Mini Mikkipedia - Which protein powder is best for me


Hey everyone, it's Mikki here. You're listening to Mini Mikkipedia on a Monday. And today I want to answer a question that I received through my inbox from Michael. So thanks Michael for your question. You do a great job at emailing me suggestions and I always appreciate it. And also not just through that email, but I get this several times a week. Miki, what is the difference between the types of protein powders and what's gonna be best?

I will start with the latter question first because it's a pretty simple one in that we are all different and the type of protein powder that might suit you best could come down to palatability like what you enjoy eating and what flavour works really well for you. Food intolerances like you might have an intolerance to soy or you might not be able to tolerate whey. That is going to cut out a lot of the protein powder options for you.

But if it was solely on Mickey which protein powder is going to provide me with enough of the leucine amino acid to help initiate muscle protein synthesis, which is one of the major benefits of consuming protein powder, then there are quite clear differences between them. And so what I would just wanna chat through today, and don't worry, I won't labor the point, is the different types of protein powders.

And then I'm going to go through what you might look for in a, in whatever type of protein powder that you use and anything else that springs to mind as I'm working through this list. So one of the first ones, which is, you know, probably one of the most common types of protein powders is of course whey protein. So whey protein, and you can get it in whey protein concentrate WPC, which incorporates whey protein and often casein protein, which I'll discuss in a minute.

You can get whey protein isolate, where the casein has been stripped largely from the protein powder, and the WPI is one of the more refined products out there. And then also you see it potentially as 100% whey, which is essentially just a whey protein concentrate. Anyway, it's derived from milk, as you might have guessed, and it is a fast digesting protein that contains all essential amino acids. It's effective

for muscle growth, for recovery, and it is popular amongst athletes and fitness enthusiasts. But the reality is it's quite a cost-effective protein powder to purchase. It is ubiquitous. You see it in the supermarket shelves, pharmacies, fitness stores, et cetera. And unless you have an intolerance to whey protein or casein protein, it is a really good option actually.

So with regards to the leucine content, and leucine is essential to initiate muscle protein synthesis, which is one of the main roles of protein in the body, or at least structural roles of protein in the body, it has around about 10 to 12% of its amino acid content is leucine. So in 20 grams of whey protein, you might find around two to 2.4 grams of leucine. Now, I'm not sure if you'll recall, but in my conversations that I've had

Professor Don Layman, we've talked about having three to three and a half grams of leucine in a meal that would maximize muscle protein synthesis or optimize for muscle protein synthesis. The older you are, so above 45, if you like, well, he didn't put a number on it really, you might be looking closer to four grams of leucine. Now whey protein isolate is, as I have already mentioned, it's a more refined whey protein product.

It has slightly higher protein content because it has been further refined. It is much quicker to digest than, for example, casein, but it's even quicker than whey protein concentrate. And it also contains around that sort of 2 to 2.4 grams of leucine per 20 grams of protein. Albeit of course, you'll understand that each different product out there on the market will have a slightly different amino acid profile. Now

People who might have an inflammatory response to dairy, and there are people who are sensitive to the casein content of your standard cow's milk and cow's dairy, you're best off avoiding the whey protein concentrate, or 100% whey, and picking up a whey protein isolate. So despite the fact that whey protein isolate may still contain traces of casein protein, clinically speaking, a lot of people still tolerate that product.

And of course, you can opt for a non whey based protein powder as another option. And I'll go through what they are in this list. So the next protein is casein protein. And in fact, this protein has been sort of making the rounds of late in science circles because it was the type of protein used in the Luke Van Loon study, whereby people consumed 100 grams of protein. And after 12 hours, there was still

a muscle protein synthesis effect, leading people to think that you could consume vast quantities of protein and not maximize or tax out that muscle protein synthesis response. Again, I spoke to Donald Layman about this on the podcast a few episodes ago, and he did mention that casein protein was a special and interesting case. So it is also derived from milk.

and it digests more slowly than whey, so it provides that gradual release of amino acids. And the muscle protein synthetic response relies on amino acids peaking in the bloodstream. So if you have a casein protein that gradually releases those amino acids, you're not necessarily going to get them peaking, which is what they determined was largely responsible for the result of that particular study that I just mentioned from Luke Van Lew's laboratory.

