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chocolate protein powder

The 5 Best Minimally Processed Protein Supplement Options

The countless hours of work and strain you put on your body have taken a toll, but there’s still miles to go in pursuit of your athletic ambition. So now you need a reliable protein supplement to help repair and build muscle tissues and help you recover, fast. 

The one problem? We all know eating whole foods is better than processed if you’re serious about achieving your athletic goals, yet most protein supplements are highly processed.  

The good news is that there are some types protein powders that are simpler, cleaner and less processed than others.

You have to keep in mind that not all products made with the common types of protein fit the bill, but here are 5 solid protein powder types you can explore:


1. Egg White Protein

We have to mention our Egg White Protein Isolate of course, as we developed it to be the least processed protein product we could possibly make. We use a unique but simple filtering technology to remove the sulphur from eggs so that the powder doesn’t have an eggy taste to it. This enables us to flavour it using just a few simple, natural ingredients like cocoa. The result is a chocolate milk-flavoured protein powder that provides a full amino acid profile and doesn’t taste like a science lab.

Egg white protein is highly digestible because it's the closest type of protein to real food, which makes it easier for your body to understand and utilize for muscle growth and repair, and reduces the likelihood of gastrointestinal discomfort, which is a common issue with other protein powders like whey.

Unless you have an egg allergy or don't consume animal-based products, you should experience no issues using Egg White Protein Isolate.


2. Whey Protein

While highly effective, whey protein can cause bloating and digestive issues due to its lactose content. Its taste can be somewhat chalky if not flavoured adequately, which some may not enjoy. Additionally, whey is rapidly digested, making it ideal for post-workout recovery but less suitable for sustained protein release.

Whey protein is derived from milk during the cheese-making process. When milk is curdled, whey is separated as a liquid byproduct. This liquid whey is then pasteurized and filtered to remove fats and carbohydrates, often using microfiltration or ultrafiltration techniques. The remaining whey protein is then dried to create a powder. Different processing methods can yield whey protein concentrate, isolate, or hydrolysate, each with varying protein content and levels of lactose and fat, allowing for customization based on dietary needs and performance goals.

Despite its benefits, whey protein can pose some risks, especially for those with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies. Consuming whey may lead to gastrointestinal issues such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea in individuals sensitive to lactose. Additionally, excessive intake of protein powders, including whey, can strain the kidneys, particularly in individuals with preexisting kidney conditions. It's also important to consider the potential for contamination with heavy metals or other impurities in some lower-quality protein powders, emphasizing the need for choosing reputable brands.


3. Casein Protein

This slow-digesting protein creates a feeling of fullness and is best consumed before bedtime to aid overnight recovery. However, its thick texture and potential to cause bloating make it less ideal for some athletes. Casein’s slow absorption rate provides a steady release of amino acids, making it excellent for prolonged muscle repair.

Casein protein is also sourced from milk but is distinct from whey. During cheese production, the casein in milk coagulates and forms a solid curd. This curd is then separated, washed, and dried into a powder form. Unlike whey, which is the liquid fraction of milk, casein is the main protein component in the curds. The resulting powder is highly concentrated and slow-digesting, providing a steady release of amino acids over several hours, making it ideal for sustained muscle repair and recovery, particularly during periods of fasting such as overnight.

The potential risks associated with casein protein include its ability to cause digestive discomfort in some individuals, especially those who are lactose intolerant or have a sensitivity to dairy proteins. The slow digestion rate of casein can also result in prolonged feelings of fullness, which might not be ideal for those who need quick digestion for energy. Additionally, like other dairy-based proteins, there is a risk of contaminants such as heavy metals or residues from pesticides used in animal feed, highlighting the importance of choosing high-quality, tested products.


4. Pea Protein

Pea protein, another popular plant-based option, has a mild taste and smooth texture, making it a versatile addition to various recipes. While not a complete protein on its own, it can be combined with other protein sources, like rice protein, to achieve a complete amino acid profile. Pea protein is generally well-tolerated and less likely to cause digestive issues compared to soy.

Pea protein is produced from yellow peas, a legume known for its high protein content. The process starts with drying the peas and milling them into a fine flour. This flour undergoes a separation process where the protein is extracted from the starch and fiber through wet milling, followed by filtration. The protein-rich liquid is then dried into a powder form. This method ensures that pea protein retains its amino acid profile while minimizing the presence of anti-nutrients that can affect digestion, making it a popular choice for vegetarians and vegans.

While pea protein is generally considered safe and well-tolerated, some potential risks include allergic reactions, particularly for individuals with legume allergies. Additionally, the natural presence of anti-nutrients like phytic acid in peas can inhibit the absorption of certain minerals, although these are usually reduced during processing. There is also a possibility of contamination with heavy metals or pesticides, particularly if the peas are sourced from regions with less stringent agricultural controls, so it’s crucial to select high-quality products from reputable sources.


5. Hemp Protein

Hemp protein is celebrated for its subtle, nutty flavor that adds a pleasant taste to shakes and smoothies without overpowering other ingredients. It’s easily digestible, thanks to its natural fiber content, which helps reduce the risk of bloating and gastrointestinal discomfort often associated with other protein powders like whey or casein. Hemp protein is also hypoallergenic and suitable for those with sensitivities to dairy or soy, making it a versatile and gentle option for a wide range of dietary needs.

Hemp protein is made from the seeds of the hemp plant, a variety of Cannabis sativa that contains negligible amounts of THC. The seeds are first cleaned and then pressed to remove the oil, leaving behind a protein-rich meal. This meal is ground into a fine powder, and sometimes further processed to increase the protein content by removing more of the fiber and fats. The production process preserves the seeds' nutritional benefits, including essential fatty acids and a complete amino acid profile, making hemp protein an excellent plant-based alternative.

Potential risks associated with hemp protein are minimal but may include mild gastrointestinal issues such as bloating or gas due to its high fiber content. While hemp protein is generally safe, it is important for consumers to ensure their product is sourced from a reliable manufacturer to avoid contamination with THC or other unwanted substances. Additionally, individuals with a sensitivity to high-fiber foods may need to start with smaller doses to gauge their tolerance. It’s also worth noting that hemp protein, like all plant-based proteins, can have lower bioavailability compared to animal proteins, meaning that larger amounts may be needed to achieve the same protein intake.


Finding what protein option is best for you will of course take some more research on your end. While you’re searching, learn how we created the minimally-processed Egg White Protein Isolate.




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