Protein (English protein) - a group of sports nutrition based on various sources of protein. Protein is widely used in many sports, especially bodybuilding and fitness. The main objective of such additives is the replenishment of the daily protein requirement. Proteins (amino acids) in the context of sports are necessary for the compensation and supercompensation of muscle fibers, that is, for the growth of muscles.

Определение термину "протеин"

Protein is not a muscle growth stimulator. Protein supplements should not be confused with sports pharmacology and steroids. Protein is a building (plastic) material for the reconstruction of muscle cells. Without power loads, it will not give such an effect.

Athletes actively use protein complexes due to the difficulty of obtaining the full range of amino acids from ordinary food.

Types of protein supplements and their differences

The variety of protein supplements is due to the use of different sources of protein in their production. There is a classification by this criterion:

  • Whey Protein

It is made on the basis of whey - a by-product resulting from the spreading of cheese and curd. Serum is subjected to a multi-stage filtration process. The more such steps, the better the final protein, and the higher the cost of the additive.

Supplements of this type are called "fast" protein due to the high rate of absorption. There are 3 types of whey protein:

1. Serum concentrate - protein content from 70 to 85%.

The primary form of whey protein with a minimum number of stages of filtration.

Advantages: it has an affordable cost, a complete amino acid composition, high absorption rate and good bioavailability.

Cons: in addition to protein, it contains fats and carbohydrates (lactose), as a result of which it can cause diarrhea. Often mixed with low-grade concentrate, the percentage of protein in which does not exceed 50%. A striking example is the KSB 55 and other analogues of the scam.

2. Whey isolate - protein content from 90 to 95%.

Purified concentrate form from which secondary nutrients (fats, carbohydrates) and impurities are removed.

Pros: absorbed better and faster concentrate, has the same set of amino acids, does not lead to diarrhea and is suitable for those who suffer from lactose intolerance.

Minuses: it costs much more than concentrate, and often its advantages do not justify such overpayment, especially in the context of gaining muscle mass.

3. Serum hydrolyzate - protein content from 90 to 95%.

Premium version of whey protein. The isolate is subjected to hydrolysis, as a result of which protein molecules are partially destroyed, releasing amino acids. Thus, the additive is absorbed several times faster than isolate and other "fast" proteins.

Pros: 98-99% bioavailability, no fats and carbohydrates, protein does not need to be digested, since amino acids are already released in the production process.

Cons: huge cost, and relatively small superiority over other forms of serum. In most cases, its features are not needed by athletes gaining muscle mass.

  • Casein protein

Another milk protein. It is extracted not from whey, but directly from milk and dairy products. The casein molecules are highly resistant to the acidic environment of the stomach, as a result of which they are absorbed for a long time — longer than all other types of protein.

This property is useful for weight loss and in cases where it is necessary to provide the body with a long and gradual influx of amino acids, for example, when losing weight or at night.

Pros: affordable cost, a set of all essential amino acids, perfectly combined with other protein supplements, no lactose.

Cons: cost is higher than whey concentrate, not the best choice for weight gain, does not suppress appetite, as manufacturers say.

  • Egg Protein

It is made from natural whole chicken eggs. Then, fats are removed from the raw material, and thus pure protein is obtained without carbohydrates, but with a small amount of fats needed for full bioavailability.

Pros: the highest bioavailability index (100%), a set of all amino acids, a large amount of BCAA, the presence of methionine is more pronounced than that of analogs, suitable for those who are allergic to milk protein.

Cons: high cost, the average speed of absorption, is practically absent in the market of sports nutrition in its pure form. Often egg white is mixed with other types of protein.

  • Vegetable protein

The main representative of this group is considered to be soy protein, and we will talk about it later. To begin, we note hemp, rice, and pea protein. They are made from raw materials, which are named. Amino acid value leaves much to be desired, as well as indicators of biological availability. Only used by vegetarians and vegans . In other situations, we recommend to avoid this protein.

