Protein powders are nutritional formulations that are concentrated forms of protein available in the powdered form. These powders are consumed as dietary supplements to help meet daily protein needs, or for purposes like weight gain or loss, or muscle recovery from injury or surgery. The powder is made by extracting protein components from animal or plant source. A variety of processing methods can be employed to extract the protein component from the source, which results in different forms of protein powders, such as concentrates and isolates.
The nutrition powder market has three common forms of protein powder including protein concentrate, protein isolate, and protein hydrolysates.
Protein Concentrate is one of the best protein-rich dairy ingredients to supplement diets with protein. These products can contain different levels of protein, ranging from 25-89 per cent, depending on the brand. The whey protein concentrate market has high demand as they provide additional nutrients and immunity-boosting effects.
Protein Isolates are a type of protein powder that goes through an additional filtering process than a concentrate. The processing revolves around removing fat, lactose, gluten, etc., to collect the purest protein fractions. The lack of lactose makes it a better option for people with lactose intolerance.
Protein Hydrolysate is obtained by enzymatic hydrolysis of whole protein sources. By further processing the protein sources with acids and enzymes, it breaks the bonds between amino acids. They are much quicker to be absorbed by the body and muscles.
Multiple types of protein powders are available for one to choose from in the nutritional space category. Some of the most common protein powders available in the market include whey, casein, soy, pea, and hemp, among others. Whey protein is the most widely known and utilised protein supplement and it is also the one that researchers have focused on the most.
Whey Protein is majorly obtained through milk. It is a complete form of protein, and it contains all the necessary amino acids required by the human body. Although it contains lactose, a milk sugar that many people find difficult to digest, it is also abundant in protein.
The whey protein concentrates and isolate variant can be a better option as the former retains low levels of lactose and the latter variant retains the least amount as most of the lactose is separated during the processing.
Casein Protein is a type of protein that is available in milk. Casein absorption and process rate are considerably slower compared to whey protein. When casein and stomach acid mix together, a gel is formed that slows the emptying of the stomach and delays the absorption rate of amino acids into the blood circulation system.
This makes our muscles’ exposure to amino acids more gradual and steadier, which results in a slow rate of protein breakdown in our muscles.
Soy Protein is the most widely chosen option as a source of protein, as well as vitamins and minerals, for those who adopt a plant-based diet or avoid dairy. It is also the main protein type found in soy products, including tofu, tempeh, soy milk, and other soy-based dairy and meat alternatives. It can also be availed as soy protein powder, which one can take as a dietary supplement.
Pea Protein has become an increasingly popular option among people who are vegetarians, vegans, or have dairy or egg allergies or sensitivities. It is produced by utilising yellow split peas, which are high in fibre and contain all except one of the necessary amino acids. It also has an exceptionally high level of BCAA content.
Hemp Protein is the other popular plant-based supplement among vegans and those with lactose intolerance or soy allergy. Although it has been linked to marijuana, hemp only has very little quantities of the intoxicating THC.
Hemp is one of the good sources of necessary amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids. However, because of the low concentrations of the amino acids lysine and leucine, it is not regarded as a complete protein.
Protein is one of the fundamental components of the human body and acts as the building block for bone, muscle, and skin. Protein can be helpful for various things one might want to do, including weight management, a complete diet, post-workout muscle recovery, and muscle growth. However, with such diverse options available in the market, it is advisable for consumers to do their research and choose the right product depending on their needs.