Whey is one such protein that has received great interest from health researchers and its makers. Once considered ‘waste’ today, it is considered ‘pure gold’ for its multiple benefits. Let us understand what it is about and why it is always in the limelight.
What is whey?
Though whey originated before the 18th century, it was during the mid-20th century, with advancements in food processing technology, that the extraction and commercial production of whey protein began to take shape.
The supplement brands may practice very advanced manufacturing practices to produce whey. But ultimately, it is the byproduct of the cheese-making process. It is derived from milk and contains a mixture of proteins, lactose, minerals, vitamins, and trace amounts of fat.
In recent years, whey protein has become a mainstream nutritional supplement adults consume, including athletes, bodybuilders, and people pursuing general fitness goals. It is the holy grail for fitness freaks for its proven benefits:
- High Protein Content as it contains all the essential amino acids required by the body.
- High biological value as it is easily digested and absorbed, providing a rich source of amino acids for muscle repair and growth.
- Whey is rich in BCAAs, particularly leucine, vital in muscle protein synthesis.
- It is the ideal post-workout nutrition. It is rapidly absorbed by the body, quickly increasing blood amino acid levels and giving the body the nutrients it needs after intense workouts.
- Go for whey if you aim to lose weight. Whey protein has a completely high protein content. It helps reduce appetite, support weight loss or maintenance goals, and preserve lean muscle mass while losing body fat.
- They complement everyone’s hectic life for their versatility and easy availability. The best supplement brands make them available as powders, bars, and ready-to-drink shakes. They hardly require any preparation and can be consumed pre-or post-workout, as a meal replacement, or as a snack at your convenience.
- Besides these, some more benefits are:
- Better functioning of the immunity system
- Antioxidant properties
- Reduced risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. However, more research is needed to understand these effects fully.
Different kinds of whey
Whey is one supplement that the researchers and manufacturers have understood the most. The insight into consumer demand, dietary preferences, nutritional requirements, and the desire for differentiation among manufacturers drives the variety of whey protein in the market.
Today the best supplement brands offer various forms of whey protein, such as whey protein concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysate, with different levels of protein content and processing methods. These different kinds of whey allow individuals to find a whey protein product that suits their specific needs and preferences, making it more accessible and convenient for diverse consumers.
Though there are a few kinds of whey protein, the major two are whey Concentrate & Whey Isolate. These two kinds of whey protein are popular forms of whey protein. Here are the characteristics and benefits, along with their comparison. You may choose as per your preference and requirements:
- Protein Content
The protein content per serving of whey protein concentrate and isolate can vary depending on the product and brand. However, whey protein isolate (WPI) generally has a higher protein content per serving than whey protein concentrate (WPC).
Whey protein concentrate (WPC) typically contains around 70-80% protein per serving. A 100-gram serving of WPC would get approximately 70-80 grams of protein.
On the other hand, whey protein isolate (WPI) often contains 90% or more protein per serving. A 100-gram of WPI would provide around 90 grams or more of protein.
If higher protein content per serving is your point of consideration, then go with Whey Protein Isolate.
- Lactose Content
If you are lactose intolerant, then go with Isolate.
Depending on the specific product, the lactose content in WPC can range from around 4-8% or even slightly higher.
Whey protein isolate (WPI) undergoes additional processing steps to remove more lactose. It is common for WPI to have a lactose content of less than 1% or even lower, making it suitable for many individuals with lactose intolerance or sensitivity.
- Fat and Carbohydrate Content
WPC contains slightly more fat and carbohydrates compared to WPI. The additional processing steps in WPI production remove more fat and carbohydrates, producing a purer protein. If you are looking for low-fat and low carbs whey protein, go with Isolate.
If cost is a factor, you may opt for whey protein concentrate. The concentrate is generally less expensive compared to the isolate. The Isolate is costlier because of the additional processing steps involved.
- Taste and Texture
For some individuals, the taste and texture of their whey protein shake matter a lot. If you are also among those, then go with Whey Protein Concentrate. Here is why:
Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC):
- Taste: Whey protein concentrate often has a slightly milky or creamy taste. Some people find it pleasant and enjoy the subtle dairy flavor. Various brands may have additional flavorings or sweeteners added to enhance the taste.
- Texture: WPC usually has a slightly thicker and creamier texture than isolate. It can have a smooth consistency when mixed with liquids, making blending into shakes or smoothies easy.
Whey Protein Isolate (WPI):
- Taste: Isolate generally has a milder taste than concentrate due to the additional processing steps. Isolate has a more neutral taste profile.
- Texture: WPI often has a thinner and lighter texture compared to WPC. It mixes more easily and smoothly with liquids, resulting in a less dense and refreshing beverage.
Regarding taste and texture preferences it is each to their own. Some people may prefer to concentrate for the creamier texture and slight dairy taste, while others may prefer the milder taste and lighter texture of isolate.
In the market, you can find various options from top brands. They provide flavored versions of both concentrate and isolate to provide more variety and cater to different taste preferences.
The Final Takeaway:
Both concentrate and isolate whey have their plus points. It all comes to you and your fitness goals. You may choose any of them but remember to source it from only top-quality brands like IN2 Nutrition. With brands like IN2, you know every serving is of excellent quality with promising results.