Protein powders are impossible to imagine the sports world without. You probably know several people who use protein powders as well. We also know them by the names: Protein shake, whey, protein or whey protein. Whereas before protein powders were really only used by bodybuilders, now they are used by a wide range of athletes. And rightly so. Protein powders can be a real addition to your health and for your body. Indeed, can. Because the extent to which a protein powder contributes something to your health or to your body’s recovery does depend on the type of protein and its quality. We’ll tell you all about it on this page.
Buy protein powder
Are you also an avid athlete and/or want to achieve certain goals? Then protein powders can definitely help you with this. This is because as an athlete you need more protein than as a non-athlete. The amount of protein depends on the frequency and intensity at which you exercise. Why you can benefit from eating protein as an athlete is for the following reasons:
- Proteins are the building blocks of the body, not only for muscles but for every cell. So also for the skin, organs, enzymes, hormones and neurotransmitters in the brain.
- It ensures muscle recovery after a workout
- It prevents muscle degradation / ensures muscle maintenance
- It can provide a better feeling of satiety
Then, when you start looking for the right protein shake that can help you achieve your desired goals, you will find yourself in a sea of different brands and different qualities. How to get the right protein powder then may be a mystery to you, but we’re going to give you some guidance in this world.
Are you going to buy protein powder? Then it is important to pay attention to these three things:
- The biological value of the protein powder and thus the amino acid profile
- The additives that the protein shake contains
- And possibly the origin of the protein powder
The biological value of protein powder
Many foods and supplements contain protein, but this is by no means the exact same protein. In fact, they can be much different from each other. The quality of these proteins is determined by the amino acids it contains and this is expressed as the biological value of proteins. So this says something about the amino acid profile (combination of essential and non-essential proteins) in the protein. The closer this profile is to the profile of our body protein, the more valuable the protein powder is to us, humans, and the better it can be absorbed by our bodies. The biological value is expressed as a number between 0 and 150.
Additions of protein shakes
There are many protein shakes on the market that are made extra tasty and cheap, so athletes like to drink them. Unfortunately, in many cases this is at the expense of the quality of the protein shake and therefore at the expense of your health, your body and therefore at the expense of achieving your goal. Harmful substances added to protein powders can include sugars, chemical sweeteners such as acesulfame-k, aspartame and sucralose, and chemical flavorings. These substances do more harm than good to your body and some are even very harmful. In addition, it can interfere with the absorption of the proteins and therefore you will not benefit from it at all. So when buying protein powder, it is helpful to pay attention to this.
The effect of protein powder
Protein powder / protein shakes contribute to the recovery of your muscles after, for example, a training session, workout or competition. How does that work? Proteins are used in our bodies as direct building blocks of both muscles and the production of numerous substances up to our neurotransmitters. Proteins are made up of amino acids. These can be divided into non-essential amino acids, which our bodies can produce themselves, and essential amino acids. The latter our body cannot produce itself and therefore we must get it from food. All of these amino acids together comprise an amino acid profile. There are protein powders that do not contain all the amino acids or not in the right proportions and proteins that do. As you can imagine, a protein powder with a complete amino acid profile is best for your body because it will contain all the building blocks to build protein from. Which then restores the muscles after a workout. Whey protein powder contains a complete amino acid profile.
Best protein powder: What type of protein powder is best to choose?
What is the best protein powder depends on the time of day, your body and your goal. If you want to train dry, then a protein powder without fats and carbohydrates is the best way to maintain your muscle mass. If you want to gain weight, a cheaper type of protein powder that contains carbohydrates and fats in addition to natural protein may be just the thing for you. If you are vegan, have an allergy or are sensitive to cow’s milk, lactose or casein then a plant-based protein shake is a good choice. Go on. To make it clear, we explain below the advantages and disadvantages of each type of protein powder.
What types of protein powders are there?
