What exactly is Whey protein
It’s safe to say the majority of the population has heard of or at one point had a protein shake, chances are extremely high that the protein shake you consumed was a Whey protein shake, but what exactly is Whey Protein? And who should be consuming it? Let’s find out!
What is Whey Protein?
Whey itself is what a by-product of cheese making is. Once the milk has rennet added to it, it causes it to curdle and create curd lumps. Whatever is left over as liquid, is whey! The whey that is left over is full of protein and minerals and in original form, a lot of lactose, but most if not all Whey protein is delectated slightly or almost completely. This whey is then dried out and processed into powdered form where separation of the fat and lactose can happen to create different types of powdered whey. For example, powdered baby milk is almost all whey but has quite a lot of its lactose and fats left in for a baby’s development but those in the fitness industry are concerned with gains and gains need pure protein!
Types of Whey Protein
There is 3 main types of Whey Protein we have in the sports industry, Concentrate, Isolate and Hydrolysate. Let’s take a look at what are the differences.
Whey Protein Concentrate is commonly the most used type of Whey protein powder, it’s the lowest prices gram for gram compared to the 2 other sources as it generally has a lower protein content, usually between 60-80% but sometimes as high as 89%. It has the highest lactose (5-10%) and fat (1-3%) content out of the 3 sources too. The lactose and fats make concentrate shakes thicker and creamier when drinking too which a lot of people prefer.
Whey Protein Isolate has a higher protein content than Whey Concentrate and can be as high as 96%. It achieves this through an ultra-filtration process which filters out even more of the fat and lactose content from the original whey. A lot of people with minor lactose intolerances fine they can consume Whey Isolate due to its significantly lower lactose content. The lower fat and lactose content means that whey isolate has an increased absorption rate too, making it ideal for post training consumption.
Whey Protein Hydrolysate is the newest form of Whey Protein. Whey Hydrolysate is made by breaking down the protein molecules into even smaller molecules to allow them to be absorbed at the fastest rate currently possible, so for optimum absorption Whey Hydrolysate is the king of Whey.
Whey is almost completely made up of amino acids, especially whey that has little or no lactose and fats in it. This makes it high in BCAA’s and in turn can contribute to the growth and maintenance of lean muscle mass.
Protein itself is the building blocks of muscle, without sufficient protein intake, it’s impossible to build muscle and in some cases maintain the muscle you have built. If your main goal is hypertrophy of any kind, protein is essential to support this.
Protein itself as a macronutrient is the most satiating compared to carbs and fats calorie for calorie. Studies have also shown that protein shakes themselves can be highly satiating compared to whole meals, similar to a soup consumption effect.
Studies have shown that protein is needed post workout to maximize recovery and MPS (Muscle protein synthesis). Although the “anabolic window” is a bit exaggerated in terms of optimality consuming Protein post workout does yield the best results. Combine Whey Protein with carbohydrates and this is enhanced slightly more than protein alone post workout. How much? Between 3.5-5g of Leucine which is roughly 30-50g depending on your source of Whey Protein.
Whey protein also makes the ideal snack to keep Blood amino acid levels elevated during the day and also to make sure you hit your daily protein intake which can sometimes be hard. Either consume simply as a shake or combine with other healthy ingredients to make high protein snacks, desserts and baked treats. We have a vast amount of high protein recipes on The Zone so check them out and get creative in the kitchen!
How much protein per day?
This brings us onto the last question, how much protein in general should you be consuming a day? It totally depends on your goal but for most sports enthusiasts, 0.8-1g per lb of body weight is sufficient.
I hope you found this article insightful, please feel free to tweet me or leave a comment down below with your thoughts or other questions you might have!