Protein blends and their importanceYou’d be forgiven for taking your time deciding on the flavour of your protein blend, but whether you’re new to supplements or you’re getting further involved with fitness and are trying to look your best, there’s more than taste you have to consider when choosing a protein. You probably already know a bit about the benefits of adding protein powder to your daily diet and the role it plays in building and maintaining your muscles whilst aiding your body in burning a higher proportion of fat in daily activity. One might assume that you also know proteins can be derived in a number of different ways and from a number of sources - you can quite easily get a hold of protein derived from rice, egg whites and meats but the most widely available protein comes from milk. Unless you are looking to cut out specific ingredients you are unlikely to take interest in Paleo protein or vegan proteins, milk protein is then your best bet and because of it’s mass market appeal it is the most cost efficient and widely produced protein available.
Which types of protein blends exist?[caption id="attachment_2821" align="aligncenter" width="579" class=" "] Different protein blends exist, not just one type[/caption] In general we would want to cover the specific proteins of whey concentrate, casein, isolates and hydrolysate. Specifically, it’s worth mentioning that hydrolysate proteins are uncommon to the market (though they are available) and even though they provide highly absorbable peptides and the fact they have a great anabolic effect, the effect is not generally regarded as value for money since they are more expensive but are easily substituted with whey and casein blends.
#1 - Whey Concentrate Protein BlendWhey is probably the most widely used and readily available protein on the market. If you are looking for a good start in supplements you can do worse than choose a nice tasting, good mixing whey (might I recommend the jammie biscuit?). It is a great solution to add something to your diet in order to develop muscular form and restructure your body from fat to muscle. Whey concentrate is cheaper than other forms and is great as an alternative to snacking between meals - as most proteins do, it will make you feel fuller for longer. The best use of a whey concentrate is most likely around your workout time, either pre-workout, during or after will give relatively similar results as it is fast acting, easily digested and ready for your muscles to use exactly when it is needed to repair and rebuild after a workout. Use as a pre-workout option if you have not had time to prepare a light meal in advance or, as the majority do just after a workout to feed your tired muscles.
#2 - CaseinCasein is considered a “slow” protein. It is digested slower in your body and therefore acts as a timed release of proteins over a longer time period. Casein would not be best recommended in conjunction with your workouts as it does not digest as quickly as whey and therefore it takes much longer to get the fuel to your muscles in a quick, timely and efficient manner. It is because of this that casein is a great choice of protein for a sustained protein release either during the day, perhaps part of an on-the-go meal replacement, or as part of a quick breakfast shake. Casein is much better for using at night too. When whey protein is consumed as part of a meal the rest of the meal (your normal carbohydrates, fats and nutrients etc) slow down the digestion of whey and this acts as a slow release action - again, keeping you fuller for longer and this acts like a casein-type slow release of protein. The one real place where casein trumps other proteins is bedtime. Due to the fact that casein is a slow release protein it is best consumed at night where it feeds your muscles as you sleep. This is a great complement to sleep since during the night you end up in a fasted state. Assuming your last meal may have been around 8pm your body can very easily become catabolic overnight (it eats your muscles for fuel rather than rebuilds and maintains them). Having a casein protein shake before bed allows slow digestion of proteins to be released at longer intervals throughout the night meaning that your body remains anabolic (in a muscle building state) for a longer time.
#3 - Protein IsolateIsolate sits on its own as a protein powder. It is quickly absorbed and can sometimes be a bit more expensive becauseit is generally higher quality and more “pure” than whey. However, Isolates are aimed towards those who find themselves on a lower carbohydrate diet. Whey isolates go through an extra layer of filtration and this can make them virtually lactose free too, so they have separate interest from those who find they do not digest whey products as well as they might wish. [caption id="attachment_2820" align="aligncenter" width="420" class=" "] Use the likes of casein protein blend to help grow as your sleep[/caption]
Finding your right protein blendPerhaps the best way for you to find out which protein blend you like is trial and error. There are many protein blends where you will find them being higher in casein, or higher in whey - this is generally due to the expected timing of consumption. Consuming before the gym? You are more likely to find a higher proportion of whey as this will provide better results - either a pure whey, such as the Whey Protein 80 or the Problend mix which is 75% whey 25% casein. Consuming at night? You are much more likely to find your protein should be tailored heavily towards casein, such as the Bedtime Pro for best results.
Strawberry or Vanilla? Night or day?In summary, it is recommended that around your workout the best of the protein blends to use is whey - it is easily digested and available almost immediately for your body to use for maintaining, repairing and building muscle. If you are looking for something at night then casein is a must - but, as can be seen both have specific solutions to particular problems, need protein fast - choose a higher blend of whey; need a slow release to keep your body drip-feeding nutrients - choose a higher blend of casein. Solving your timing problem is easier now you just need to figure out what great tasting protein blend you opt for. Which protein blend is your favourite? COMMENT below on what you find most effective for your goals.