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What Are the Different Types of Protein Powder Supplements?

Protein powder.
Milk and eggs, which are both used to make protein powder.
Add a few teaspoons of dried eggs whites to a smoothie for a protein boost.
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  • Written By: M. Kayo
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 30 September 2014
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There are four different types of protein powder supplements: whey, milk, egg, and soy. Protein powder supplements use proteins from different sources to provide weight lifters and those who exercise with the highest possible levels of protein. Protein is one of the essential elements necessary for the proper functioning of the human body. Protein powder supplements not only provide a rich source of concentrated protein for body-builders and those who want optimal muscle strength and development, they also boost to the immune system, promote healing, and contribute to healthier skin. Distinguishing between the many types and brands of protein powder supplements can be confusing so it pays to do some research.

Protein powder supplements are typically mixed into milk, juice, or water and made from many different types of foods including milk, rice, eggs, casein, whey and even brazil nuts. Supplements made from whey are probably the most common type of supplements on the market and come in three forms: isolates, concentrates, and hydrolyzed. Isolates have most all of the fat and lactose removed and about 75% of those remaining are absorbed by the body.

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Concentrates are typically low in fat and cholesterol but have a high level of milk carbohydrates and about 60% body absorption. Hydrolyzed protein powder supplements are also highly concentrated and have a 99% body absorption rate. Hydrolyzed supplements are likely going to be the most expensive of all protein supplements. Those trying to lose weight while using a protein supplement should check the fat content in each scoop.

Protein supplements made from egg whites will have all the necessary amino acids used by the body for developing lean muscle. The amount of protein found in egg whites is very high, the fat content is practically non-existent, and there they contain no cholesterol. Egg protein powder supplements are made from ingredients found only in eggs making this supplement an almost perfect and natural form of soluble protein.

Casein protein supplements are perfect for providing a steady release of protein into the body over several hours. Going to bed on an empty stomach may encourage the body to use its own muscles for energy during the night — the catabolic effect. Drinking casein protein powder before bed prevents this catabolic effect and satisfies hunger pangs until the next morning. In comparison, whey protein is absorbed by the body within and hour and makes for a perfect supplement right before or during a workout. Casein protein requires six to eight hours to be properly digested, making it the perfect bed time protein supplement.

Soy protein powders aid in improving the amino acid levels of other foods, making them more nutritious and helping to lower chlolesterol, but may not be as effective as other protein powder supplements. All the amino acids needed for growing and maintaining strong muscles tissue are available in soy protein. This type of protein powder, however, may not taste as good or mix as well as other supplements.

There are also blends of all of the above types of protein that provide the muscle-building power of whey protein with the anti-catabolic capabilities of casein protein. Before choosing a supplement, it may be best to establish some basic exercise or bodybuilding goals. Then, the protein powder supplements that work best for a given regimen or workout routine can be chosen.

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