Whey, Vegan, or Soy? Which Protein Powder Is Right For You

Whey Protein Powder
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Whey Protein Powder

Sports nutritionists consider whey, one of two proteins in milk, the gold standard when it comes to protein powders. “Whey protein is extremely digestible and contains all of the essential amino acids, including the highest concentration of branched-chain amino acids,” says Mitzi Dulan, RD, Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. Essential amino acids are the necessary building blocks for growing muscle. Whereas branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) comprise a trio of specific essential amino acids (meat and dairy provide plenty), which have been shown to reduce muscle soreness from exercise and promote muscle growth when consumed before and after tough workouts. Dulan’s favorite whey protein powder is Jay Robb, since it tastes great, has a good mouth feel, a “clean” ingredient list, and 25 grams of high-quality whey protein.

But it’s not just about the whey when it comes to performance. Research shows that mixing whey protein shakes with water only is not the optimal way to recover post-workout. Pairing protein powder with carbs helps with fueling and recovery, which can mean blending it into a smoothie with a frozen banana and milk.