By continuing use this site, you agree to the Terms & Conditions and our use of cookies.
The best proteins for building muscle

The best proteins for building muscle


Protein can help you reach your ideal weight and can help your muscles recover after a good workout. But what exactly are proteins and when it comes to protein supplements which is best? Read this article to learn more about the different protein powder sources and which ones stand out from the rest.

What you need to know to choose the right protein supplements

Proteins are macronutrients found in many foods such as meat, dairy products, nuts and beans, to name but a few. They are amino acids, the basic units of human tissue, and promote healthy skin, hair, bones and nails as well as (drum roll, please) muscles. While many experts suggest fueling our bodies with whole foods, protein supplements can facilitate the assimilation of these amino acids. But not all protein supplements are created equal. Before explaining the pros and cons of different protein sources, it's important to understand the two main protein "families":

Concentrated proteins vs. protein isolates:proteins are obtained from various foods and then "concentrated" by eliminating the non-protein parts. The result is a powder containing 70-85% pure protein (the remaining 15-30% being mainly carbohydrates and lipids). Taking the concentration process a step further, protein "isolation" removes a much higher percentage of non-protein components. This further treatment results in a protein purity of up to 95%.

Complete proteins vs. incomplete proteins :Amino acids that cannot be manufactured by the body are called essential amino acids. Complete proteins" contain all 10 essential amino acids, while "incomplete proteins" contain some, but not all, essential amino acids.

OK, now that you've got the basics down, let's dive right in. Here's a detailed overview of the protein powder supplements available on the market, along with their advantages and disadvantages.

The advantages and disadvantages of different proteins

Whey proteins

The most popular protein supplement on the market today, whey is a by-product of the process of turning milk into cheese (seriously, who knew protein came from cheese?).

For :Whey proteins are known to promote muscle growth and fat loss. They also help maintain good health, particularly cardiovascular health, and a healthy metabolism. Whey protein is also rapidly absorbed by the body, which is useful for post-workout recovery.

Bonus :This inexpensive complete protein source comes in a wide variety of flavors ranging from vanilla to chocolate-mint. (Sorry, we couldn't find a cheese flavor for those looking to stay true to whey protein roots!)

Counter: Milk sugar (aka lactose) is an allergen that can make whey indigestible to some people. And while those delicious flavors make whey proteins a delicious choice, they often contain (depending on the brand) a host of artificial sweeteners and chemicals that are anything but desirable.

Casein proteins

In the mood for milk? Well, here's another protein powder that comes straight from milk. Casein is produced using a separation process applied to liquid milk which can concentrate or isolate milk proteins from carbohydrates and lipids.

ForCasein protein powder offers similar benefits to whey protein, but with a different release process. Because casein proteins are digested over the long term, research has shown that they are ideal proteins to consume before bedtime (Yum, a little protein shake before bed!)

Against :Casein is a by-product of milk, which makes it an allergen for many people, as is whey protein. It's not an ideal post-workout supplement, as it's slowly absorbed by the body. After exercise, the body needs nutrients to replenish and rebuild itself, so it's best to take whey protein or a combination of the two. Casein is also more expensive than whey protein, and often contains numerous artificial ingredients to help make it more edible.

Egg proteins

Egg proteins come from eggs ! These are complete proteins obtained by removing the yolks and dehydrating the egg whites.

ForApart from protein, egg protein is rich in vitamins and minerals that can contribute to a healthy diet.

CounterEgg allergy is common, as is milk allergy, particularly in children and young adults. Egg protein is also one of the most expensive protein supplements on the market, which is probably why Rocky Balboa used it.

Soy proteins

Soybeans are one of the only vegetable protein sources to contain all the essential amino acids. The protein is concentrated or isolated after the soybeans have been shelled and dried to obtain soy flour (which can also be used to make delicious pancakes!).

ForSoy: soy protein can help improve your body's immune function and enhance bone health. Soy may also help prevent cardiovascular disease and reduce the risk of certain cancers.

CounterIn recent years, soya has come under scrutiny, as it is often genetically modified to achieve higher crop yields. Some research has also highlighted the effects of soy on hormone levels. Many foods already contain a lot of soy, as it is an extremely low-cost protein. This observation has led some people to wonder whether adding more soy (via protein supplements) to our diet might not prove dangerous.

Rice proteins

Newsflash: there's protein in rice! Although often considered a carbohydrate, brown rice is also an increasingly popular source of vegetable protein powder.

For :Apart from protein, brown rice protein is considered a good source of complex carbohydrates, B vitamins and fiber. It's also hypoallergenic, meaning it's easy to digest and therefore almost entirely utilized by the body, producing almost no waste.

CounterUnlike soy protein, rice protein is not complete and does not contain certain amino acids, so it should not be the main source of protein in your diet.

Hemp proteins

Hemp proteins are obtained from the seeds of the cannabis plant, which has become increasingly popular in recent years. (Yes, we're talking strictly about hemp as a food source)

For :Often considered a "superfood" due to its blend of essential fatty acids, hemp has been shown to improve metabolism, brain function and blood circulation, and can help treat many diseases. Hemp protein also contains all 21 amino acids (making it a complete protein). This plant-based supplement is also extremely hypoallergenic, rich in fiber (excellent for digestion and satiety), making it an excellent food for weight loss.

CounterSince hemp is no longer harvested in large quantities in some countries due to its association with cannabis, it is often the most expensive protein supplement on the market.

Pea proteins

You thought we were done? Pea protein comes from the yellow split pea, making it a popular choice among vegetarians and even vegans.

For :As with most plant proteins, pea protein is hypoallergenic. It is over 98% digested, which means the body is able to process the vast majority of what you consume. It's a very satiating protein, which can help promote weight loss. They contain few additives or artificial ingredients, and are close to the protein sources of whole foods. Don't like peas? Don't worry, the protein powder version doesn't taste like mush!

Against :Pea protein is often considered complete, as it can contain the spectrum of essential amino acids. However, it does not contain certain amino acids in sufficient quantities and should not be used as a main source of protein.

Sheathing to gain mass

Looking to build mass? To gain mass, we often combine proteins such as whey protein with a carbohydrate-rich blend that makes this mixture much more calorie-dense than conventional protein powders. This blend is often used by bodybuilders looking to gain mass, or by elite athletes who find it difficult to consume enough calories to compensate for the large amount of calories burned during their intense workouts.

ForCalorie-packed, they allow you to consume more calories than you could with whole foods. They're also very economical, allowing you to cut your protein bill.

CounterNot surprisingly, this type of mass-building mix often contains numerous additives and artificial sweeteners. It's also worth mentioning that the immense amount of calories contained in these products doesn't necessarily translate into more muscle. In fact, all those extra calories will be stored as fat if they're not needed for recovery after intense exercise.

Tips before you buy your protein

When it comes to protein powders, there really is something for every taste, every budget and, above all, every use. Just keep in mind that when it comes to buying protein, it's like in life, "You get what you pay for". Low-cost protein brands often use cheap protein blends that may not turn out to be very digestible for the body. It's also worth noting that the amount of protein your body needs depends on your level of physical activity, your size and your gender. Testing different protein sources and quantities can help you determine the combination that will work best for you. And, just because it's easy to whip up a shake after your workout, doesn't mean protein powders have to completely replace whole foods. Protein powders are supplements, and you should use them as part of a balanced and varied diet.

Source : - Protein - Which is Best?

AuthorAlexandre CARPENTIER

Bodybuilding Champion N.A.C 2012

Alexandre shares his bodybuilding experience with MegaGear blog readers

Posted in: Sports nutrition