However, what may be confusing is what type of protein supplement to choose. Here is a list of common protein supplements and what to look out for when choosing one.
Whey protein is a liquid bi-product of cheese production. It is considered to have many beneficial properties such as weight loss, assisting with increasing muscle mass, as well as decreasing recovery time and symptoms of over-training. Whey protein is high in branch chain amino acids and leucine which are the specific amino acids used to build and repair muscle. When you are looking to choose a whey protein supplement, make sure there are minimal additives and sweeteners, and choose a whey protein concentrate (as opposed to isolate or hydosylate) as it contains a higher amount of protein in addition to beneficial immunoglobulins that help support the immune system and is less processed.
Vegan-Based Protein (Not soy)
Plant-based protein can be highly absorbable and contain many of the amino acids needed to build and repair muscle. They also contain other phyto-nutrients that are beneficial to health. Some examples include, pea, hemp, chlorella, sprulina, and chia. Again, look for supplements with minimal additives and sweeteners. Usually, a combination of plant proteins will give you a better overall coverage of protein.
BCAA (Branch Chain Amino Acids)
These are the building blocks of the muscle tissue. They are important to take before or after a rigorous workout.
Unless you are planning on eating fermented soy such as miso or tempeh, STAY AWAY from protein powders that are made with soy. They are highly processed and used the unfermented version of soy which is deleterious to your body.
It is also wise to have communication with companies that sell protein supplements in order to know if they have been tested for heavy metal composition and to know if there are any other additives that are not mentioned on the label. In general, the more private a company is about their product, the more suspicious you should be to take it.
References: John Leyva, CSCS, CPT, Whey Protein: Benefits, Risks, & Top Picks, Builtlean