What's the Best Protein Powder: Whey, Soy or Casein?

What’s the Best Protein Powder: Whey, Soy or Casein?

best protein powder

If you’re into weight training or any sort of athletic activity, you probably don’t need to be “sold” on the benefits of supplementing with a protein powder.

Protein powders are, quite frankly, the cornerstone of any nutrition program—at least the nutrition program of those of you attempting to consume a minimum 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight daily.

They allow you to “fill in the gaps” between meals, since it’s often difficult to obtain all your protein requirements from whole foods (and still maintain gainful employment!).

But even if you’re not an athlete, into exercising or pumping iron, supplementation can be advantageous.

Yes, even if you’re looking to lose weight, or simply to eat healthier, protein powders are a fantastic choice. They’re just as easily added to a morning smoothie as a post-workout shake.

What’s the Best Protein Powder: Whey, Soy or Casein?

While most brand name products are of good quality, there are so many different types of protein, and so much advertising hype surrounding the benefits of each, it’s hard to separate marketing from reality.

What’s a smart consumer like you to do?

Simple.

Learn a little about the pros and cons of each protein source before you make your decision.

And remember that most decent products are “good enough”, or in other words, they’ll accomplish what you’ll need them to accomplish. There’s really no point in agonizing over a purchase, since the likelihood of one choice delivering dramatically better results than another are almost zero.

Common Protein Powders

Whey Protein:

The king of protein powders. And with benefits so numerous, it’s hard to know where to start; whey protein is rich in branched chain amino acids, it’s a precursor to the vitally important antioxidant glutathione—there’s even evidence to suggest it enhances satiety and weight loss. Whey protein mixes easily, and although taste is always subjective, most manufacturers do a good job of creating a pretty enjoyable product.

Click here to read the whey protein review!

Casein Protein

Also a milk-derived protein like whey, casein is known as the timed-release protein, because of the slow speed it is digested. As such, it also helps with satiety (keeps you feeling full for longer) and is the optimal protein to supplement with before bedtime. It has a more chalky consistency than whey, doesn’t taste as good, and usually has to be mixed in a blender. In my opinion, the best way to take a casein protein is to mix it 50/50 with whey protein.

Click here to read the casein protein review!

Soy Protein:

Soy protein isn’t a bad protein source by any means. Sure, it doesn’t taste as good or mix as well as whey, but it’s cheaper too. On the plus side, studies show it can reduce serum cholesterol and triglycerides. On the negative, certain phytoestrogens may cause endocrine disruption, possible neurological effects, and an increased risk for dementia in old age.

Click here to read the soy protein review!

Egg Protein

Egg protein might be “old school” but that doesn’t mean it won’t do the trick. One guy—you might have heard of him, Arnold Schwarzenegger—ate plenty of egg protein, and no one ever kicked sand in his face. On the plus side, it’s cheaper than whey and casein.

Click here to read the egg protein review!

Rice protein:

Plant based proteins are generally shunned by the bodybuilding community because they are “incomplete” proteins, or lacking one or more essential amino acids. However there’s no reason why plant-based proteins can’t be used within the context of a balanced diet that contains numerous whole food protein sources. Good-quality plant proteins like rice and pea (below) are also useful for vegans/vegetarians, and those with dairy/egg allergies.

Click here to read the rice protein review!

Pea protein:

Like rice, another plant-based protein. Click here to read the review!

Carnivor (beef protein isolate):

To be honest, there’s a little more than just beef protein isolate here; there’s also BCAAs, creatine and a few other goodies. Should you forgo you usual whey protein supplement for Carnivor?

Read the review and find out for yourself!

Have we missed anything? What your favorite type of protein? Let us know in the comments below!


Author: elissa

Elissa is a former research associate with the University of California at Davis, and the author/co-author of over a dozen articles published in scientific journals. Currently a freelance writer and researcher, Elissa brings her multidisciplinary education and training to her writing on nutrition and supplements.

2 Comments

  1. From my personal experience, casein protein supplements generally do not taste good and are more expensive than other protein supplements. But I must admit that is very useful to take casein between meals and before bedtime. But everything depends on what are you looking for… to grow or to maintain your muscles.

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    • They definitely do not. I like mixing my casein half and half with a whey protein. That helps the flavor dramatically, and thickens the whey shake. Helps with satiety, too!

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