The Scoop: Best Time of Day to Take Protein Powder

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What is the best time of day to take protein powder?

This is a question asked by many and has a simple answer: the best time to take protein varies based on your fitness goals. As a meal replacement, protein can be taken in between meals, in place of meals, or before bed. However, it is important to still be efficient at maintaining a balanced diet (grains, vegetables, dairy, fruits, etc.) throughout the day.

As a recovery agent from intense workouts, protein should be taken within a half hour after a workout, directly before bed, or both. Taking protein directly after a workout immediately feeds the muscle fibers that were exhausted. Fast acting proteins, such as whey, are best for taking directly after a workout since they enter your system fastest. However, most of your bodies recovery occurs during your sleep cycles, so taking protein immediately before sleep will allow for the protein to absorb in the body during these stages, which increases muscle recovery time greatly. One of the best proteins to take pre-sleep is casein protein, which has a very slow absorption rate.

What is the best kind of protein powder to take?

With all of the different kinds of protein powders available on the market, choosing the right one for you can be extremely confusing and stressful. The protein powder you choose depends on your health and fitness goals among many other factors, as well.

One of the most popular and used types of protein is whey protein. According to Mark G. Taylor’s article from Nutrition Express:

Whey protein is derived from milk. The protein portion of whole milk consists of 20% whey protein and 80% casein protein. Whey is by far the most popular type of protein used in protein powders. For most people, it’s the best all-around choice in terms of taste (it’s one of the best-tasting), quality (it’s the highest) and cost (it’s the most economical). Another unique benefit of whey protein, and one that is often overlooked, is that it enhances the immune system in several ways.

Whey protein comes in two varieties, whey concentrate and whey isolate. The advantages of each are:

Whey Concentrate: Whey concentrate is more economical per gram of protein. It has a low lactose level that is well tolerated by most lactose-sensitive people. It has trivial amounts of fat and carbs relative to your overall nutrient intake. Whey concentrate is typically the best-selling category of whey.

Whey Isolate: Whey isolate is virtually fat-free for those wishing to eliminate as much fat from their diet as possible. It is typically lactose free for those few individuals who are very sensitive to the low-lactose levels found in whey concentrate. Whey isolate tends to taste slightly better than whey concentrate too, yet its consistency is a little thinner, without the fat.

Whey protein products can be made from whey concentrate, whey isolate or a blend of both. Other types of protein are sometimes combined with whey proteins in products and are known as protein blends.

Learn more about more kinds of protein and their benefits from Mark G. Taylor over at his article “Choosing a Protein Powder” on Nutrition Express!