Types of protein and their differences

Types of protein and their differences

In this article, you will learn about what kinds of protein are and their differences among themselves. This information will help you choose the optimal protein for yourself to build muscle mass or to adjust your diet.

Protein can be either in powder or encapsulated / tabletted form. The protein consists of amino acids consecutively joined together by a peptide bond. On the shelves of the sports nutrition store, very often the protein can be found in the form of amino acids (that is, the same protein only already split into amino acids), but they are much more expensive, but absorbed into the bloodstream instantly.

Proteins perform a lot of important functions in the body, for example:

  • transport
  • regular
  • signal
  • construction

We, for bodybuilding, are only interested in the last, building function of proteins, which synthesizes new muscle fibers, that is, it helps to increase the muscle mass of the athlete.

Sources of protein foods are very many, it is primarily natural products of animal origin (cottage cheese, meat, poultry, fish, milk, eggs, seafood), and vegetable (cereals, legumes). The latter, vegetable proteins, in contrast to animals, are less well absorbed, have a lower biological value (that is, they are inferior in terms of a set of amino acids and digestibility of them).

Sources of protein food
Sources of protein food

High-quality food, in the required quantity for the athlete, received in the body with natural food, creates a positive nitrogen balance, which is possible for muscle growth. That is, for the growth of the musculature, it is necessary to create conditions under which a positive nitrogen balance can, perhaps only if the protein is consumed enough.

The best option for an athlete is when he gets 50% protein food from natural foods (animal and vegetable origin) and 50% from sports nutrition (protein).

So, we have smoothly approached, that in the diet it is necessary to use qualitative fibers which will allow to increase essentially muscular weight, certainly, at correct trainings, a delivery and restoration.

In the sports nutrition market, there are many different kinds of protein, and each of them has its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look at each sub-order below. Read the article about Proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

Types of protein, its pros and cons

Do not forget that protein is just a protein supplement to the main meal, which makes it much easier to get the right amount of protein for muscle growth (2-2.5 per 1 kg of the body weight of the athlete).


One of the best types of proteins for muscle building, burning excess calories, is obtained from whey, which is formed when curling (a by-product in the production of cheese from cow’s milk).

Globular proteins (lactoglobulin, lactalbumin, immunoglobulin), of which whey is made, are rich in all the necessary amino acids for muscle growth, in addition, they even outstrip plant and animal proteins by biological value.

Schematically, you can build a chain of production of whey protein:

Milk → Whey → Pasteurization → Filtration → Whey → Concentration → Drying → Finished product (60%, 65%, 70%, 80%, 90%).

There are three main forms of whey protein:

Whey Concentrate

The budget option, the cost of such a protein is not great, because of the low filtration system, because there is no technical possibility to make, in the ceramic membrane, micro-holes of the same diameter through which the serum passes. So it turns out that the proteins, which is a donkey on the filter, has in its composition also fats and lactose (29-89%), which in turn can cause problems with the stomach, swelling.

Whey Concentrate
Whey Concentrate

Whey Isolate

Excellent quality, taste, and price makes it one of the best to date protein. Obtained whey isolate by long-term filtration, or by ion exchanges. In its composition, the isolate contains practically no fat or lactose, and is also rich in all the necessary amino acids for muscle growth and development, in addition, it is much better absorbed than concentrate. Quality proteins, for affordable price in other words.

Many unreasonable sellers sell whey protein isolates, in the form of a cocktail of three different kinds of protein (concentrate, isolate, hydrolyzate), where the concentrate is about 60-70%, naturally, you should choose the sports supplement where the isolate is the basis, or it would be the only component.

Whey Hydrolyzate

Expensive for the price, with high quality whey, is obtained by hydrolysis (decomposition of water) of the already existing isolate, that is, large protein molecules into separate fractions, resulting in the output of the protein, with instant (within 5-10 minutes) assimilability, with zero indicators of fats and carbohydrates.

To date, the problem lies in strict adherence to the technological line of production of whey protein hydrolyzate, due to the fact that there are many kinds of hydrolysis equipment, and everyone wants to save money. As a result, only 50% of the proteins fractions, out of 100 possible, are obtained at the output. As you understand, this is relevant for Russia, so think a few times about which producer to buy protein.

Casein protein

The slowest digestibility of all types of proteins, casein or calcium caseinate. It turns out by severing the milk. Getting into the gut (gastrointestinal tract), casein turns into a clot, which slows down not only digestibility, digestibility of this type, but also all other types.

Low assimilation of casein protein is used in children’s nutrition, adding casein to foods, we thereby give the child a uniform, smooth intake of necessary amino acids for growth and full development of amino acids, and the opposite effect will be obtained if we add to the diet of the baby proteins of milk serums, amino acids simply will not have time to assimilate in the child’s body, which can lead to various diseases, anomalies in development, because of which dietitians recommend that all mothers feed the baby Adults, do not use casein before training, because of poor digestion. But not everything is lost, read below.

