Protein powder vs Meat

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 04, 2012 at 2:02 PM

I had a long talk with a pretty knowledgeable guy at a Vitamin Shoppe a couple days ago and we got to talking about protein powders and the difference between fast absorbing proteins and slow absorbing proteins.

He mentioned how whey gets absorbed rather quickly, and casein gets absorbed at a much slower rate. So people looking to bulk up take whey protein right after working out. I am on the fence about whether I should be eating any protein powder because I would rather just be eating the whole foods, but it got me wondering if there are any whole foods that supply protein that absorbs as quickly as the powders do. I got the impression that if you want to build muscle (I do), then taking a fast-absorbing protein immediately after the workout can help out a lot.

He also mentioned that fat combined with protein will slow down the protein's absorption rate. So what lean whole food sources of fast-absorbing protein are there? I'm just at a bit off a loss for how to sift through all this info and come out with a good plan for post workout protein. Is the best option whey protein? Egg whites? Lean meat? Does it need to be lean?

Any thoughtful input is appreciated.

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on November 04, 2012
at 05:41 PM

To make things more confusing, the carb-backloading lifters generally ignore whey and go for BCAA before lifting and then a normal meal with a safe starch after lifting.

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6 Answers


on November 04, 2012
at 10:19 PM

Yes, fat does slow the absorption of protein, and whey powders absorb very quickly. (So quickly, in fact, that they, like fast-absorbing sugars, can impact your insulin response more than some people would like.) If you consume dairy, one possibility I'd recommend is to have nonfat Greek yogurt right after your workout. Whether running or lifting, I usually have nonfat, plain Greek yogurt with some fresh or dried berries and a pinch of salt. (The carbs help with the protein absorption, and the salt helps to deliver the carbohydrate quickly to where it is needed, i.e. to replace lost glycogen in muscle.) Works for me!



on November 27, 2012
at 08:17 PM

I add coconut oil, macadamia nut oil, and a bit of glucomannan to my whey shakes to slow down the absorption and minimize the insulin response while maintaining the convenience. The added oils also help in testosterone production.



on November 27, 2012
at 08:13 PM

You can eat some hard boiled eggs after your workout if you want a portable, quick and Paleo way to get fast acting protein.

I personally keep my whey because, well, some things are just hard to give up. Double chocolate whey after a good workout? Yummmm


on November 27, 2012
at 08:04 PM

I have debated this too. I am looking to bulk up a little too. Protein powders have been working for me compared to lean meats, so I have decided that I'm just going to stick to them. Why change something that works? I've been slightly torn because they're not exactly whole foods but they sure are convenient. My favorite quickly digestible protein powder is a ISO 100 by dymatize. It's a hydrolyzed whey protein isolate aka it is pre-broken down so your body can use it faster. It doesn't have any added sugars and it has a nice amino acid profile. I take it post work out and occasionally mix it with some fruit.

I'm new to paleo and this is one thing I haven't been able to give up, although I'm still debating it. I would love some feedback on what you think about it.


on November 04, 2012
at 08:08 PM

Liquid protein absorbs faster than solid food. So if you want to avoid dairy you should go with egg white protein to build muscle. Only problem is it gets kinda clumpy and doesn't taste very good since it doesn't with sugar. In the past I had egg white protein with fruit smoothies but I am switching to vegetable smoothies in the future to avoid insulin.


on November 04, 2012
at 05:18 PM


Personally i like the convenience of whey but You can save your money.

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