Not Sure Which Protein To Use? No Worries, I Got You!

A common question is, “What is the best protein?” “I am overwhelmed and can’t decide what to get!”.

So I tell the potential customer to start with the basics. Factually, Muscle Shake, which is a combination of milk protein isolate, whey protein isolate, and micellar casein, is probably going to be your number one choice. And I back this statement up with this chart, the DIAA, which stands for digestible indispensable amino acid score.

I found a few different charts online.

Nothing surprising as your whey’s, milk, caseins, and eggs are at the top.

Therefore make sure that you are using these powders for bodybuilding purposes.

A few of side notes:

  1. Sorry vegans, but the PDCAA (which was the old scientific method to judge protein quality), cannot help your argument that vegetable proteins are better for muscle building than animal.
  2. Watch out for companies still marketing the PDCAA.
  3. Never use soy protein powder (still valid).
  4. take a look a hydrolyzed collagen (gelatin), DEAD LAST!! (never use hydrolyzed gelatin/collagen as a source of protein) And stay away from companies selling hydrolyzed collagen as a sports nutrition powder. It’s not, it’s for skin, nails, and joints.
  • The DIAAS methodology measures the protein quality of a food item by determining its amino acid (AA) concentration and AA digestibility at the end of the small intestine of humans, pigs, or rats, and comparing those values with human AA reference protein patterns established by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
  • Cereal grains and plant proteins, with the exception of soy proteins, are generally low-quality proteins with DIAAS values below 75, whereas, milk and meat proteins are “good” or “excellent” quality proteins that can complement low-quality proteins in mixed meals.
  • Processing may negatively affect protein quality and decrease DIAAS values; however, moderate heating and curing increases the DIAAS value of meat products.


Hannah Bailey has degrees in Animal Science from Iowa State University (B.S.) and the University of Illinois (M.S.). Her Master’s thesis was focused on determining DIAAS values for meat products. She is currently a Ph.D. research assistant at the University of Illinois, working under Hans H. Stein.

Hans H. Stein is a professor of Animal Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where he conducts research and provides outreach programs in the area of intestinal physiology and feed and food ingredient evaluation. He obtained a Ph.D. degree in monogastric nutrition from the University of Illinois, and he and his graduate students have determined DIAAS values in more than 60 food proteins. He can be contacted at [email protected].