whey (Dymatize iso100)
- Anytime Collagen (Vital Proteins)
- Nightime Casein (Cottage cheese OR Beyond Raw® ISO-Casein P.M.)
If you have any questions or requests feel free to drop them below or shoot us a message.