Protein powders come in many varieties. We can initially divide them into two groups, namely:
- Animal proteins
- Plant-based proteins
We can then subdivide these animal proteins into whey proteins and casein proteins. These both originate in milk. In the production of cheese, constituents remain. One is the whey that is filtered out of the milk during production. Whey proteins are made from this whey. Next, that leaves casein proteins in addition to the cheese. Plant protein powders originate from multiple sources. Popular protein powders are extracted from hemp, brown rice and peas, among others. Each type of protein has its own biological value and protein content. However, it does depend on the producer and the other ingredients how this turns out in practice.
Type of protein powder
Protein content maximum
110 – 125
125 – 140
80% or 90%
Hemp protein powder
35 – 40
Brown rice protein powder
59 – 83
Pea protein powder
80 – 85%
48 – 65
Whey concentrate is the whey as filtered directly from milk in the production of cheese. The milk sugars, also called lactose, are still in this. Because this production process is so easy and fast, whey concentrate is the cheapest variant of the different types of whey proteins. However, this type of protein powder does contain the lowest percentage of pure protein. Whey concentrate in its pure form contains up to 80% protein. Anything added to the whey protein shake afterwards reduces the protein content in the whey. As a result, the protein content in whey concentrate varies in practice between 65 and a maximum of 80% (pure variant). At Muscle Concepts, we produce whey concentrate with a protein content of 76%, which is quite high for a concentrate.
Whey isolate then undergoes another processing step, filtering out most of the lactose/lactose from the whey. As a result, a whey isolate contains a higher protein content than a concentrate. A whey isolate generally consists of a protein content of around 90%. We produce a pure isolate from whey with a protein content of 93%. Because the protein content in these protein powders is so high, there is simply less space spent on (unsolicited) additives such as sugars, chemical sweeteners, flavorings and other ingredients. This is also what your body wants most. In addition, it is an advantage that the lactose is largely filtered out of the whey in this variant. This works out well for people who are sensitive to lactose, so they are better off choosing an isolate rather than a concentrate. Because of the extra processing and the higher protein content in a whey isolate, the price for this is always higher than the price for a whey concentrate.
Whey hydrolisate then undergoes an additional processing step. This process ensures that the amino acids in the protein powder are, as it were, broken down into peptides, so that the hydrolysate is absorbed by the body even faster than all other variants. Hydrolysate is created from a protein powder with a protein content of 80% or a protein content of 90%.
Casein protein also comes from milk, as mentioned above. It provides 80% of the protein in cow’s milk. Unlike whey proteins, casein releases its amino acids very slowly. The advantage of this is that you are provided with amino acids for a longer period of time (up to a maximum of 7 hours), slowly working on muscle recovery. This is especially useful when you’re not going to be moving that much during those hours, such as during the evening hours and night. Research has shown that these casein protein powders can carry strong anti-catabolic effects. When your body is in a catabolic state, you break down muscle mass. This can happen if you train too long and too intensely. So casein protein counteracts this. Due to the slow release of amino acids, this protein powder is not so suitable for muscle recovery, but more to counteract muscle breakdown. It may be convenient to use casein protein in addition to whey protein, but not instead of it. Whey proteins remain the most important for recovery and building muscle mass precisely because they are absorbed so quickly. For building muscle mass and muscle recovery, it is important that you get enough protein within half an hour after your workout.
But pay particular attention to the disadvantages of casein proteins….
Casein proteins are not suitable for people who are (unknowingly) sensitive to casein. Of course, not for people with a cow’s milk allergy where casein is the culprit either. Casein can actually convert to mucus in the body. This can cause it to stick to the stomach lining, intestines and/or respiratory tract, which can have unpleasant consequences. These include problems with breathing or a dysregulation in the intestines and stomach. We don’t want to scare you, but it’s important to keep this in mind when choosing casein protein. One reason many athletes eat cottage cheese is because it is high in protein. A large portion of these are casein proteins. This makes cottage cheese super convenient to eat before bed. Because quark contains whey proteins as well as casein, it helps with muscle recovery and muscle breakdown.
