Which Whey Protein Type Do You Need?
Whey protein is one of the most popular nutritional supplements among athletes. He is the undisputed king of proteins, and here’s why: whey proteins have the highest biological value of all proteins, which is a scientific way of saying they’re the fastest digesting, and best used, protein source in your body. Additionally, whey protein is loaded with Essential Amino Acids (EAAs) – including the three Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) that contain subcomponents (microfractions), all providing benefits above and beyond amino acids and elemental nitrogen.
But, as this type of protein is constantly becoming more refined, not all whey variations are the same. There are several processes that occur during the production of a protein supplement, and it is the degree of processing (filtration, hydrolysation and ion exchange etc) that ultimately differentiates one protein to the next.
Whey proteins are available as whey protein concentrates, isolates, and hydrolysates.
- Whey protein concentrate – is the most common and cheapest, it’s also the lowest quality. Composed of around 70-85% protein content, whey concentrate contains more fat and lactose, but is packed full of amino acids and whey peptides. It’s also cheaper than whey isolate and a good option for those trying to bulk or gain weight.
- Whey protein isolate – At around 90-98% pure protein, this is the purest form of whey protein. It contains less fat or lactose than whey protein concentrate, and also has a lower amino acid profile. A good choice for weightlifters who are watching their weight.
- Hydrolysed whey protein – This form is predigested in a laboratory setting, which gives it the advantage of being ready for immediate delivery to the muscles. With such a fast absorption rate, it is used during workout and post-workout.
- Whey protein blends – a blend will contain a mix of whey concentrates and whey isolates. This is a middle of the road option for those who are maintaining weight rather than bulking or cutting, and who want a quality supplement that’s also cost effective.
The primary differences among these forms are the method of processing and small differences in fat and lactose content, amino acid profiles, and ability to preserve glutamine residues.
All whey powders may improve muscle size, strength gains and recovery if you drink them after participating in strength training, but hydrolyzed whey increases amino acid availability to stimulate muscle protein synthesis more effectively.
Some will say that whey concentrate protein is better while others hold the contrary view that whey isolate protein is better. Most of these people are right in their own way. Depending on your needs or circumstances, whey concentrate protein may better. To another person, whey isolate protein may be all the he or she needs.