Protein is essential for the maintenance and growth of bones and muscle tissue. It is a vital element of consuming a healthy, balanced diet and it is the basis of nutrition for those wishing to build muscle.
Naturally, we presume protein is predominately sourced from animal sources, such as red meat; however, there a number of other valuable protein sources available.
As the sports nutrition supplement market expands, it is important to gain an understanding of the variety of proteins available. Here are a few basic details of each:
Soy protein isolate is the most refined source and contains about 90% protein. It is commonly found in meat products to improve the texture.
Soy protein concentrate contains about 70% protein and is essentially soybean without the water soluble carbohydrate.
Textured soy protein is made from soy protein concentrate and is the basis of imitation vegetarian meat products.
Whey protein is a mixture of spherical proteins from whey, which is a by-product of cheese manufactured from cow’s milk. The protein from cow’s milk is 20% whey protein and 80% casein protein (which will be described later).
Scientific research has shown that whey protein is high in essential amino acids, branch chain amino acids and leucine. All of which have been associated with increased muscle protein synthesis and weight loss. Like other types of protein, if whey protein is consumed shortly after rigorous exercise it can boost muscle size.
In sports nutrition, whey protein is now commonly used in protein shakes and powders and it is the foundation of a number of premium LA Muscle products, such as LA Whey Gold, LA Whey Bronze and Slim Whey.
Casein protein is one of the major proteins present in milk and during manufacture, the action of rennet forms cheese. Casein is from skimmed milk and the fat, whey protein, lactose and minerals are removed through washing. The casein is then dried to improve the quality. Casein is often used as the main ingredient in night proteins as it slow-digesting which can help to prevent muscle breakdown.
Rice protein is an alternative vegetable protein isolate with a distinctive flavour. It is separated from the grain or starch due to recent advances of protein extraction methods. Unlike many other proteins, few suffer allergic reactions from rice protein as it is gluten free.
Eggs are a potent source of protein, for example, a boiled egg contains 13g protein, a raw egg yolk has 16g and a raw egg white has 11g. Egg proteins are slowly becoming popular on the market and are available as powdered white, whole or yolk. Egg protein is associated with a rather distinct flavour; however, it is often manufactured in range of flavours to mask the original taste.
Hemp protein is from the seeds of a plant source; the seeds contain a similar nutritional profile as an egg; it contains all of the essential amino acids. Hemp seeds are a source of vitamins, minerals, fibre, enzymes, probiotics, and antibiotics. Whilst this seems like a slightly less common type of protein, it is a valuable source and is becoming more and more common within the nutritional supplement world.