If you’ve ever been in any Nutrition Corner location, you’ve probably mired over the spectacle that is the Protein Wall! Ceiling-high shelves of different types and yummy flavors stare you down, but which one is right for you? Read on to find out more about each of the 5 types that we carry.
The first question we always ask customers when choosing a protein is, “When are you using it?” If your answer is post-workout, then an isolate is optimal. During an intense training session, your body kicks into a process called protein degradation, which is the breakdown of muscle protein so that the body can re-fuel itself. The goal of post-workout nutrition is to slow or stop this process, and promote muscle protein synthesis. Whey protein isolates are often made up of 90% pure protein, with little to no carbs or fat. This makes it extremely fast-digesting, and allows the body to begin recovering almost immediately.
Because of the micro-filtered processing that manufacturers use to make a whey protein isolate, they are also lactose free - great for people with any lactose sensitivities. They stir into oats and blend into smoothies well, but because of the minimal carbs and fat in an Isolate, they do not bake well and goodies tend to come out dry. As the most pure and highest quality protein powder we offer, they come at a slightly higher price point than the rest. Our personal favorites are Core Nutritionals ISO and Dymatize ISO 100!
Whey protein in general is best for kick-starting the recovery process because of the high amino acid content. A whey protein concentrate can also be used post workout in place of an isolate. It is a less refined version of whey protein, which means that it will digest slightly slower, but still has a high amino acid profile. A whey protein concentrate is also a great multi-use protein option. While it’s a great post-workout shake, it also mixes well in oats or smoothies and can be a convenient, low-carb meal on-the-go.
Because they don’t require the extensive processing that an isolate does, they are a more cost-effective option for post-workout nutrition. Because of their versatility, they also come in a MUCH wider range of flavors! Merica Labz Patriots’ Whey and MTS Machine Whey are two of our best sellers in the Nutrition Corners and have some amazingly creative flavors - Yosemite S’mores and Peanut Butter Cookies and Cream, just to name a few!
A blended protein is exactly as the name states – a blend of whey protein, milk protein, and casein protein. While it can be used post-workout, it’s not ideal, as it digests much slower than a whey protein isolate or concentrate. The amino acids will release much slower, making them less optimal for post-workout recovery, but will keep you fuller longer.
Blends are an easy way to increase daily protein intake. They are great as meal additions or replacements - blend into smoothies, stir into cereal or oats, baked into your favorite goodies or pancake mix, or as a quick and easy meal on-the-go. The price point of a blend tends to vary, depending on the brand and quality you prefer. They also come in a wide variety of flavors, with our top picks being Core Nutritionals PRO and PEScience Select!
Casein is the slowest digesting of our protein selection. It is most commonly used at night, because the amino acids release the slowest, which can benefit recovery while sleeping and also result in keeping your body fuller longer.
While most people go with a casein protein shake, you can also simply add a little water to 1 scoop in a bowl and stir it into a pudding! Top with your favorite cereal or nut butter and sugar-free chocolate syrup, and it’s like a tasty, protein-rich sundae. You can also blend casein protein into a smoothie, or stir into oats or cereal, but the thick texture doesn’t bake very well. The price point on casein also depends on the brand and quality, and are often the most limited in flavor choices. Rule 1 Cookie Delight and Dymatize Cinnamon Bun are our favorites!
In addition to various forms of whey, every Nutrition Corner also carries a variety of vegan/vegetarian options for those that have dietary restrictions or preferences. Whether you have a lactose allergy or live a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle, these are great supplements if you’re looking to increase your protein intake post-workout, in smoothies or food, or a meal on-the-go.
Vegan/vegetarian protein powders have come a long way since they first hit the market and flavor selection has expanded! They are generally made of pea, soy, and various grains. Companies like HPN and PEScience are changing the flavor game and shedding light on the importance of a quality plant source of protein. The price point tends to be a bit higher than some of the aforementioned options.