Do Protein Powders Work the Same Way for Men and Women?

Being healthy is, fortunately, the new trend. People are trying to pull their lives together now more than ever, mostly caused by social media serving us stories about other people being healthy and active. Physiologically speaking, women and men are far more similar than they are different, both genetically and in nutritional needs. Proteins are perhaps the essential nutrition segment when we talk about building muscle. 

When it comes to supplementation, there is always a lot of buzz around it, especially when related to women. In this article, we will discuss the differences in protein needs between biological sexes, what are the most suitable protein powder options available, and debunk a few major myths regarding protein powder consumption.

Why do we need protein powder?

The words “protein supplement” are used to make people think of bodybuilders trying to bulk up. Nowadays, this stereotype might have been true in the past. Not only that, but more and more women realize protein supplements for women can be helpful and sometimes even necessary for anyone who exercises. Proteins are building blocks of the muscles and are essential for muscle growth and recovery. 

Without them, exercise recovery takes much longer, and there are more fatigue and muscle soreness. Simply put, it gives the body the materials it needs to rebuild muscles after using them. To increase your protein intake, you will have to change your eating habits and include more protein-rich food such as meat and eggs into your diet. Protein powders are a great substitute if you don’t eat enough protein or just find it easier to drink a protein shake instead.

Difference between men and women

The most common concern of the majority of women is the fear of “getting bulky” by using protein powder. But thankfully, this fear is unfounded. Men’s ability to put on bulk is the result of two issues. Firstly, they are much bigger than women, and the second one is the higher production of testosterone. Testosterone is a hormone responsible for increased muscle mass. It is essential for muscle protein synthesis. As men produce a higher level of testosterone, it will naturally build more muscle. 

Women’s bodies also produce testosterone, but significantly less than men. As a result, women are physically incapable of “bulking up” like men, without hormone replacement or steroid use.  Since they don’t require as much protein as men, women don’t need to take large doses of protein powder to regrow muscles after physical activity. Muscles in women’s and men’s bodies are completely the same, build-out of the same amino acids. That means women don’t need a completely different type of protein than men-they simply need less amount.   

How to choose the best protein powder?

Keeping in mind that both need the same protein,  most protein powders are made the same. Women simply need to take smaller doses to reach their nutrient needs. If you are looking for an optimal women’s choice, look for low-calorie protein sources like whey isolate, soy, or pea. It is best to find those that exclude additional carbohydrate sources like potato or corn, with the added vitamins/minerals like calcium or iron. Regardless of your choice,  make sure you know how much protein is in each dose. It is essential to know how much of a protein you need to reach your goal. Generally, one dose of protein powder (a scoop) contains 20-30 grams of protein, which is approximately half of the recommended daily protein intake for women.

Myths about proteins

Even though the source of information is endless today, there are still a lot of popular myths people tend to believe. One of the most famous is that the use of protein will increase testosterone levels. Consumption of any protein source doesn’t interfere with testosterone levels unless consumed in huge doses. The second is the connection between protein powder use and working out. As it is true that your body will need more protein after you work your muscles out, even when you don’t, there is a minimal amount of protein your body will need every day, regardless of physical activity. For females, the lower limit is 56 grams of protein per day, and in this case, protein powders can act as a nutritional supplement to help your body stay healthy and fit.

Now that we’ve examined what protein is and why it is so important, you can see that it’s not just for bodybuilders or gym addicts, and certainly not for men only. Protein powders do work the same for men and women, and so every woman can fully enjoy the benefits of adding it to the diet.

Types of Protein Powder

1. Whey Protein

Milk is the source of whey protein. During the manufacturing of cheese, the liquid separates from the curds. Although it has a lot of protein, it also has lactose, a milk sugar that many people find difficult to digest.

Whey protein isolate has extremely little lactose compared to whey protein concentrate since much of this milk sugar is lost during processing.

Whey is quick to digest and abundant in branched-chain amino acids. (BCAAs). One of these BCAAs, leucine, is essential for aiding recovery following resistance and endurance training.

Amino acids are available for muscle protein synthesis (MPS), or the growth of new muscle, once they have been digested and absorbed into your bloodstream.

Whey protein can support athletes’ recovery after strenuous exercise and boost their muscles’ ability to respond to strength training. It can also help athletes gain and retain their muscular mass.

 Whey protein boosted MPS after resistance exercise by 31% more than soy protein and 122% more than casein protein. The dairy proteins milk, whey, and casein had a greater impact on MPS after exercise than soy protein.

A different, earlier 10-week trial, however, discovered that postmenopausal females responded to resistance exercise similarly whether they consumed whey protein or a placebo.

2. Casein Protein

Casein is a protein found in milk, just like whey. Casein is absorbed and processed much more slowly.

When casein and stomach acid mix, a gel is created that slows stomach emptying and delays the absorption of amino acids into the bloodstream.

Your muscles are exposed to amino acids more gradually and steadily as a result, which slows the rate of protein breakdown in your muscles.

Compared to soy and wheat proteins, casein may be somewhat more effective at boosting MPS and strength—but less so than whey protein. When taken before bed, it might also be a better protein supplement option.

Although casein may outperform whey in terms of improving body composition during resistance training when calories are restricted, one older study in overweight individuals offers this theory.

3. Egg Protein

Eggs have the greatest protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS), a metric used to assess the quality and digestibility of proteins, of all whole meals.

When coupled with fiber, eggs are one of the finest foods for reducing hunger and extending feelings of fullness.

However, egg whites rather than whole eggs are commonly used to make egg protein powders. Although the protein content is still excellent, the absence of high-fat yolks may cause you to feel less satisfied.

