Whey Protein 101- The FundamentalsJul 20, 2016 | by: Team A8 Has anyone asked you: "What is whey protein?" And you try, but you come up empty? If that's the case, we will try to make this real simple for you. Consider this article as "Whey Protein Made Easy", or "Whey Protein 101".
What is Whey Protein?Whey is a by-product of cheese production. When making cheese, it splits into 2 parts - curd and whey. The curd portion is used to make the cheese. Whey can be used for what we are interested in - whey protein powders. And there are 3 major types of whey protein:
- Whey Protein Isolate (WPI). Usually 90% protein and above. Virtually lactose free, carbohydrate free, and fat free, this is an ideal choice for those who want to build and develop lean muscle. Also, whey isolate is a rich source of the amino acids you need for energy, growth, and health.
- Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC): 30% to 89% protein. The cheapest and most common type of whey protein. Low levels of fat and lactose. As protein concentrate is further processed and purified into whey isolate, it naturally loses its biologic activity, leading to less health-promoting compounds present.
- Whey Protein Hydrolysate (WPH): WPH is a product of hydrolysis, a process that helps break down food and chemicals needed for the body, it is considered to be the "pre-digested" form of whey protein. Regardless of the level of whey concentration, whey contains very large peptide structures that enzymes in your digestive system have to break down and reduce down to the size of peptides small enough for the body to use. This is where WPH comes in because speeds up the entire process.
What is Casein protein?It's a side point, but nonetheless very important when understanding what whey proteins are. Let's back up and consider even before cheese production - milk. Milk. Milk is comprised of 2 major protein forms - Whey and Casein. And milk (from cow) contains 20% whey and 80% casein. I think that's all you need to know as far as casein for now, since we don't need to delve into this completely different form of protein in this article. ( For more information see our Casein articles or our selection of casein protein )
Benefits of taking whey proteinWhey protein helps you gain lean muscle. A study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism stated that "whey protein supplementation during resistance training offers some benefit compared to resistance training alone." In addition, it concluded: "males who supplemented with whey protein had a greater relative gain in lean tissue mass." Whey protein gives you strength. Strength gains are associated with whey isolate supplementation compared to casein. Now, this was shown in another study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, which concluded that in "two groups of matched, resistance-trained males whey isolate provided significantly greater gains in strength, lean body mass, and a decrease in fat mass3 compared to supplementation with casein during an intense 10-week resistance-training program."
So...Which Type of Whey Protein Should You Get?It depends on your budget, goals, and any allergies you may have. Here are some scenarios and recommendations:
- You are lactose intolerant: Whey Protein Isolate.
- You are budget constraint: Whey Protein Concentrate.
- You are on a strict diet: Whey Protein Isolate.
- You want to take in health-promoting compounds without much processing: Whey Protein Concentrate.
- You're looking for a post-workout protein supplement: Whey Protein Hydrolysate or Whey Protein Isolate.
Recommended Whey Protein SupplementsWhey Protein Isolate: We recommend PVL ISO-GOLD - you can't go wrong with this high-quality product. And although $15 more expensive (as of August 2014), Allmax ISOFLEX is another whey protein isolate favored by many athletes. Whey Protein Concentrate: We suggest you to consider taking Allmax AllWhey with 3-stage nutrient delivery system. MUTANT WHEY is another great choice which actually contains whey isolate as well, and this supplement won't break the bank. Whey Protein Hydrolysate: We wholeheartedly recommend Power Crunch Proto Whey by BNRG. High quality ingredients and incredibly tasty flavors, we guarantee you won't regret taking this! Check out all our Protein Powders
Disclaimer: All information is generalized, presented for informational purposes only, not medical advice, and presented “as is” without warranty or guarantee of any kind. Readers are cautioned not to rely on this information as medical advice and to consult a qualified medical, dietary, fitness or other appropriate professional for their specific needs. This information has not been evaluated by the FTC, FDA or any other government agency and that this information is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.” The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of Active8 Nutrition, Inc.