There are a variety of protein powders on the market today that serve a range of purposes for people seeking unique health benefits. Some protein powders are excellent for building muscle, while others are better for weight loss. Some are suitable for people with dietary restrictions who need supplements to meet their protein needs. Older individuals, those with illnesses, vegans, and vegetarians all may require supplementation. Most sources of protein powder are vegan-friendly, though there are a few that consist of animal products.
Typically, protein powder comes in three forms: hydrolysates, concentrates, and isolates. Protein hydrolysates are the product of hydrolysis; the breakdown of the bonds between the amino acids that make up protein, caused by acids and enzymes, creates this form. Because the amino acids are smaller, the body can absorb hydrolysates more quickly. The production of protein concentrates uses heat and acids to extract protein from actual food. Protein concentrates are typically between 60 to 80 percent protein, with the rest being fats and carbs. Isolates have a similar production process, though there is an additional filtering step to remove a large portion of the fats and carbs, allowing for a product that is almost purely protein.
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