Eggs are a complete protein source, much like all other animal products. This means that they offer all nine of the essential amino acids, which your body cannot produce on its own.

Additionally, egg protein is the second-highest source of leucine, the BCAA that is most important for maintaining muscle health, after whey.

When eaten before a meal, it showed less appetite-suppressing potential than casein or pea protein in an earlier study.

Female athletes who consumed egg white protein had comparable increases in lean mass and muscle strength to those who consumed carbohydrate supplements.

For those who want an animal protein-based supplement but have dairy allergies, egg white protein can be an acceptable option.

4. Pea Protein

People who are vegetarians, vegans, or have dairy or egg allergies or sensitivities are particularly fond of pea protein powder.

It is made from the high-fiber yellow split pea. Despite having a relatively low amount of methionine, it also contains all nine necessary amino acids.

Pea protein is absorbed more quickly than casein but less quickly than whey protein. It may be comparable to dairy protein in terms of its capacity to cause the release of a number of fullness hormones.

When combined with 8 weeks of intense functional training, whey protein, and pea protein were equally beneficial in enhancing body composition, muscle thickness, workout performance, and strength.

5. Hemp Protein

Another increasingly popular plant-based supplement is hemp protein powder. Despite being related to cannabis, hemp only has minute levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, the intoxicating substance. (THC).

Hemp is a great source of necessary amino acids and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. However, because to the extremely low concentrations of the amino acids lysine and leucine, it is not regarded as a complete protein.

Hemp protein appears to be a well-digested plant protein source, despite the fact that there is very little research on it.

6. Brown Rice Protein

Although brown rice-based protein powders are not new, whey protein is still often regarded as being superior for developing muscle.

Despite having all nine essential amino acids, rice protein has insufficient amounts of lysine to qualify as a complete protein.

The effects of rice and whey protein powder on trained guys were compared in one study, which is the only one done on rice protein powder.

The 8-week study showed that when paired with a resistance training regimen, daily consumption of 0.8 ounces (oz), or 24 grams (g), of rice or whey protein led to comparable changes in body composition and performance.

However, greater analysis of the protein in brown rice is needed.

7. Mixed Plant Proteins

To give your body access to all nine essential amino acids, some protein powders combine a variety of plant sources. Protein combinations often consist of two or more of the following:

  • Brown rice – Whole grain rice that has just had its outermost coat, or the hull, removed is known as brown rice. Brown rice preserves the bran and germ layers, in contrast to white rice, which has been cooked to remove these nutrient-rich layers, making it a healthier and more nutrient-dense option.
  • Pea – Peas are a good source of protein, fiber, and a number of vitamins and minerals, including iron, folate, vitamin C, and vitamin K. They also include anti-inflammatory and antioxidant substances that may be healthy.
  • Hemp – Including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, hemp seeds are a great source of fiber, plant-based protein, and healthy fats. A good amount of iron, magnesium, vitamin E, and other vitamins and minerals can be found in them as well.
  • Alfafa – A good source of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals is alfalfa. In addition to vitamins A, C, and K, it is notably high in calcium, magnesium, and potassium. The alfalfa plant’s leaves and seeds are used in herbal medicine and are believed to offer a number of health advantages, including lowering inflammation and enhancing digestion.
  • Chia seeds – Small, oval-shaped chia seeds are produced by the Salvia hispanica plant, which is indigenous to Mexico and Guatemala. There are many vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and other nutrients in chia seeds.
  • Flax seeds – The flax plant, which is generally grown in milder climates around the world, produces tiny, brown or golden-colored seeds called flax seeds. Fiber, protein, healthy fats, and a number of vitamins and minerals can all be found in abundance in flax seeds.
  • Artichoke – Fiber, vitamins, and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and potassium are all found in abundance in artichokes. They are also rich in antioxidants and may offer health advantages including lowering cholesterol and enhancing digestion.
  • Quinoa – Protein, fiber, and a number of vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, iron, and zinc, can all be found in quinoa. Additionally, because it is gluten-free, it is a preferred option for those who have celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

Plant proteins often digest more slowly than animal proteins, in part because they include a lot of fiber. Although many people might not have an issue with this, it can restrict the amount of amino acids your body can use right away after exercise.

Young guys who had been resistance-trained were given 2.1 oz (60 g) of whey protein, a pea-rice protein blend, or a pea-rice blend with added enzymes to hasten digestion. When it came to how quickly amino acids arrived in the blood, the enzyme-added powder was comparable to whey protein.

Why Protein Powders Are Best?

All protein powders offer a concentrated amount of protein, but some varieties may work better to supply your body with what it needs.

For instance, whey protein is frequently suggested for muscle growth because it has been demonstrated to boost strength and muscle growth when used in conjunction with exercise.

While whey concentrate is less expensive than whey isolates, it has a lower protein content overall, which is something to bear in mind while looking for whey protein powder.

Protein powders produced from casein, whey, or a combination of the two are best if weight loss is your main concern.

Those looking for a protein powder to help them feel full between meals may find that casein, in particular, takes longer to digest and absorb.

Whey protein, on the other hand, has been shown in numerous trials to help with weight loss by reducing appetite.

Your dietary needs and tastes should be taken into consideration while choosing the best protein powder for you.

For instance, vegan protein powders made from plant-based ingredients like peas, flax seeds, hemp, or brown rice may be a viable choice for those who are allergic to dairy or who want to reduce their consumption of animal products.


Protein supplements can help both men and women gain muscle and speed up post-workout recovery in ways that are similar to each other. However, because women normally have less muscle mass than men do, there may be some variances in the specific protein requirements of men and women. Additionally, some women might favor protein powders that are specially made for them and may include extra minerals like calcium and iron.