So you’ve started up on your fat loss diet and are all set to see excellent results. You’re excited about the progress you hope to be seeing and are ready to put in a good effort with each workout you do and meal you eat.
One of the top priorities for those who are getting ready to begin a fat loss diet plan is going to be making sure they are eating enough protein throughout the day. Make no mistake about it; if you fall short in your protein intake, you’re going to be compromising your results.
That said, there are many things that you can do that will help you get your protein intake up higher where it needs to be. Protein powder is one of them.
But, all protein powders are not created equally, therefore it’s going to be up to you to decipher between the varieties and choose whichever best meets your needs at the time.
While at the end of the day, simply getting protein in is most important so you won’t ever do yourself injustice by choosing wrongly, but you could simply improve your results even more if you make the wise decision.
Let’s look at what you need to know.
The very first protein powder to know about is a whey hydrosolate. This protein variation tends to be the highest in price due to the fact that it is the most intensive from a manufacturing point of view.
The pros of this protein powder is that it will be the fastest digesting protein powder on the market, so it’s ideal for immediately post-workout when your muscles are hungry for amino acids.
The drawback is that because it does digest so rapidly, it will spike insulin and blood sugar levels slightly more. After a workout, this is a great thing and can help you recover faster.
But beyond your workout, it’s not ideal. That increase in blood glucose levels could then mean you continue on to experience a decrease in blood glucose, which can cause hunger and feelings of light-headedness and weakness to set in.
So save this one post-workout if you’re going this route.
The next protein powder is the whey isolate. Like the hydrosolate, this one is also designed to be very rapid digesting and is almost, but not quite, as fast as the hydrosolate.
The benefits here are that these protein powders are almost always fat free as well as carb free – or as close to it as you can get, so for those who are on intense fat loss diets and who don’t have much ‘wiggle room’ with these two macronutrients, this can be ideal.
Another added benefit to these protein powders is that the lactose is typically removed during the manufacturing process, meaning that you will not suffer from any lactose-induced side effects if that tends to be an issue for you.
For those who can’t tolerate dairy, often this is the only protein they can consume.
Whey isolate’s also tend to mix up very easily without a blender, so are perfect for the person on the go.
Moving along, now we come to whey concentrates. These are the standard whey protein powders and will often be found at a slightly cheaper price than both the hydrosolate’s as well as the isolates, so if budget is a concern, often the route you’ll want to go.
One unique benefit of whey concentrate that the isolate misses out on is the fact that it contains immune boosting properties, so can help to strengthen your immune system. Whey concentrate also tends to have appetite blunting effects in many people, so can help calm hunger while dieting.
When a protein powder is turned into an isolate, these properties are often stripped from it, so those protein powders aren’t quite as ‘health promoting’ as a whey concentrate is.
On the downside however, whey concentrates do often contain a few grams of carbohydrates and fats, so they aren’t going to be quite as lean of an option as the isolate and hydrosolates are.
They also digest slightly slower but aren’t the most slow digesting protein out there (we’ll discuss that next) and do contain lactose, so that’s also important to remember.
Finally, the last protein power that needs to be discussed is casein protein powder. This is the more slow digesting protein variety available and will release its amino acids into your blood stream over a number of hours after consumption.
This makes it very ideal before bed or when you know you’ll be going a long time without food. Casein protein powders are available in many different brands and it will vary from brand to brand how many carbs and fats it contains. Check the label – but in most cases you won’t be facing too many grams of either nutrient, so they also tend to be a relatively lean option.
Casein protein powders do not, however, blend up easily without a blender and will have a much thicker and sometimes chalky texture to them. For this reason, some people don’t prefer them as they are a bit harder to get down if you’re more of a fussy eater.
But on the contrary, they tend to work great if you’re preparing many food-like dishes with your protein powder such as puddings, bars, and so on because they are so thick so they will form a gummy type of consistency that helps keep the texture of such recipes intact.
So all in all, while all four protein powder variations do have their pros and cons, you won’t go wrong choosing either one of them. Each will help you get your protein intake up and your needs met so that you don’t risk lean muscle mass loss while dieting and promote faster recovery from your workout sessions.
Shannon Clark holds a Degree in Exercise Science and Sports Performance and is a certified AFLCA personal trainer. She has been working in the health and fitness industry for the last 12 years and writes for FitRated.com, bodybuilding.com and magazines on the topics of health, fitness, weight loss, and dieting.