Protein powder is a popular ingredient that people add to smoothies and other drinks to make what they’re consuming a more well-rounded food. The challenge today, though, is that there are so many different types of protein powder on the market, it can be tough to decipher what kind is the best, according to Andrew Demetre, Charleston fitness coach.
Before you can make a decision as to what type of protein powder is right for you, you need to understand what it is you should be looking for. Below are some of the top factors that determine the best kind of protein powder.
One of the most important factors in the quality of a protein powder is its bioavailability. This measurement will tell you how much of the protein that’s included in the product your body will be able to actually absorb.
Scientists figure the biological value (BV) of a protein powder by having test subjects ingest the powder and then let the body process it. They then measure the levels of nitrogen that are in the subjects’ waste, which helps them measure the amount of protein in the waste compared to how much the person ingested.
Many protein powder manufacturers will use BV as their proof to show that their product is better than others on the market. The problem is that BV isn’t a complete look at the bioavailability of the product.
Today, the FDA uses PDCAAS as the standard for protein evaluation, which stands for Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score. This is one step beyond BV, combining that measurement with the amino acid profile of a protein.
While PDCAAS is slightly better than BV alone, it still doesn’t take into consideration protein that the gut’s bacteria may have eaten.
The newest measurement of protein is called DIAAS, or Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score. To determine this, the levels of nitrogen in the small intestine are measured rather than in the feces. This gives the most accurate evaluation of the bioavailability of a protein, since it takes the measurement before the protein can be consumed by bacteria in the gut.
What’s the Best Kind of Protein Powder?
With all that in mind, Andrew Demetre says that proteins derived from plants are soaring in popularity, but not all of them are good. Two that are rather complete, though, are soy protein and pea protein, which have DIAAS scores of .902 and 0.822, respectively.
Two other proteins, milk protein concentrate and whey protein, do score slightly higher on the DIAAS scale, at 1.18 and 1.09, respectively. One thing to keep in mind with soy and pea proteins is that they have a high level of sodium.
If you’re looking to build muscle during workouts, the best bet would typically be milk or whey isolate proteins. Whey protein isolate absorbs quickly, which makes it a solid choice for peri-workouts. Casein milk proteins digests more slowly, providing amino acids in a steady fashion, making it better for other periods of the workout.
About Andrew Demetre, Charleston Fitness
Andrew Demetre, Charleston health coach, physical trainer, and bodybuilder, first found his calling during the pandemic when he realized that many of his clients preferred working out from home. These days, Demetre uses his expertise to train clients from home, whether in the greater Charleston area or worldwide. Andrew firmly believes every client can achieve their ideal body through hard work and dedication — no gym membership needed.