How To Choose The Right Protein Shake

Protein shakes are great for supplimenting your diet however there are dozens of different types of protein shakes and thousands of different brands so it can be hard to figure out which one is right for you. Below is an outline of the most popular types of protein shakes and how they affect your body. This way you can determine if they are right for your goals.

What Is The Purpose Of Protein

Protein itself is a macronutrient that your body uses to repair and build muscles which is why it's important to add to your diet, especially if you are going to be working out and tearing down your muscles frequently.

While the amount of protein you should be eating varies depending on your lifestyle and activity, it is generally recommended that active people who are attempting to build muscle should eat at least one gram of protein for every pound you weigh.

This may be a little overkill depending on your goals, so we have a macronutrient calculator that can help you gauge things a little better.

Whey Concentrate

This is the most basic type of protein shake. It can be found just about anywhere from the super market to online stores. It is relatively inexpensive which is a plus for those who are new to protein powders and would like to add something new to their diet.

Pros: Cheap and can be found anywhere. Great for beginners.

Cons: May cause an upset stomach or bloating.

Best Used: Can be used any time, before or after your workout or as a supplement for a snack.

Casean Protein

Casean protein is much heavier and slower to break down which is perfect for those who may go a while without eating. Many people use it before bed which means your body will be working to absorb nutrients even while you sleep.

This protein is a milk byproduct so it may cause extreme discomfort to those who are lactose intolerant so keep that in mind when using it.

Pros: Slow to digest which means it will keep you full for a longer period of time.

Cons: Is can get pretty expensive.

Best Used: Before bed or before a long period without eating.

Whey Isolate

Whey Isolate is great for those on a low carb diet. They generally contain very little carbs and fat. While a little more expensive, they are very useful during a cut or while carb cycling.

Because this protein powder is lighter and is usually not milk based it can be easier on the stomach and will cause less bloating.

Pros: Quick to digest and usually contains almost only protein with little extra carbs or fat.

Cons: Much more expensive than other protein powders.

Best Used: When on a low-carb diet.

Mass Gainers

Mass gainers are one huge ball of calories and are perfect for one thing, gaining weight. If you have an ectomorph body type or are in need of gaining weight in a hurry, mass gainers are perfect for you.

Many mass gainers range anywhere to 500 to 1000 calories per shake and are a mix of whey protein and high carb ingredients. However, watch yourself as you take them to ensure you don't gain too much weight as a larger calorie cound does not neccesarily equate to more muscle.

Pros: You will put on weight and gain size in a hurry.

Cons: The sheer amount of calories in them will leave you feeling bloated.

Best Used: If you're trying to bulk and gain size.

Other Types Of Protein

Hydrolysate Protein - The most expensive type of protein and, not surprisingly, the highest quality protein you can buy. This protein has the highest absorption rate and is much better on the digestive system.

Soy Protein - A good vegitarian source of protein. Many vegitarian diets do not contain enough protein and choosing a good soy option can help suppliment that deficit. 

Egg Protein - While not specifically a protein powder, eggs always have, and always will be a great source of protein.

Rice Protein - Made from rice, this is another good source of protein for vegitarians. Although it does have a higher carb content, rice protein is a good way to keep your protein levels high.

Pea Protein - Another good protein source for vegitarians however, this is not a good primary source of protein.

Hemp Protein - Made from hemp, this protein powder does not contain THC and is a newer source of getting protein. It is usually exported from other countries.


Now that you are familiar with the different type of protein there are, you should be able to more accurately decide which ones are right for you and your goals. For beginners it is recommended to start small and simple.

Since protein powders have very subtle effects it is recommended that you try taking one consistently for a while (2 weeks to a month) before gauging how it affects you physique.

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The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not always reflect the views of Bodybuilding Nation.
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