The Scoop on Protein Powder

August 30, 2017

The Scoop on Protein Powder


The supplementation industry markets so many products, it can be confusing to know which are scientifically proven effective, which brands and variety are best, and what products are right for YOU. With all the supplements available, I want to keep this blog focused on one in particular, protein.


Shakes, powders, and bars… oh my!


Let’s keep this blog post focused on protein powders, don’t worry, I’ll touch on the others in later blog posts.


What is protein powder?


Protein powder is a supplement that has gained popular interest in the last decade in sport nutrition. Its common use is to build lean body mass and help with recovery.



The powder supplement can be derived from many whole food products including (but not limited to) the following types:


  • Dairy (whey and casein)

  • Egg

  • Hemp

  • Pea

  • Soy


Processing Methods


Aside from different varieties of protein supplement, there are also different ways in which whey protein is processed. The following lists includes some currently available:


  • Isolate whey: this processing method is usually the most expensive since it usually contains mostly only protein (90-95%), hence the name “isolate”. Meaning other non- protein components like fat, carbohydrate, and lactose have been removed

  • Concentrate whey: Contains about 60-70% of the protein as well as some fat and carbohydrate (this is not a bad thing!).

  • Hydrolyzed whey: Either isolates or concentrates can be hydrolyzed, which means they have been partially broken down, allowing the protein to be digested and absorbed more quickly. This results in the supplement becoming bitterer tasting. Since whey concentrates and isolates are already digested quickly, this provides little added benefit for the extra cost and bitter taste.

What type and variety of protein is right for me?

**Products that are made with gluten free products may not be certified gluten-free. Look on packages for the certified gluten-free label to ensure you are not consuming gluten if this is a concern for you.


Deciding on a protein supplement that is right for you should consider allergies, intolerances, goals, and cost. Typically, the more processing that has been done to the protein (hydrolyzed being the most processed of the whey proteins, for example), the more expensive the product is. So then, is the cost worth  receiving a slightly more processed (bioavailable) product? I would say no, it’s not. A little carbohydrate and fat in your protein powder will not make or break whether you are building lean muscle or not. Quality OVERALL nutrition and spending time being active however, will.


When consuming protein powder, it is best consumed closely after a workout and in COMBINATION with a simple carbohydrate (a piece of fruit for example, yay!). Rememeber that nutrition from food should always take a priority and that supplements are meant to “supplement” nutrition that might be lacking because of allergies, increased needs of some nutrients, or travel (a sporting event for example).


For more information about protein supplementation, send me an email to jessicaroy@jroynutrition.ca, I’m here to help!




Dietitians of Canada: Sport Supplements- Get the Facts: 2016-01-25





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