Protein Supplements – Good, Better, Best

Animal based.  Plant Based.  Soy Protein.  Pea Protein.  Whey Protein.  What does it all mean??  Finding the best protein supplement for you can be difficult.  Getting past the pretty packaging and all of the advanced marketing speak on the jar or box can be step number one.  To truly understand which proteins are optimal for your diet, digestion and nutrition, it is important to understand what raw materials are being used in the products you are consuming.  And to understand this, we must take a closer look at the types of protein on the market and what the benefits of its ingredients consist of.  All protein raw materials fall into just a handful of different forms, which we will discuss below.

Proteins used in protein supplements are of animal or plant origin.  Animal sources, listed from highest to lowest nutritional value, include milk, in the form of whey, casein, caseinates and colostrum; and animal tissue, as beef, egg and collagen. Plant proteins would include soy, wheat, rice, spirulina, pea, hemp, chia and others.  Protein powders are commercially produced as concentrates, isolates and hydrolysates.

Concentrates are the lowest percentage of protein per gram as they still contain the other elements from their original source such as fat and lactose. Concentrates usually have 70 to 80 percent protein by weight.

Isolates are concentrates that have had these non-protein elements filtered off and have protein concentrations from 85-90 percent. Isolation of milk proteins is usually one of two methods or a mix of both. Ion exchange is an electro-chemical method of isolation and cold or cross filtration passes the milk through membranes. Soy and other plant proteins are concentrated or isolated through heat or the use of acids or solvents. It is important to note that the actual proteins in isolates and concentrates are identical. There is no nutritional value obtained by isolation, just more protein per gram and less non-protein elements like fat and sugars for animal proteins, and fiber, sugar, starches and fat in the case of plant proteins.

Hydrolysates, as mentioned earlier are very different from isolates and concentrates, which are whole proteins.  Hydrolysates have been enzymatically reduced to smaller proteins called peptides and contain 80-90 percent protein. The degree of hydrolysis, or DH is the key here. Higher DH means smaller peptides overall and much more di and tripeptides.

**It is crucial for the consumer to be aware that most commercial products claiming hydrolysate ingredients are Low-DH which means little to no di and tripeptides and much fewer Micro Peptides. Low-DH hydrolysates do not behave like nor deliver the same benefits as High-DH hydrolysates. A High-DH hydrolysate will have over 40% di and tripeptides and an average molecular weight under 900-1,000 daltons. The di and tripeptide content is critical because this protein requires no further breakdown and is digested immediately upon leaving the stomach. This information should be noted on the label. Power Crunch’s Proto Whey products contain industry leading High-DH and di and tripeptide content and is the basis of BNRG’s exclusive DTP technology.

Now that you understand what types of materials are going into the protein you are consuming you have the knowledge to accurately decipher between all of those labels on the shelf.  Just because it says 100% Whey protein, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the most optimal protein nutrition for your body to easily and effectively digest the protein you’re putting into your body.  We hope we’ve shed some light on the types of protein supplements out there and the good, better and best types of proteins available for your consumption!