Protein 101: The Need to Know About Protein Powders

Author: Nicole Adler   Date Posted: 15 August 2016 

For as long as most bodybuilders and athletes can remember, protein supplementation has been just a way of life to them. Modern protein supplements began in the 1950s in the United States with egg powder proteins.

With increased marketing and sales techniques, combined with protein supplement technology, this market increased rapidly in the 1970s and 1980s. With this expansion, came the more favorable protein powders, whey and soy.

What were the advantages to whey and soy protein powders that athletes were looking for?

When whey and soy protein powders first became en vogue, bodybuilders and athletes were looking for a compact form a protein supplementation that was a complete protein, meaning it had all nine essential amino acids available in one protein. This protein supplement must then be very protein rich. With whey and soy protein, these were the most protein rich supplements that had been available thus far. These protein supplements, however, had their limitations.

What were the limitations to whey and soy protein powders?

The main limitation to whey protein is its dietary restrictions. Many times, when people are allergic to milk they are also allergic to whey protein powder. This is due to the fact that casein is the protein present in both milk and whey protein. This protein is what causes some of the allergic reaction process. Whey protein’s secondary limitation is dietary in nature as well. Some people have vegan or vegetarian dietary limitations that do not allow for consumption of animal proteins. For these people, vegetable based protein supplementation is the recommended supplementation route.

For those that require vegetable based protein supplementation, prior to the advent of pea protein powder, soy protein was the supplement of choice. Soy protein has a major drawback, however. It does not promote lean muscle mass building. When a human consumes protein, their body wants to naturally produce testosterone. This testosterone, in turn, helps to build lean muscle. The protein in soy protein powder, however, does not promote the same testosterone production. This in turn, does not lead to the production of lean muscle growth.

I want a vegetable protein that builds muscle, is that too much to ask?

One of the latest trends in protein technology is pea protein powder. Pea protein powder, derived from the yellow field pea, is a complete protein that is vegetable sourced. Pea powder protein is also known to promote testosterone production. This, in turn, promotes the building of lean muscle mass. Therefore, pea protein powder is a vegetable based protein that builds muscle. Your wish has been granted! One of the best parts is that pea protein powder has not taste to it whatsoever. This is completely different that the other types of protein, which have to have their tastes, or taste profiles, masked.

A tasteless, testosterone producing, muscle building protein powder can’t be all perfect. What gives?

You are correct, pea protein powder isn’t perfect. With all of its great benefits, pea protein powder is known to be low in cysteine and methionine, but they are present. This, by definition, makes the protein in pea protein powder, legumin, a complete protein; however, it is not recommended for protein replacement. Pea protein powder should only be used for protein supplementation due to its low levels of cysteine and methionine.

For every taste, a flavor; for every job, a tool.

When you are thinking of adding a protein supplement to your diet, you must choose the one that fits your current diet, your lifestyle, and desired diet the best. 

Data based on vanilla flavour ND Naturals WPC Rice Protein Isolate Pea Protein Isolate Soy Protein Isolate ND Natural WPI
Protein per serve (g) 23 23.6 24.1 25.4 26.2
Take For
Type of protein/s Whey Vegetable Vegetable Vegetable Whey
Carbs per serve (g) 4.2 4.8 2.5 1.8 2.2
Fat total per serve (g) 1.3 0.6 2.0 0.4 0.6
Sugars per serve (g) 3.4 0.6 0.6 1.0 1.6
Serving Size (g) Stevia Stevia Stevia Stevia Stevia
Serves per kilo Choc, Vanilla Choc, Vanilla, Natural Choc, Vanilla, Natural Choc, Vanilla, Natural Choc, Vanilla
Additional Premium Ingredients 30 30 30 30 30
Notes 33 33 33 33 33
Flavours All natural flavours and sweetener Vegetarian, all natural flavours and sweetener Vegetarian, all natural flavours and sweetener Vegetarian, all natural flavours and sweetener All natural flavours and sweetener

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