Soy protein (isolate) is the best vegetable protein, which is also suitable for those who consciously refuse animal sources of protein. It is not only vegetarians who acquire it because of its affordable cost and relatively good quality of protein.

Pros: the average absorption rate, affordable cost, the presence of all essential amino acids, albeit in small quantities.

Cons: virtually no methionine, low bioavailability, the possible occurrence of flatulence and diarrhea from regular use, especially in large doses.

  • Beef protein

Harvested from red meat. It is an ordinary marketing protein without any special advantages. According to the characteristics comparable with serum isolate, both in terms of bioavailability and amino acid values.

Pros: an unusual taste, the presence of biologically synthesized creatine in the protein, a complete composition of amino acids.

Cons: high cost, lack of advantages over isolate, zero evidence base.

  • Multicomponent protein

This is a mixture of different types of protein, which is positioned as a premium protein. In practice, the manufacturer interferes with cheap and not the highest quality types of protein, for example, soy, whey concentrate, casein and some isolate.

Pros: low cost, the presence of different sources of protein, which leads to a fast and at the same time a long digestion.

Cons: poor protein composition, especially in comparison with certain types of protein supplements.

Table 1 - Types and characteristics of proteins.

Whey Protein

1. Serum concentrate

2. Serum isolate

3. Serum hydrolyzate


Higher than concentrate

The highest rate of absorption among proteins










(the most expensive among proteins)

Casein protein Slow - + +/-
Egg Protein Average +

(highest among proteins)


(contains a full range of amino acids)

Soy protein Average - - +
Beef protein High + +

(presence of creatine)

Multicomponent protein Different (it contains fast, medium and slow digestible proteins) +/- + +

How to choose a protein complex?

Initially, you need to decide on the main training goal. It depends on which protein is most relevant.

Set of muscle mass

If you do not suffer from lactose intolerance, then the best solution would be to buy whey concentrate. A complete composition of essential amino acids, affordable cost and pleasant taste - all this characterizes the concentrate.

It makes no sense to overpay for the isolate. Of course, you will reduce the amount of fats and carbohydrates, but in the context of weight gain, you still get these nutrients from regular food. So why pay more?

In the case of lactose intolerance, you can pay attention to either the isolate or egg protein. However, pure isolate is quite expensive. In most cases, it is mixed in production with a concentrate that does not suit you.

If the budget is limited - buy a multicomponent protein. It is better than the individual soy protein.

Hydrolyzate, beef protein and other marketing types of protein are simply not worth the money. It is much more rational to purchase other types of additives or to save money.


While losing weight, it is important to get the protein intake, because as the proportion of carbohydrates in the diet decreases, you proportionally increase the amount of protein. This is necessary not only to preserve muscle volume, but also to improve insulin resistance.

Due to calorie restriction, whey concentrate and other high-calorie types of protein supplements are not suitable for weight loss. We recommend to pay attention to casein protein or whey isolate. Both types of supplements contain almost no secondary nutrients and, accordingly, extra calories.

Contrary to advertising claims, the feeling of fullness from the isolate is more pronounced than from casein. Only an abundant casein cocktail can give a long feeling of satiety. Otherwise, you simply will not feel it.

If your task is to suppress hunger with just one protein supplement, then isolate is better suited for this purpose. His portion on the basis of a pair of measuring spoons will increase the concentration of amino acids in the blood and thereby cause an insulin surge. It will affect leptin and ghrelin levels, which almost immediately suppress appetite.

Weight maintenance

Many people with an active lifestyle buy protein supplements to supplement their daily protein requirements. In this case, it does not matter which type of protein you choose. Even vegetable types of protein supplements will suit you. Pay attention to the calories and the amount of protein in a single portion. The most delicious protein is multicomponent, and almost all manufacturers.

Choosing a manufacturer of protein

The undisputed leader is Optimum Nutrition. Their assortment includes the popular Gold Standard Whey complex 100% (isolate + concentrate) and the equally well-known Casein Gold Standard Casein 100%. In this segment, they have virtually no competitors.

