Written by: ASN



Time to read 7 min

Let’s talk about Protein Powder.

Protein powder is easily the most popular supplement for athletes and gym enthusiasts alike, but it can be overwhelming to navigate the vast array of options available. Whether your gym bro is raving about his ‘blend of hydrolysed whey and rapid-releasing isolate’ or your plant-based pal is trying to convince you to try pea protein, there are far more protein options than meets the eye.

We’ve set out to break down the science behind protein powder and arm you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions about the products you're putting into your body. From whey to casein to plant-based powders, we'll explore the benefits and differences between each type of protein powder and help you identify the best option for your individual needs and goals.

So, if you're looking to up your protein game, grab your shaker, and we’ll show you the whey.

What is Protein? Is Protein All The Same?

Protein is one of three macronutrients that form a balanced diet. Protein is an essential nutrient that is required for a variety of bodily functions, including the growth and repair of tissues, the production of enzymes and hormones, and the maintenance of a healthy immune system. Protein does most of the work to keep your body functioning each day and is crucial in building antibodies, transmitting signals through your body, and providing structure and support for cells. Most people associate protein with muscle gains, with protein supporting lean muscle growth, protein synthesis, muscle repair, and even weight loss (Health Direct. 2023).

While many people consume protein through their daily diet, some choose to supplement with protein powder to reach their daily protein goals or to fast-track their muscle recovery if they frequently train at high intensity.

It is important to remember that not all protein powders are created equal, and there are various options that will offer different support for different goals. Some of the most common and effective forms of protein powder include whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, hydrolysed WPI, casein protein powder, and plant-based protein powder. Each has unique characteristics and benefits, so it's important to choose the right one for your goals and lifestyle.

Whey protein concentrate is a popular choice as it is affordable and contains a high percentage of protein. Whey protein isolate, on the other hand, is a more pure form of whey protein that contains less lactose and fat. Hydrolysed WPI is a pre-digested protein that is quickly absorbed by the body, making it a great option for post-workout recovery. Casein protein powder is a slower-releasing protein that is ideal for sustaining muscle growth. Plant-based protein powders, such as pea, hemp, and rice protein, are great alternatives for those who are lactose intolerant, vegan, or have dietary restrictions. The choice ultimately comes down to personal preference and fitness goals, but with so many options available, there's a protein powder out there for everyone (Hy-Vee. 2019).

Why Do I Need Protein Powder?

Sure, you can get enough protein through a balanced diet… but be honest, do you? If you’re leading an active lifestyle, your body is under a higher demand than somebody who sits at a desk all day, which means you will need more protein in your diet to support your muscle health, growth, and repair.

The problem is that it isn’t always easy to consume enough protein to support those factors. Especially if you’re always on the move. If you’re training heaps, driving lots, and moving around frequently during your day, it’s hard to manage a balanced day of nutrition. This is where supplements like protein powder are convenient and effective. The best way to fuel your muscles after training is to mix up a protein shake on your way home or, if you’re an early riser, on your way to work.

Protein powder is easy to prepare, can be consumed on the go, and comes in a variety of flavours and forms to cater to different dietary restrictions and preferences. Not only that, but it also provides a concentrated source of high-quality protein that is often lacking in modern diets. So, whether you are an athlete, a busy professional, or simply someone looking to improve their health and fitness, incorporating protein powder into your daily routine is a smart and effective way to achieve your goals.

Let’s take a look at the different types of protein powders and how they can support your goals.

Whey Protein Concentrate

Whey protein concentrate, or WPC, is a popular form of protein supplement made from cow's milk that has been processed through ultrafiltration to remove most of the fat and lactose. With a protein content ranging from 35-65%, WPC provides a high-quality source of essential amino acids that are easily absorbed and utilised by the body. It is an excellent choice for athletes, bodybuilders, and anyone looking to increase muscle mass, strength, and recovery time. In addition to its muscle-building benefits, WPC can support weight loss, reduce inflammation, improve immune function, and enhance overall health and well-being (Science Direct. 2016) .


Whey Protein Isolate

Whey protein isolate, or WPI, is the most popular source of protein among bodybuilders and gym-goers and is most often the go-to post-workout recovery choice. This high-quality protein powder is extracted from milk and undergoes a meticulous filtration process that removes almost all lactose, fat, and other impurities. As a result, whey protein isolate boasts an impressive 90%+ protein content, making it a potent source of essential amino acids that support muscle growth and recovery. WPI is renowned for its high protein purity and is ideal if you’re a bodybuilder, athlete, or somebody looking to maintain a healthy weight. Incorporating whey protein isolate into your post-workout routine can help you accelerate your recovery after intense resistance training (Science Direct. 2022) .


