Which protein is right for YOU?

By James Dodds, Managing Director, A-List Nutrition Ltd

Why do you use protein supplements? For the majority of us it is to increase our total protein consumption for the day, increase protein synthesis and improve our overall body composition (body fat – muscle ratio). Typically, the sweet spot for most people is 1.5g of protein per lbs of bodyweight and for most of you reading this, you need help reaching that daily intake! We all know there are far more uses for whey proteins, which we will cover, but that is the primary reason for now. Therefore, that’s where a whey protein supplement comes in, but how do you know which one is right for you? In this article, I aim to help you decipher this question.

First of all, before we dive into the different types of proteins, it’s important that we look at the manufacturing process first. Whey protein typically comes from Milk which is collected and “cold processed” in order to then be pasteurized. The product is then “cheese processed” where by Casein and Whey (80%- 20% split) is then drained off, so essentially protein is a bi-product of creating cheese. If the process were to be rushed from here to dry spraying, this would then create CASEIN protein. The blend of primarily Casein from the cheese is then ultra-filtered which creates whey protein powder, at this stage it is a WHEY CONCENTRATE. From here the whey concentrate then goes through microfiltration to
become a WHEY ISOLATE. To then make a Hydrolysate Whey protein, the whey isolate then goes under hydrolysis and then microfiltration once again to create a WHEY HYDROLYSATE. Following on from this, the protein (at whichever form it is) is then dry sprayed to create a powder which is then packaged and allocated to individual brands. 


Now, what are the key factors that you need to look for in that process to ensure quality? Essentially, microfiltered and cold processed are the key quality assurance aspects. The cold processing will ensure the product hasn’t been denatured at all in the manufacturing process, typically you can tell if a product has been heat treated if it causes stomach discomfort etc (assuming you aren’t lactose intolerant of course). Microfiltered you can often tell by the appearance of the protein in powder form, the finer the product (unless it has additives e.g. Xanthan gum, Velisitol etc) the larger the degree of microfiltration. This again points to the bio-availability of the product and often translates to a better consumer experience through a smoother mixing shake. So, the above are the basics of protein supplementation, foundation knowledge that we all SHOULD know but quite often don’t, now let’s breakdown the key types of proteins and which are catered towards specific fitness goals to help you make an educated decision on your next protein purchase.

Micellar Casein
This is the slowest digesting protein from the spectrum, however that is not to say that it is not the best quality. Micellar Casein can be very advantageous when you know you are going to be having a long duration between meals. This way the slower digesting protein is able to “drip feed” the amino acids into your bloodstream, keeping you body anabolic for longer and so maintaining it’s capability of performing protein synthesis. Why would you want to do this? Improve recovery from training sessions via a more lifestyle convenient fashion as quite often we tend to miss our protein intake if we have had a busy day! It’s going to happen on occasion unless you’re a full time athlete. Micellar Casein provides a
solution to those that can’t quite eat as frequently as they might want but still allows their body to stay rich in amino acids. The down side? Some people find it hard to digest so it causes bloat etc. That is why on our site, we don’t sell a PURE micellar casein product as for most people that would not sit well with them, we do however have Core Nutritionals PRO. As well as containing Micellar Casein, it also contains whey concentrate and whey isolate giving you slow, medium and fast release protein, this is perfect in our opinion for an optimal recovery state. That is not all however, PRO also contains digestive enzymes and MCT fats to ensure you don’t have any issues with the digestion of the casein. Perfect to take either in the morning, before bed or anytime you won’t be having a meal for a
significant period.

Whey Concentrate
Depict as the “medium” release protein this form is typically used throughout the day or in porridge oats and can even be used post workout however there are more optimal solutions for this. In our opinion, it’s popularity stems from the amazing flavours companies can quite often produce with this type of protein. We’d advise this type of protein for you if you’re really particular on taste, typically you can’t go wrong. Whey concentrates we have on the site are 1st Phorm Level 1MTS Nutrition Machine Whey and 'Merica Labz Patriots Whey.
It’s pretty hard to choose from all of them! We have quite the selection now, however what we will say about whey concentrates is that they tend to be less macro friendly so probably wouldn’t be ideal for someone in a calorie deficit for example! (unless accounted for in daily calorie intake).

Whey Isolate
This form of protein is what is normally used post workout, primarily for the fast absorption and ease of digestion! Post workout, the aim is to get full spectrum amino acids into your bloodstream as quickly as possible, the faster you can do this, the faster your body can ignite the recovery process and the quicker you can get back in the gym and improve. There’s very little negatives associated with a whey protein isolate, digests well, mixes perfectly and tastes great, the only one we can think of is price point. A whey isolate is typically more expensive due to the extra microfiltration, however it’s definitely worth it specifically for that post workout recovery. If you’re looking for a delicious whey Isolate, you can either go for Core Nutritionals ISO or Primeval Labs ISOLIT.

Hydrolysed Whey
We like to call this the “King” of whey isolates, the ultimate in digestion, mix ability and tastes a lot different to your standard whey, instead of a creamy consistency because it is so pure, you can pretty much have any flavour you’d like, that is why you regularly see very fruity flavours for this particular SKU. We’re of course talking about 1 st Phorm Phormula 1, with so many flavours available and factually the fastest digesting protein available on the market, you can’t go wrong. Macronutrients wise, calories, carbs, fats are all very moderate if not low for the majority of us so would suit a calorie surplus or deficit.

In our opinion the only time this protein is warranted is post workout, this is due to the price tag associated with it as it is so pure. The only other occasion we would advise you use this protein is if you are particularly lactose intolerant and can’t even digest typical whey isolates efficiently, you will have no issues with this particular product. In terms of recovery however, if you have the extra disposable income, definitely use 1st Phorm PHORMULA 1 post workout! You will be amazed at the difference in recovery.

Thank you for reading this guys, hopefully you have learnt something from this article and we will continue to come out with A-List Analogies to help you reach your goals faster!

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