In fairness, we note that Optimum Nutrition has a rather dull flavor line. Often, athletes alternate this brand with Dymatize Nutrition because of its excellent taste. The quality of their protein supplements depends on the selected line: there is a budget and a premium. There are no complaints to the latter, which cannot be said about the first.

In addition to them, in the segment of protein complexes one should pay attention to the following brands: MuscleTech, MusclePharm (Arnold Schwarzenegger line), Dorian Yates Nutrition.

Universal Nutrition, Weider Global Nutrition, Gaspari Nutrition - are leaders among multicomponent proteins and various gainers.

Domestic and many European brands do not inspire confidence, as do American manufacturers of a local scale. We do not recommend purchasing them. In case of shortage of funds for other options, it is better not to spend them.

How to distinguish a fake?

There are not so many objective ways to check the quality of a protein, as they say on the Internet. The only reliable way - the delivery of protein for laboratory analysis. However, not all laboratories perform this procedure. Also here it is important to exclude the juggling of the results: you must take the protein to a sample in a jar or container without mentioning the nutritional value of the product.

Various methods based on boiling protein or checking its weight are invalid and cannot be a criterion for determining fakes. Denaturation of whey and other "sports" protein should not occur when heated, as the production method eliminates this property. A striking example: dry cream. There is quite a lot of protein, but if you heat them up or pour boiling water, the protein will not curdle.

How to eat protein?

There are no immutable rules. Everything is quite simple: either after a meal, or between meals, that is, at any time. Mix it with water. The amount of water determines the thickness of the cocktail and the richness of its taste. Start from your taste preferences.

Casein for the night, the isolate immediately after the workout, the hydrolyzate before the workout, etc., are all marketing rules. Even the so-called carbohydrate window lasts almost 12 hours, not 30 minutes, as advertised. For the body it is important to get the right amount of nutrients and energy during the day and even weeks. It does not matter what time of the day you drink a portion of protein, the main thing is that the fact of reception will be.

Время приема протеина

Use protein so that it is convenient for you. If you want to eat after a workout, eat it and then wash it down with a protein shaker. If there is no hunger, then you do not need to forcibly drink protein. Do this later when the digestive tract with the enzyme system is ready.

Protein dosage

In the network a lot of misinformation about this. This is due to the fact that it is profitable for manufacturers that consumers drink a lot of protein and come for a new can as soon as possible.

No formulas based on a kilogram of body weight can be objective, since they do not take into account the percentage of human fat, that is, dry and not dry muscle mass. Use the standard rules of nutrition: the proportion of protein in a person's normal diet ranges from 15 to 25% of daily calories.

Example: 2000 kcal is the daily rate for maintaining the weight of our athlete. He consumes 2300 kcal to gain weight on the background of strength training. He needs to eat 575 kcal in the form of proteins (25% of 2300). The caloric value of 1 gram of protein is 4 kilocalories, therefore, 575/4 = 144 grams of protein per day.

144 grams of any protein per day, not just the indispensable (animal). It is necessary to consider vegetable protein from cereals and other products. Part or even the lion's share of this norm you can get from protein shakes. It's simple and easy, but costly from a financial point of view.

Conclusion: the daily need for protein and its dosage from the sportpit depends on your training goal and individual data, namely on the caloric content of the diet. Calculate it is not as difficult as it seems at first glance.

Stereotypes associated with the intake of protein

Protein does not grow muscle mass, we have already noted this fact at the beginning of the article. It only provides the body with the necessary plastic material. There is no regimen that will accelerate the weight gain process. You exercise regularly, sleep well, get your calorie intake and simply follow the influx of the minimum protein intake.

Excessive amounts of protein from supplements or food will not in any way speed muscle gain. You can supply a record number of bricks and other building materials for construction, but the building will not be built faster or better.

A single serving of protein is not limited to 25-40 grams. The stereotype arose due to the amount of protein in one serving of any protein supplement. If the body has a need for protein, for example, 120 grams, and you eat them all at once, it will assimilate them perfectly. There are many studies on this topic, and it is easy to find them.

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