Three Main Types of Protein

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We all should know that protein is a very essential part of our everyday life and it is extremely important for everyone who works out and wants to be healthy. Protein is what rebuilds our muscles, helps us bulk up, and helps lean us out as well. I get asked a lot about what is the best type of protein that’s out there to help my clients in their nutrition. Now there isn’t exactly one type that is heads and shoulders above the rest, but these three types of proteins all have their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to everyday use.

Animal Protein:

This is the typical type of protein that we get everyday. It ranges from our chicken breast, beef, turkey, salmon, tilapia, etc. There are numerous types of animal proteins out there, but these are the most common ones. These are the types that we should be getting into our 3 biggest meals of the day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and should be the focal point of our food as well.

Pros: Most sources of animal protein are complete proteins, so they provide the body with all essential amino acids. You need to eat only a small serving of meat to take in a large amount of protein. Meat protein is widely available, economical, and more commonly eaten. Vitamin B-12 is almost exclusively available in animal-based proteins.

Cons: Many sources of animal protein are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which can increase an individual's risk of developing high blood pressure and other serious diseases. Animal proteins tend to be significantly higher in calories than other types of proteins.

Whey Protein:

This is the type of protein that is most used as a powder source. Usually used after workouts and as a quick snack, this is the easiest way to get protein in your system at a fast rate.

Pros: Powder dissolves in water or milk easily and can be drunk on the go. Powder form is great for a quick and easy way to get protein in your diet in a fast manner. One scoop of protein can have as much, if not more, grams of protein than a four ounce chicken breast.

Cons: With it being liquid form, your body can only take in so much of the protein, and then is removed through the urine. It also does not have the vitamins and minerals that animal proteins have so you may be deficient in those if your main source of protein is through shakes. Shakes will not keep you full for long periods of time.

Soy Protein:

Soy protein is isolated from soybean, which is made from soybean meal that has been dehulled and defatted. Soy protein is used in a variety of foods, such as salad dressings, soups, meat analogues, beverage powders, cheeses, nondairy creamer, frozen desserts, whipped topping, infant formulas, breads, breakfast cereals, pastas, and pet foods. This is the type of protein that is less common than the first two types.

Pros: Soybeans are highly nutritious. They provide high quality proteins, isoflavones and essential fatty acids. They are low in fat and have no cholesterol. When it comes to breast cancer, studies show that consuming as little as one serving of whole soy foods daily throughout childhood and adolescence may reduce breast cancer risk in later life by as much as 50 percent.

Cons: There have been some studies that show that eating soy has no effect on protecting bones, but this is based on a mainly soy diet. Soy protein also has lower grams of protein per serving than whey and animal proteins.

So there it is. I could go on and on about the pros and cons about all of these types of proteins, but I just wanted to cover the biggest ones of all three of them. No matter what type of protein you prefer over the rest, don’t get too used to one and completely avoid the others. A well rounded amount of each will be the most beneficial on your part.

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