Any protein shop you enter is likely to have an entire wall devoted to protein powders. But most consumers don’t know how these powders are made or even what the specific benefits of each type are.  Keep reading to learn more about protein powders and which is right for your specific needs.

How Protein Powder Is Made

Protein powders are, as you would have guessed, powdered sources of protein manufactured from soy, peas, rice, hemp, and dairy and egg products. They can be found in complete protein powders, concentrates, isolates, and hydrolysates, among other forms.

Whey is a well-known example of a full protein powder. Whey is the watery liquid portion of milk that splits off during the making of cheese or yogurt. Whey proteins are extracted and refined from this liquid to produce whey protein powder. In this form, whey protein consists primarily of the milk sugar lactose, along with modest amounts of vitamins, minerals, and protein. While whey protein in this form is a common ingredient in food goods, plant-based proteins are typically only found in the more processed forms we're about to discuss.

Types of Protein Powder

An example of how not all protein products are created equally is how a protein powder is prepared, which directly affects how much protein it actually contains.

Protein Concentrate

Protein is extracted from the initial material, such as liquid whey, to create protein concentrates using either heat or enzymes. This gets rid of the water, some lactose, and minerals. Because they still include some fat and carbs, concentrates often have less protein than isolates. These protein powders contain 60-80% protein while the remaining 20-30% is made up of lipids and carbohydrates.

Protein Isolate

Protein isolate powders often contain 90–95% more protein than protein concentrates do. Components including carbs, lipids, and minerals are eliminated during processing to create a protein isolate. To put it another way, protein is separated. Whey protein isolates can typically be consumed without causing an upset stomach even by individuals who are lactose intolerant because lactose is eliminated when whey is used as the starting ingredient. Plant-based protein powders marketed as "isolates" typically lack dietary fiber unless it is added after processing since carbs are eliminated.

Protein Hydrolysate

Enzymes in our digestive tract must break the connections between amino acids to generate shorter chains and specific amino acids in order for them to be absorbed into our circulation. The majority of this job has been done for us by protein hydrolysate powders, which contain "pre-digested" proteins created by heating, acidifying, or treating with enzymes to hasten absorption.

Check the label of the protein powder you choose to see if it is a concentrate, isolate, or hydrolysate. Protein concentrate can include less than two-thirds protein, which will affect both how rapidly the protein is absorbed and how "pure" a supply of protein it is.

Final Thoughts

Plant-based protein powders typically require fewer processing steps when it comes to the procedures involved. They generally taste better, thus fewer flavorings and additives are required to try to disguise their inherent flavor. So go no further than vegan protein powders if you're seeking for a less processed protein with more critical vitamins, nutrients, fatty acids, and antioxidants.

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