Casein protein has often been used in fitness space, helping with teenage athletes get in having a casein protein serve just before going to bed so they avoid that catabolic state as part of fasting. The one caveat I will mention with casein is of course what I was talking about with that dairy.

sensitivity. So if you do have an inflammatory response to dairy, for a lot of people it is the casein protein. So you would want to avoid this type of protein. I will say though that if you don't, then hey, no problems. And you find a lot of the products out there, like just the straight protein powders. You also find casein protein puddings, which I know are a favorite amongst some people. And casein protein is slightly lower in leucine. It has around 8 to 10 percent of its

amino acids come from leucine. So it translates to about 1.6 to two grams of leucine in your standard casein protein powder. Now next on my list is peanut protein. And this is made from defatted peanut flour. And it's a plant-based option that provides a decent amount of protein alongside with that peanut flavor. And in fact, you know, I always have in my cupboard the PB2 powder, which is essentially that. It is defatted like peanut butter.

for all intents and purposes. Slightly sweeter though, it'll either be sweetened with sort of stevia or some such ingredient. It's less complete in amino acid profiles compared to animal proteins. And you are gonna find that with any of the plant-based sources. With regard to leucine, which is of course the star of muscle protein synthesis, it is generally lower compared to those animal proteins, has maybe around six to 8% leucine.

So 20 grams of the peanut protein might offer you about 1.2 to 1.6 grams of leucine. I tend to add it in addition to another protein source rather than just use it myself as the protein source. Now hemp protein has also become a little bit popular of late, and it's extracted from hemp seeds, and it is a protein which is also rich in plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, and has some fiber to it as well.

Whilst it's considered to be highly digestible and does include all of the essential amino acids, it's lower in the amounts that you might find compared to say a soy or a pea protein. And indeed when I look on the label of a hemp protein powder, I'm seeing that for each serve of protein powder you're going to get about 17 grams of protein as opposed to the 22 to 24 grams that you might get from a really good quality whey powder.

Hemp protein is around about that 6 to 8% as well, so about 1.2 to 1.6 grams of leucine, and it may also be higher in calories from the fat content in hemp. And whilst it does contain those omega-3 fatty acids, they're not the potent omega-3 fatty acids that your body can just suck up and use. They do need to be converted into the docohexanoic acid, the DHA, or the heco-septo-

pentaenoic acid. I always get that wrong or get it confused. The EHA, DPA and EHA, there you go. So we still need to do some work converting them. And look, some people just aren't great converters of those plant-based omega-3s into the more active and potent types of omega-3s, which we know to be responsible for reducing inflammation. So to be honest, I don't think about hemp protein as, oh, this is going to be great for my omega-3s.

you wanna look for a protein powder that is doing what you want it to do. You're using it as a protein source. So that's how I think you should sort of look at your protein powders. Pea protein is extracted from yellow split peas and it is a favorite amongst obviously vegetarians and vegans, but not just vegetarian and vegans. It is a favorite amongst people who love the flavor of pea protein. They like the texture. It's really good to cook. Actually with I use a lot of my New Zest protein powder to

my breakfast bakes and things like that. And it's hypoallergenic which just means that it's very good for people who might have any sort of food intolerances, particularly the really good quality pea proteins. Now pea protein is going to be slightly lower again in that leucine content. It has around about that sort of 8 to 9 percent leucine. So 1.6 to 1.8 grams per 20 grams of the pea

and you were going to find a similar amount of leucine in the pea and rice protein blend. And this became super popular when people looked at making your protein powder to have a complete amino acid profile. Because all of the plant-based proteins by themselves are limiting one or more of the essential amino acids. And for a time, when I was studying nutrition, and I believe it changed actually over the course of the years I was studying,

We used to think that you had to try to get all of the essential amino acids in one meal for that person to have like a complete amino acid profile in their diet. Subsequently though, it was, you know, research has evolved and we understand now that getting those different amino acids across a day rather than at a meal is the most important factor. All that said and done, there are pea and rice protein blends on the market.

offering that complete amino acid profile in one hit. And typically, because it is an isolate, it is easily digestible. But do know that all plant-based proteins will have that slightly lower leucine content as I've been talking about. Plant-based protein powders, though, are absolutely fine to get your protein from because they've been stripped of many of the anti-nutrient type fibers, if you want to call them that.

that prevent that full absorption of the protein. Because protein, plant protein and its whole food source, you're not going to have the same availability of those amino acids. Whereas protein from an isolate, like a protein powder, you don't have that issue. Now, you don't actually see too much soy protein powder around these days. I think prior to the advent of all of our delicious protein powders, soy protein was one of the

alternatives on the market for plant-based or vegan bodybuilders. However, it's made from soybeans, it is a complete protein, and you actually are more likely to find soy protein isolate in, say, protein bars or on the shelf in processed food actually. It too has about 1.6 grams or is about 8% leucine per 20 grams of protein, and to be honest it wouldn't be my go-to.

for your plant-based protein powders. You guys know that New Zest would be my go-to for you. And then you've got your brown rice protein. And while this is not a complete protein on its own, it is pretty good for people with allergies or sensitivities to dairy or soy, obviously. It is typically lower in leucine by itself. So in 20 grams, it might have about 1.4 to 1.6 grams of leucine. And when I say these numbers and I'm telling you what the leucine content is,

