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Protein powder guide





Protein powder is one of the most popular supplements on the market and can contribute with a lot of positive aspects to strength training, regardless if the goal is weight loss or muscle growth.
There are several and different types of protein powders, all with different purposes and this article is written to cover the differences between the most used and popular types, to give knowledge about what to choose and when to use the different types, depending on the goal and purpose with the training.
When we speak about types of protein supplements, the most commonly used and most popular types are:
- Whey concentrate
- Whey isolate
- Whey hydrolyzed isolate
- Casein

Why use protein powder as a supplement?

Protein is the bricks that build our bodies. For being able to grow muscle tissue in a caloric surplus, or to maintain muscle mass during a caloric deficit, it is essential to have the needs of protein covered in the diet, which typically is 2-2,5 grams for every kilo bodyweight for people who do strength training and bodybuilding. In this context, supplementation with a protein product can be very relevant, as it is a protein source of high quality and contains a good amino acid profile. That means, that the products have a high amount of essential amino acids, which is the amino acids the body cannot produce on its own and has to come through the diet. It is absorbed quickly in the body, which is exactly what we want in our sources of protein. Specially whey protein is a fast acting protein source and is very beneficial to use after a session in the gym.
Right after a hard training session we want a stimulation of the protein synthesis to maximize muscle growth and recovery. At this moment, an increase in the speed of protein synthesis occurs, but also a breakdown of muscle protein, which means that if we do not feed the body some protein, we will quickly find ourselves being in a stage with negative muscle protein balance, which means that the body will break down muscle protein and this is not a good stage for muscle growth. That is why it is so important to have a fast acting and easy digestible protein source, so that we can ensure to be in a stage with a positive muscle protein balance and spiked protein synthesis to stimulate muscle growth and recovery, and not being a stage with a negative muscle protein balance.

In most protein powders you will also find a high level of leucine, which an essential amino acid that specifically has a stimulating effect on protein synthesis and also contributes to another good argument to use a protein supplement.
If you are in a period with your training where you want to grow and be in a caloric surplus but are having trouble with appetite, a protein supplement can be very beneficial as it does not contributes to a feeling of being full.
It is also a very clean source of protein, as the amount of fat and carbohydrates are very low and the quality and amount of protein is high. Protein also has its part if you on the other hand are trying to lose weight. Protein is the macro nutrient that the body uses the most energy on breaking down and digest and is also the macro nutrient that puts down hunger the most.


Which type of protein powder should be used?

As previously mentioned, there are several types of protein powders, that all has their different purposes. This part of the articles uncovers the variants and creates knowledge of which type that fits you and your needs best.


Whey concentrate, whey isolate & hydrolyzed whey isolate

The most commonly used type is whey protein, which is a fast acting protein source. There is three types of whey; Whey concentrate, whey isolate and hydrolyzed whey isolate.
Whey concentrate is probably the most commonly chosen and the cheapest one.
The difference between the three types is that whey concentrate has a higher amount of carbohydrates and fat and a slightly lower amount of protein than the others. You can hereby rank the three types according to quality, with hydrolyzed isolate in the top of the food chain with zero carbs and fat and the highest amount of protein, with whey isolate in the middle and concentrate at the bottom.

All the products are produced from the same source and it is in the process of filtration the product that the difference happens, as they are treated differently and that gives the differences in the quality and amounts of protein, carbs and fat.
With hydrolyzed isolate and whey isolate, lactose and fat are being filtrated to create a “clean” quality protein product.
So which one is for you?
It depends on your needs, goals and which period of your training you are in. For the common consumer, or for someone who is using a protein supplement in a growing phase, whey concentrate will do just fine.
Competing fitness athletes on strict diets with large caloric deficits, or other people with a very low bodyfat as a goal, or just people who wants their protein supplement to be of the highest quality with a minimum of fat and carbohydrates in it, the whey isolate or hydrolyzed isolate is what to prefer.

The pictures below shows two whey products from scitec. The green one is a whey isolate product and the red one is a whey concentrate. Below the two pictures, there is two other pictures that shows what the products contains pr. Serving (with a 5 gram higher serving in the concentrate) and the difference is not remarkable, but there is still a 25 kcal difference and the concentrate contains 2 grams of fat and the isolate 0. So if you have 2 or 3 servings every day, the 25 kcal difference pr. serving adds up during the week regarding to calories consumed and results in a smaller deficit. Below those two products, you will find a hydrolyzed isolate product that shows a higher amount of protein pr. Serving and 0 carbs and fat.
Therefore, if your goal is weight loss, low bodyfat or fitness competition, isolate or hydrolyzed is the way to go.




Casein protein is the opposit of whey. It is a slow acting and slow releasing source of protein, that gets released in the body slower over time as it takes longer time to digest than whey.
There can be major advantages in using casein as a supplement, the timing just have to be right, and you should not replace your post workout whey with casein, as it is slow acting. Casein is very relevant and has its place around bedtime, as it contributes to a slow release of protein during the night that ensures you optimal recovery and growth stimulation during the night.



A protein supplementation can for many fitness enthusiasts be very relevant, not only to ensure getting enough protein to create the results they want, but also to ensure a fast acting post workout protein source in order to create a positive muscle protein balance, spike the protein synthesis and not being in a negative muscle protein balance.
For most people a whey concentrate will do just fine, but if you are a competing fitness athlete, going through a weight loss or just want to minimize the amount of fat and carbohydrates in your protein supplement and get the highest quality, then a whey isolate or hydrolyzed isolate is the one to pick.
Casein protein is also very relevant to use and plays another part then whey and can be very beneficial with slow releasing protein during the night, to improve recovery and muscle growth at this point.

1 year ago
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