You just made a post about supplements and I looked at the reddit spreadsheet, but it has me worried! I'm trying to find a protein powder, to help me stop being so scrawny, but I can't really have dairy and that spreadsheet makes every non whey protein look terrible. Do you have any advice on alternative protein powders? Or know anyone who has used them effectively? Also, your tumblr has really inspired me to try to get bigger! :)
There are two families of protein powder:
- Animal based (eg, whey, egg whites, beef)
- Plant based (eg, soy, quinoa, hemp)
This is a big over-simplification, but proteins are made up of amino acids, and depending on the source of your protein, the amino acids will vary. The more amino acids available, the more your body can build with them…either fixing wounds, growing new hair, skin, or big new muscles.
Animal proteins have the most amino acid complete profile.
Plant proteins generally don’t have all the amino acids needed to complete a profile. (This is why vegetarians and vegans have to use food combinations to get a complete amino acid profile and stay healthy). There are two plant proteins I’m familiar with that have mostly complete amino acid profiles: soy and quinoa.
However, men should not supplement too much soy protein because it will aromatase into estrogen and the resulting hormone imbalance will actually make you lose muscle.
There are blends of different types of plant proteins. But the only reason you should consider supplementing with plant protein is if it’s better for your health. Whey is considerably cheaper compared to plant protein blends.
You can also make your own plant-based alternative protein blend for amino acid completeness. Take equal parts brown rice protein, hemp protein, and pea protein. It’s much lighter than whey protein and just as amino acid complete. But it can be more expensive. And usually tastes bad.