It just means that you have to bump up your meal with other sources of protein that bring that leucine content up. So even if you're having a whey-based protein shake that has about 2.4 grams of leucine, you might need a couple or three eggs alongside that. You might need egg whites alongside that. You might need to serve your protein shake with some additional sort of animal protein to really boost that leucine content of the meal. And I'm often asked about the

collagen and also beef based proteins, which we definitely have collagen protein here in New Zealand. The beef protein isolate isn't as popular as you like. Like I think there is an equip based protein powder that people use overseas in the US, but collagen powders and collagen protein powders are popular for the benefits related to skin, hair, nails and joints.

but it's not a complete protein because it lacks a tryptophan, but it's also very low in those branch chain amino acids. It's very good for things like glycine, hydroxyproline and proline, but its leucine content is quite low. So it's at about 3% or less. So in 20 grams of collagen protein, you might get about 0.6 grams or less of leucine. And beef protein isolate sounds a bit strange, but...

People tend to love the Equip Foods protein powder. I see it on my social media page all of the time. So beef protein powders are derived from beef and a process to remove a lot of the fat. And so it results in this protein rich powder. So it is a complete protein, however the leucine content is only around 8%. So you might get about that 1.6 grams per 20 grams of beef protein powder.

It's very popular for people looking for a dairy-free, high-protein alternative similar to whey protein. So it's very quick to digest also. So those are the different types of protein powders that you're likely going to come across when you go to a sports store, supplement store, or look online. And I generally think that if you're picking up a protein powder that has the protein source itself, it might have a, so that might be whey or

or beef or something like that, and then you may get a natural flavor in it. And then you'll have a sweetener. And many of the available protein powders have either a Thor Martin, the way the New Zest does. Some have monk fruit, although not all. Stevia is a popular one. Stevia and erythritol together are also popular. And then of course you've got your sucralose and other subsequent sort of sweeteners. And

you might decide that you prefer a natural-based sweetener. So you're going to go with the Thor Martin, Stevia, or Monk Fruit, and you're probably going to avoid the sucralose and other types of sweeteners. And that's absolutely fine. I would say though, that the research isn't that strong, that there is any issues consuming sucralose in your diet. So just do be mindful of that, and we, and I think I did a mini-mechapedia on artificial sweeteners.

some time ago and I did briefly look at the research around sucralose and it wasn't that strong in amounts that you might typically consume it. I also don't think you need to worry so much about natural flavors like that sort of majoring in the minors if you like and instead you're way better off stepping back and looking at big pitcher stuff. So there are plenty of really good quality protein powders out there to choose from and even if you're not someone who

you're not looking at building muscle per se, I think protein powder is super convenient for anyone, particularly in the meals like breakfast where it would otherwise be a low protein meal. So that's why I like to include it. Now, I would say though that across your day, you do want to get a variety of protein sources. So you get a variety of not just the amino acids that protein provides, but the micronutrients that you get from whole protein foods.

like animal proteins. So if you're someone who is in the practice of just meeting their protein target and utilizing a lot of protein shakes, I would suggest that you go a bit wider and choose more variety because you're likely to miss a lot of the micronutrients that you are trying to also consume. So that's my take on protein powders. Hopefully, Michael, you found that helpful and others listening also found it helpful.

I will finish up with this, that I mentioned that I love new zest and plant-based protein powders for the baking that I do with protein. A lot of these bakes are in my Mondays Matter program and the doors to Mondays Matter May 2024 are now open. We kick off next Monday, May 20th, so you have a week to sign up. But the earlier the better because we'll be in the Facebook page. We'll be...

figuring stuff out and getting stuff sorted to hit the ground running come this next Monday. It is an 8 week program. We utilize protein-sparing modified fast, which is just another way of saying protein only days. So you can maximize the potential to burn body fat and release weight, but you can preserve muscle mass and bone mass. And that's critical to my mind. That's why I'm just not a fan of fasting per se. I do love a protein only day.

for people though. And there are a ton of recipes that utilize protein powder that just make it easy for you to support your protein requirements. If you've got nothing else to do over this winter and you're a little bit afraid that the cold weather might make you want to hibernate and worry about your body composition in spring, then jump on board this and get a head start to the next few months. It's...

always a great time, you always learn so much and it is such a good opportunity to continue to feel good as the weather gets colder here in the southern hemisphere. And of course if you're in the northern hemisphere now is the perfect time to jump on board. So head to my website click on the Mondays Matter page and you can register there and of course we will put links in the show notes to this episode as well. You can also pop me a DM on Instagram,

or over on my Facebook page, MikkiWillidenNutrition. See you later.