I want to include protein supplements in my diet. How do I choose the best one?

With a wide range of protein supplements available, it can get confusing to decide which one to go for. Here are some pointers:

The protein quality is based on the following parameters, which will tell us how well the protein will get absorbed in our body:

Biological Value: The BV score should be around 100 – the closer it is to 100 the better is its bioavailability.

Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score: PDCAAS ranges between 0 and 1; the score should be closer to 1.

Amino acid profile: A complete protein has all essential amino acids. 

Below are common protein sources and their quality parameters:

Whey protein has a BV of 104, PDCAAS of 1 and a complete amino acid profile. It’s great in terms of protein quality, but heating whey will negate its benefits. So make sure you get undenatured whey protein. Avoid whey isolate because its process involves heating of whey. Do not use more than 4 tbsp of whey in a day as more than that can contribute to inflammation in body.

Casein protein has biological value of 77, PDCAAS of 1 and complete amino acid profile. But t it tends to instigate allergic reaction and it increases autoimmune response in the body (increasing the risk to many major diseases).

Eggs have biological value of 100 and PDCAAS score of 1 with a complete amino acid profile. The processed version of eggs found in protein supplements are not that great as the B vitamins, choline and omega-3s get destroyed. It’s best to have free-range pastured eggs.

Pea protein has a biological value of 65, PDCAAS 0.89 and incomplete amino acid profile. This would a good source of protein for vegans. Along with the right fats, pea protein can be beneficial for heart health too. The drawback:  it has phytic acid, which blocks absorption of minerals and lectins, which increases gut inflammation if you’re sensitive to lentils. 

Soy protein has a biological value of 74, PDCAAS of 0.98 and complete amino acid profile. This may look good but soy could be the worst source. It is genetically modified, and messes up the delicate balance of thyroid hormones, male and female hormones. Soy also has anti-nutritional factors like phytic and lectins.

Please consult a physician before taking supplements.

Rashi Chowdhary is a nutritionist, diabetes educator and creator of The Protein Bake Shop. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.