Protein and its role in muscle development is well known among the public. This report is designed to give a deeper insight into protein supplements i.e., powders.

The association between exercising and consuming more protein is almost a natural process in terms of individuals changing their habits. Unfortunately, there are various types of proteins available and areas of concern to look out for when you are looking to supplement.

Firstly, regarding getting the most benefit from your new routine or simply creating a healthier lifestyle for yourself, one should identify what is the target or goal. This is needed as it will depend on the type of protein and what should be consumed alongside it.

This is largely affected by what your diet beliefs are, for example being vegetarian or vegan will affect the type of protein available. Each type of protein has its pros and cons. The science behind this can be overwhelming from a simple Google search, and the likelihood is you will stumble across information on something called an anabolic window or eating window. This refers to consuming protein to feed your body after training.

Role of protein within the human body

In the most basic sense, protein is a nutrient that, once it enters the body, undergoes digestion and is broken into amino acids (AA). These acids play a plethora of roles within the body, ranging from causing certain chemical reactions, to transporting nutrients, preventing illness and of course, building muscle. We are going to focus on the latter in that list.

There are many forms of protein available; some of the more notable ones are:


  • Typically seen as a fast-absorbing protein, roughly taking two hours to full absorb 20 grams of whey protein
  • The source of this type of protein is milk, that watery portion of milk that occurs from cheesemaking


  • The absorption of this protein is much slower and it can take up to seven hours to fully digest
  • Casein protein is found within milk itself


  • This type of protein is typically found in egg whites, but it is worth a mention as research has produced some interesting results with this protein. On a micronutrient level, this protein offers 6 to 8 grams of protein with only 70 calories
  • Because of the simplicity of this type of protein, the absorption rate is on par with whey protein

Plant protein

  • Plant protein is a generic term for a collection of different types of protein (pea, hemp, soy, etc). They do rate between whey and casein in terms of digestion, soy being on the slower side.

The idea of consuming protein is aiming for a complete protein or eating foods that complement each other in terms of nutrients. For example, hemp protein is considered a complete protein as it contains all nine essential amino acids. Additionally, of those nine essential amino acids, three of them have to be present to create protein synthesis. Those being leucine, isoleucine and valine. This rule is especially important for anyone who is on a restricted diet, such as only eating plant-based proteins, as this type of protein is generally lower in leucine compared to animal-based protein.

Application of this knowledge

Knowing how different proteins play different roles, you can start to understand the application of when the best time is to consume protein. As mentioned before in the introduction, it does not take much searching to find information about the anabolic window or eating window. The research surrounding this debate is vast, and if you do want to do your research, please use peer-reviewed studies from a reputable source.


A less talked-about point of supplements and general nutrients: it is often believed that if I consume this supplement of say 20 grams, my body will receive 20 grams into the pathways. Sadly, this is not the case; there are many variables as to why this occurs. In terms of supplements, it is most relatable to the quality of the ingredients and how much processing the supplement has undergone. It is worth mentioning that processing is needed to remove potentially harmful parts of the ingredient but also it can enhance certain parts.

Knowing the best bioavailable supplements for a certain product is nigh impossible due to many reasons. A general rule of thumb is that the best bioavailable protein comes from whole foods as our bodies are accustomed to consuming foods that do not supplement. With that said, it is perfectly viable to meet your nutrition needs via supplementation.


Following the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) report on protein daily allowance, it is recommended we should aim for 0.8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight. However, sports nutritionists may recommend other dosages.