Poor assimilation of casein, and low biological value, led to experiments where the whey and casein were mixed in different proportions, it was eventually found that mixing in proportions 63:37, whey, and casein, you can achieve maximum digestibility, and the biological value of the protein.

Another known, modern form of casein protein is Micellar casein, it is produced in a gentle way, without heating, and acids, with the help of micro and ultrafiltration, resulting in the protein being digested even slower in the stomach. In bodybuilding, one should not use such protein, there is scientific evidence that the continuous, long-term intake of amino acids leads to the attenuation of the anabolic effect.


As a result, we can conclude that for bodybuilding the casein form of the protein is ineffective, rather it will work in systems for weight loss, by giving a feeling of satiety.

Complex proteins

Protein mixture consisting of different types (slow and fast) of proteins, called complex. That is, some of the amino acids are immediately absorbed, and some gradually saturate the muscles. Which is not very convenient, for example, when we use this type of protein after a heavy training, when we need, in addition to replenishing the spent energy, in the form of fast carbohydrates, a fast-digestible protein that would raise the peak concentration of amino acids in the blood (to close the so-called protein-carbohydrate window), but if you are not a professional athlete who follows every extra calorie spent, then it will suit you.

Complex protein
Complex protein

Scientific studies say that it is better to use whey for muscle mass, and other sports purposes.

Soy Proteins

Virtually the worst of all types of proteins, has a non-full amino acid composition, poor muscle uptake, can be converted to estrogenic, and also has a low biological value (BC) value of 74, for example, the BC index of other protein species:

  • whey – 130
  • whole egg 100
  • egg white – 88
  • casein – 77

But not all so bad, saponins, and phytosterols, which are part of soy protein, regulate cholesterol level, and also strengthen the body’s immune system, in addition, this type of protein does not contain lactose (milk sugar).

Soy Proteins
Soy Proteins

Regular consumption of soy can reduce the occurrence of cancer in women, in men, contributes to the prevention of prostatitis.

However, all these positive aspects of soy protein are not related to bodybuilding, soy protein is not the best choice to stimulate muscle growth, in addition, estrogenic activity of soy in men can rarely cause impotence.

Egg protein

This type of protein is well absorbed in the body, saturating it with all the important amino acids. Sports nutrition is made on the basis of egg albumin (egg white protein) and whole protein.

Egg protein
Egg protein

Bodybuilders separate the yolk from the protein, because it contains fats (4.5 grams), many of which are mono and poly saturated (useful means, lower the level of cholesterol in the blood), although many do not know that the same yolks so are also rich in proteins (2.7 g.). In the raw form of eggs, worse digested in the stomach (only 51%), contained in them inhibitor of the enzyme trypsin, reduces the rate of digestion. Therefore, to improve the digestive process, it is recommended that eggs be used after a small heat treatment, that is, cook, then the eggs will be absorbed by 91%.

From the advantages of an egg protein, it is a balanced amino acid composition (it is almost perfect here), and the rate of absorption is high, the minuses are high price, and not very pleasant taste. Therefore, those who are too lazy to cook, boil eggs, and the budget allows, please buy.

Meat (beef) protein

Protein, in which most of the fat, and cholesterol is removed, is made on the basis of beef protein, using the ultra-concentration method. It lacks lactose and gluten, and meat protein is also supplied with creatine, an additional source of stimulation of muscle growth and strength.

Meat protein from MuscleMeds
Meat protein from MuscleMeds

High digestion rate, high biological value of protein, rich amino acid profile, positive side of this protein, minuses – high price, and studies say that red meat in large quantities can provoke cancerous swelling.

Advice: meat protein, really quality, but very expensive, therefore, as an alternative, not inferior in quality, and at the same time, affordable, buy whey isolate.

Fish proteins

Fish protein isolate is poorly digested, even worse than casein, for example, studies have been conducted that confirm that fish protein is useless in bodybuilding (after 3 hours, the fish protein could not decompose, digested, therefore, did not saturate the body with the necessary amino acids for construction muscles). Therefore, fish protein has not been successful in the sports nutrition market.

Cereal (vegetable) proteins

Unfortunately, this kind of vegetable protein is not effective for levying muscle mass, has little biological value, but with simultaneous intake of cereals and legumes, the total BC of the protein is much higher. Soy proteins are not inferior in their biological value to other proteins (serum and egg).

PlantFusion Vegetable Protein
PlantFusion Vegetable Protein

The rate of assimilation of plant proteins is not great, due to a number of reasons: they slowly decay to amino acids, have a thick shell that prevents decomposition, and some plant proteins, can contain inhibitors that slow digestion.

And the last thing I would like to say is the very meaning of the protein in the diet of the athlete.

Protein, this is not a magic powder that builds up muscle mass, it’s just an additive to the main menu, an additive that can not replace the main meal. Treat protein as an auxiliary for nutrition and muscle growth.