Protein is taking over the world. Protein cereal, protein cookies, protein ice cream, protein, protein protein. And when it comes to actually supplementing protein, there are a bunch of different options out there now. So what do you choose?
First of all, let’s explain what complete proteins are. A complete protein contains all 9 of the essential amino acids, which are the ones our bodies cannot make by themselves. These include our beloved BCAAs! Many plant based proteins are not complete and shouldn’t be your only source of protein.
You’ve heard of whey and casein protein- these are the most popular. Whey is the “go-to” post workout supplement because it’s fast digesting (and is also the cheapest to manufacture). While whey is a byproduct of milk, casein is the main protein in milk. So if you have trouble digesting dairy, these should both be avoided.
Egg protein is another great option as it is a complete protein. While you can certainly utilize egg protein as your main protein source for muscle building & recovery, it can be far more expensive than its dairy counterparts.
Two of the main vegan proteins are pea and brown rice (others include hemp, soy, and chia, amongst others). Pea protein’s taste can take some getting used to if you’re new to vegan proteins, but is also a great source of amino acids. Since it’s a complete protein, it’s a great muscle-building protein for vegans.
And of course, there’s collagen. Collagen is not ideal for muscle building on its own, but it can be exceptionally beneficial when it comes to skin, hair, nails, etc.
At the end of the day, all of these supplements can be used to get extra protein into your diet if you’re lacking! Protein from real food should always be your focus, but supplements certainly have their place (especially if you’re into experimenting in the kitchen)