Hydrolysed Whey Protein

Hydrolysed whey protein is a fast-acting and quickly absorbed form of protein that is pre-digested for easier digestion and uptake by the body. It is the purest form of whey protein available and offers a number of benefits to athletes and gym enthusiasts alike. The process of hydrolysis leads to longer chains of amino acids transforming into shorter ones known as peptides. By consuming hydrolysed whey protein isolate after exercise, you can fast-track your recovery times, supporting muscle growth and repair, along with improved strength and endurance. This type of protein is particularly useful for those who are looking to maximise their athletic performance and build lean muscle mass. Whether you are a professional athlete or just starting out on your fitness journey, hydrolysed whey protein is a powerful tool that can help you reach your goals (Ingredient Optimized. 2023) .


Casein Protein Powder

Casein protein is a form of protein that is found in dairy products. For instance, cow’s milk contains 80% casein protein. It is a complete protein that is rich in amino acids and provides a slow release of protein that can last for several hours. This makes it ideal for people who are looking to build and repair muscles, especially during extended periods of fasting, such as overnight sleep. Casein protein can also support muscle breakdown and improve muscle recovery. Athletes and bodybuilders who engage in intense workouts, as well as individuals who follow a low-calorie diet, can benefit greatly from casein protein. Incorporating this protein into your diet can help you achieve your fitness goals while keeping your body healthy (WebMD. 2020) .


Plant-Based Protein Powder

Plant-based protein refers to protein derived from plants. Unlike traditional animal sources such as meat and dairy, plant protein is derived from sources such as legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains. Plant-based protein is an excellent option for anyone looking to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diet, including vegans, vegetarians, and those looking to reduce their overall meat intake. Vegan protein can support healthy weight, gut health, and inflammation. For athletes, plant-based protein can support lean muscle growth and recovery, making it ideal if you’re a regular at the gym. The most common sources are hemp protein, almond protein, peanut protein, rice protein, and soy protein, with plant protein blends being a popular option to comprise multiple sources (David, L. 2022) .

Even if you’re not following a plant-based diet, consuming protein from plant-based sources in addition to animal-based sources can offer numerous benefits. Check out our blog,  From Flexitarian to Fit  , to learn more about how plant protein can transform your health and wellbeing.


The Bottom Line

If you’re living an active lifestyle, protein powder can be an excellent addition to your fitness routine. It can help you build muscle, recover after a workout, and even aid in weight loss. By understanding the different types of protein powders and their benefits, you can choose the one that best suits your individual fitness goals and dietary needs. However, it's essential to remember that protein powder should never replace whole foods entirely, and it is essential to follow a balanced diet and exercise regime to get the best out of your goals.

By incorporating protein powder into your diet and maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle, you can achieve your fitness goals and feel confident in your body's strength and capabilities. If you need help finding the right protein powder for your goals, head in-store or reach out online, and our knowledgeable team will help you find what you’re looking for.


Health Direct. 2023, ‘Protein’, Health Direct, accessed February 2024, https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/protein

Hy-Vee. 2019, ‘7 Types of Protein Powder and How to Buy the Best’ Hy-Vee, accessed February 2024, https://www.hy-vee.com/recipes-ideas/advice-how-tos/wellness/health-fitness/types-of-protein-powders

Science Direct. 2016, ‘Whey Protein Concentrate’, Science Direct, accessed February 2024, https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/whey-protein-concentrate

Science Direct. 2022, ‘Whey Protein Isolate’, Science Direct, accessed February 2024, https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/whey-protein-isolate#:~:text=Whey%20protein%20isolate%20(WPI)%20is,that%20contains%20%E2%89%A590.0%25%20protein .

Ingredients Optimized. 2023, ‘A Complete Guide to Understanding Hydrolyzed Whey Protein’, Ingredients Optimized, accessed February 2024, https://www.becomeio.com/blog/hydrolyzed-whey-protein-2/

WebMD. 2020, ‘Casein Protein - Uses, Side Effects, and More’, WebMD, accessed February 2024, https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1575/casein-protein

David, L. 2022, ‘Vegan Protein Powder: Types and Benefits’, Very Well Fit, accessed February 2024, https://www.verywellfit.com/vegan-protein-powder-types-and-benefits-5524743#:~:text=A%20vegan%20protein%20powder%20is,contain%20high%20amounts%20of%20protein