The Different Forms of Whey Protein And What’s Best For You

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What is Whey Protein?

Whey protein is the gold standard for protein because it is high in protein per portion, low in carbs, fat, and loaded with all the essential amino acids as well as high levels of BCAAs. Its absorption rate is high, so your body can use it to aid in muscle growth and recovery.

This doesn’t mean that whey should be your only option for protein or that other options are inferior. Whey is dairy-based. It could also be a problem if you have a milk allergy. Some whey products might not be a problem if you are lactose intolerant, as you will see.

Whey protein is a great option if you are looking for an affordable and convenient way to increase your protein intake.

How is Whey Protein made?

Whey is made from milk and is a by-product of cheese-making. Enzymes are added to milk to make it a block of cheese. The liquid is separated into curds and liquid. The liquid that remains is pure protein and becomes whey.

Understanding the process of making whey will help you understand why there are three types of whey: whey isolate, whey proteins concentrate and whey hydrolysate.

The final product will not change much if it is processed and filtered more.

There are many benefits to eating fish, and some protein is more expensive than others. But most of this marketing hype is simply hype.

Whey Protein Concentrate

Whey protein concentrate can be described as the most basic form. It doesn’t necessarily mean it is bad. However, there are regulations that allow whey protein concentrate to have a wide variety of purity.

A product labeled “concentrate” by law means it can contain anywhere from 35 to 80 percent protein per weight.

If you are concerned about how much protein you’re absorbing and using, this is an important point. Another way to put it, 100g of protein powder can be called concentrated if between 35-80 grams is protein.

This is a large range and third-party certification is essential. It’s difficult to determine how much protein you are actually receiving if you don’t have anyone validating the label accuracy.

Whey protein concentrate can be a good choice for most people if the label is correct.

However, there are some limitations to this method, such as the need to take into account smaller details, like carbs and fats in your protein.

Here’s an example of how whey concentrates are made: Imagine liquid whey falling from a conveyor belt into bucket. The liquid is then filtered to remove impurities and dehydrated. Finally, it’s made into a powder. Flavor it, and you have delicious whey protein!

Whey concentrate is a quick and easy way to get protein supplementation.

Whey Protein Isolate

Legally speaking, Whey protein isolate gives you a bit more assurance about the purity and quality of your protein. This is because “whey protein isolated” means, unless the supplement provider lies (which unfortunately does happen), that your protein must contain at least 90 percent protein by mass.

If you take 100 grams of protein and add it to the 100-gram example above, you’ll get a minimum of 90g protein.

Many supplement companies claim that their isolates have more purity. They will use marketing techniques to boast about their filtration process. Each method filters out different-sized particles, which will help you get a “cleaner” version of your whey.

This doesn’t mean that these isolates don’t offer minor advantages (for instance, most isolates contain less than 1% lactose), however, whey isolates are defined by their protein content and not by filtering.

Whey protein isolate is more expensive than concentrates due to the higher level of filtration and guarantee of protein by whey. Whey protein isolate will contain fewer carbs, less fat and virtually no lactose. Whey protein isolate has a higher solubility which makes it easier for you to mix and makes your drink more “smooth”.

Whey Protein Hydrolysate

Whey protein hydrolysate is not a concentrate or isolate. It goes through a completely different process.

Hydrolysate refers to a protein that has been treated with enzymes or acids to reduce its particle size and “quaternary structure” (Which is quite a mouthful but it means bioactive immunoglobulins are removed, which can support immune function).

Hydrolysis in dietary proteins is a result of a need to make baby formulas less allergenic.

Research has shown that whey proteins hydrolysates absorb faster than concentrates or isolates. Hydrolysates do not require gastric digestion.

Hydrolysates are also known to accelerate muscle protein synthesis (MPS), which is faster than other forms. However, research shows it does not necessarily lead to more muscle.

total daily proteins are more important to muscle growth than speedy protein digestion. It is more important to concentrate on how much protein you consume per day than how fast it’s absorbed if you want to gain muscle or lose fat.

There are some downsides to the speed of digestion. Whey hydrolysates are more bitter than other milk products because the amino acids proline, and leucine have been removed from a protein structure. This means that it will hit your taste buds differently.

Whey protein hydrolysate also happens to be the most expensive type of protein.

What about soy protein?

Although soy protein is not a variant of whey protein, it is often compared and criticised when compared with the popular dairy protein.

Phytoestrogens found in soy protein are the main cause of concern and fear. Many people worry that these phytoestrogens may lower testosterone and cause muscle loss.

The downsides of going the soy route are minimal if you do. All soy used in food products, except raw soy products like edamame, is heat-treated before being sold.

The heat treatment damages select enzymes in soy (such trypsin), and prevents you from digesting protein in your small intestine.

Soy proteins can also be processed in two similar ways to whey.

Manufacturers can leech soy protein concentrate with ethanol to neutralize pH. This removes most soy isoflavones from soybeans. They are no longer present in the ethanol.

This is a significant step as it indicates that soy concentrate supplements are extremely low in soybean isoflavones and therefore are not a concern.

Soy isolate isn’t required to leech ethanol, but it is possible that it may contain some isoflavones.

Let’s say you eat soy isoflavones every day. They are not too harmful to your fertility or health. However, soy has a hormonal effect. To have any hormonal disruption, you must eat a lot of soy protein, or an isolate, which is less common.

A soy protein shake per person would not be considered to be a significant amount of soy protein. Therefore, it’s best to avoid soy as a whey alternative.

This post was written by Darryl Johnson, Co-Owner of Apex performance. At Apex performance we are a community of highly trained experts looking to provide performance enhancement and a permanent lifestyle change for our clients in a fun and interactive environment. Members can take advantage of Youth Sports Training Tampa, one-on-one training, small group classes and specialized courses for a wide variety of athletics, sports training and body goals!