Vegetable protein powder / vegan protein powder
Protein powder can also be produced from a plant source. Proponents of plant-based protein powders are mainly vegans or people with who are sensitive to lactose or have a lactose intolerance. These vegan protein powders of plant origin do not contain a complete amino acid profile.
Hemp protein powder
Hemp protein powder is of plant origin, namely from hemp. What makes this unique is that it is the only plant-based protein powder that contains all the essential amino acids. In addition, hemp protein powder also contains a lot of enzymes, antioxidants, minerals and other healthy substances that protect our immune system and replace old tissue in our body with new tissue.
Brown rice protein powder
In general, animal proteins are more effective for building muscle mass and muscle recovery than plant proteins. Yet brown rice protein powder also comes close to this. Research has shown that there are no significant differences compared to whey protein powder in terms of muscle recovery, muscle growth and strength.  It is a bit more expensive than whey proteins, but a good alternative for people who don’t want to or can’t eat animal products for whatever reason.
Pea protein powder
Peas are legumes, which are the best source of protein among plant products. Legumes are therefore very popular among those following a vegan lifestyle. So these peas are also the reason why vegetable protein powders from peas contain such a high protein content. Namely a maximum of 85%. This is the highest protein shake in the plant-based segment. The biological value of these proteins is highly variable. In fact, this is between 48 and 65 which is not very high.
Organic protein powder
Organic protein powder is currently found mainly in the vegetable segment. The above vegetable protein powders are mostly offered in organic varieties. Still, if you also eat animal products, we do recommend choosing an organic version of whey powder. Due to the high protein content in whey, but especially its high biological value, you work more efficiently towards your goal. Organic whey protein powder is derived from organic milk. Then this undergoes the same process as the variants of whey protein powder.
Frequently Asked Questions
Check out the frequently asked questions regarding protein powder below. Is your question not listed here? Then don’t hesitate to ask your question via the chat!
Can you bake/heat protein powder, for example, in an egg white pancake?
To the question of whether this is possible, we can be brief. It’s fine, what happens to your pancake and whether it’s good for your health is another story. You can bake/heat egg whites to 70 degrees Celsius, without anything happening to them. From the moment proteins become warmer than 70 degrees they start to denature. This means that the protein structure slowly breaks down into individual amino acids. Because of this, it is sometimes said that proteins break down due to heating. This is somewhat true, but it is not the case that with this the nutritional value of protein decreases. In fact, in your body, proteins denature in the same way. Because ultimately it is the loose amino acids that act as building blocks for your muscles. Actually, it is also very understandable, because we eat a lot more proteins that are heated during preparation. Just think of a boiled or fried egg, meat or chicken.These products are also all heated above 70 degrees and are absorbed just fine by our bodies!
Can I lose weight with protein powder?
Protein powder can definitely help you lose weight. However, we do want to emphasize “help” because you will not lose weight immediately when you start using protein powders. Of course, you need to do enough exercise / sports for this. A pure protein powder with a high protein content usually contains only about 100 – 130 calories while this will keep you full for some time and help build muscle mass. As a result, your body burns more calories (due to muscle mass) while you have less of a tendency to cheat.
What is the difference between supermarket protein powder and Muscle Concepts?
Protein powders are many on the market and the difference in quality is great. More and more you see protein powders in the AH, jumbo, Aldi or even Action. What is the difference in quality? We stand for a healthy and fit life and our focus is entirely on this. This is reflected in high quality products. For example, we also do not use sugars, chemical sweeteners and unnecessary fillers in our protein shakes. In supermarkets, we unfortunately see many protein powders that are full of this. For supermarkets, protein shakes are not the main focus, which is reflected in the quality. Protein powders are still quite pricey in the AH and jumbo as well.