Whey concentrate, casein, egg, soy, whey isolate…
The choice is endless, but which type of protein works best?
Today I will be looking into this, after getting this email from website member Ben:
I’ve always took whey after a training session and presumed I was doing okay.
But recently a few guys at my gym have told me it’s not helping my results.
One says I should switch to a hydrolized whey isolate, which is really expensive, and another says I should move over to egg protein. What’s the truth?”
So, if you are trying to gain lean muscle in the gym, what type of protein should you be using?
Which Type Of Protein Works Best?
Obviously, supplement manufacturers want you to go out and purchase the most expensive product they have.
That’s the way the world works.
But getting the most from a protein supplement is easier than the supplement industry wants you to think.
Sure, you’ll see endless adverts about how your body “needs” the latest, greatest hydrolized whey isolate blend which was created at the top of a fire mountain and sprinkled with goblin blood.
But when it comes to results, studies suggest that a protein blend – a mixture of various different types of protein, as you’d expect to see in much cheaper products – is superior for boosting muscle protein synthesis after a workout.
By combining a fast digesting source of protein – such as whey – with a slow-release source of protein – casein – we are able to keep muscle protein synthesis turned on for longer.
And that is good news.
Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, compared the effects of 2 groups of individuals consuming one of the following shakes after a leg workout:
- 20 grams of whey
- 20 grams of a whey/casein/soy blend
To be expected, both groups noticed an increase in muscle protein synthesis.
But the second group, which consumed the blended formula, had an increased level of muscle protein synthesis which lasted hours longer than the other group. (1)
While the whey provides our body with a very fast-digesting form of protein, casein is released much more slowly and soy falls somewhere between the two.
While I’m on the topic, soy often gets a bad rap from fitness snobs, who believe it’s cheap in comparison to whey – as discussed in this article – but it certainly has it’s uses.
The only downside here is that the study didn’t look into further combinations – such as whey and egg, or whey and casein – to see which blend performed the best.
But the basic fact to come out of this study is that you are going to experience heightened levels of muscle protein synthesis – muscle building – using a whey protein formula which is a blend, not an isolate.
For an example, Myprotein Impact whey ticks the boxes.
If you have enjoyed this article showing which type of protein works best, share it with others. You might also like reading my recent article on how to make your own preworkout.
1. Paul, G. L., et al. “The rationale for consuming protein blends in sports nutrition.” J Am C Nutr 28 (4):464S–472S, 2009.