In the world of bodybuilding and gym sessions, there is one thing that gets talked about more than equipment or diet regimens, its protein powders. You have probably seen bulk guys walking around with their containers of drinks and it would almost be safe to assume that those are protein shakes. They act as nutrition and bodybuilding supplements which helps in building muscles and help people achieve their required protein intake while avoiding additional fat mass and bad foods on the process. It does not have the most appealing of taste which is why it is usually mixed into a concoction of fruits or flavouring. Aside from building muscle, protein is also helpful when rebuilding muscles strained from workouts. Protein can speed up recovery and even reduce damage in the first place.

This superfood was developed by researchers identifying several substances and studying if whether its proteins are safe and beneficial for human consumption. Thus, protein powders was developed into several forms and servings such as whey protein, casein, and soy. More often, protein powders are created from a process called coagulation wherein the proteins are divided into liquid and solid particles.

Whey protein powders, the most popular, is the most widely available supplement you can find in any health food chain. It is made from the liquid left from when cow’s milk is processed and coagulated into cheese. The process begins with separating the components of milk and the leftover liquid from this is then taken, dried, and eventually turned into powder through a process such as dry blending. Being the most in-demand dietary supplement in the market, whey protein has been processed and developed through dry blending plants into different protein powders to accommodate the market’s different preferences. These are whey protein concentrate, isolates, and hydrolysates. The difference between these three depends on how much filtration the protein powder has gone through. Further filtration increases the amount of protein by the weight of the substance and some argues that the more filtered the product is (hydrolysate), the better it is for digestion and absorption.

There is also the casein protein which is also made from cow’s milk and is a by-product from the coagulation and cheese manufacturing. So if whey is 20% of the milk protein, casein has a big difference being 80% of it. The protein in it makes it longer to digest than whey and thus, the gut absorbs its protein at a slower rate. It helps the body synthesise protein longer and reduces muscle breakdown. The difference between these two protein powders makes their optimal time of consumption different as well. The faster-digesting form of whey means it is used best when right before a workout as opposed to casein’s slower form which means most people supplement it before bed.

Another alternative protein powders for vegans or for people who are lactose intolerant is soy protein powders as it is made entirely from dehulled soybeans instead of dairy. It is made from a similar process as whey wherein soy milk is coagulated and its leftover liquid is processed to powder form.

Manufacturing protein powders stemmed from people’s need of protein in a more sustainable and healthier way. Meat, the biggest source of protein, is tricky to prepare in a healthy consumption so researchers identified other sources and learned how to extract that substance alone in its most basic form. Protein powders, no matter how bland they do taste, will always be a staple health food.