The scoop on protein

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The scoop on protein

Anyone who wants to add a protein supplement to their daily meal plan has a decision to make.

Protein supplements are available in many forms and flavors, including powder, pre-mixed drinks, tablets, and nutritional bars. Each has varying amounts of protein and may include other vitamins and nutrients. Below are some popular types of protein powders:


Whey protein is one of the two proteins found in cow’s milk. As a “complete protein,” whey contains all nine essential amino acids. It is easily digested and is considered by many to be the gold standard for building muscle. Types of whey protein include concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysate. The difference occurs in the processing. For example, whey isolate undergoes more processing than whey concentrate, with isolate having a higher protein content and less carbs, fat, and lactose.


Like whey protein, casein protein is found in cow’s milk. It is digested and absorbed into the bloodstream much more slowly than whey. Its slow digestion makes it a popular choice for supporting muscle growth and recovery overnight.


Egg white protein powder, like whey, is considered a complete protein. It is dairy-free and easily absorbed by the body. It is an option for people who are lactose intolerant or have dairy sensitivities. However, people with known allergies or sensitivities to eggs should opt for an alternative source of protein.


Plant-based proteins are an alternative to animal-based proteins and are higher in fiber and lower in fat. Some of these protein powders contain only one type of plant-based protein, such as pea or brown rice, while others contain a mixture.

Protein powders are convenient, but unnecessary for most people, according to Harvard Medical School. Most people can get enough protein from their regular diets. However, others—like athletes and other active individuals—may opt for a higher protein intake.