If you exercise on a regular basis, you are probably well-acquainted with the use and function of pre-workout and post-workout supplements . You probably also value health and nutrition. For many, a key supplement to their nutrition and health is protein.
In the world of protein, there are various options to consider, but one of the first decision points is whether to go for a whey protein isolate (WPI) or whey protein concentrate (WPC).
In order to make a decision, it’s important to understand the differences between these two forms of whey. But first, let’s see what is whey protein.
What Is Whey Protein?
Whey protein is the most popular dairy-based protein and the most regularly consumed supplement in the sport and fitness industry these days. It is derived from milk during the cheesemaking process. More precisely, it is the liquid portion of milk that separates from curds. So, if you have ever opened a container of yogurt and found liquid at the top – that’s exactly what whey is. What is known as protein powder is what that liquid becomes after filtering and drying. In fact, it is one of the two primary proteins found in milk (the second one being casein).
Whey is a complete protein as it contains all nine essential amino acids. If you are a beginner who’s still getting to know the world of proteins, you may be wondering whether it’s better to consume whey powder or food for building muscle.
The reason why this protein is recommended to athletes is to ensure they meet the daily protein intake required to increase muscle growth and recovery because when exercising, the body needs large amounts of this nutrient.
Whey Protein Isolate
The purest form of whey protein available on the market is high-qualitywhey protein isolate protein. The initial whey protein has been filtered to a high degree, thus removing impurities and concentrates. This leaves 100% pure, extremely lean and easily absorbed protein.
Wondering what are the benefits of whey isolate protein? First, WPI is so pure that it typically contains in excess of 90% protein by weight (ex. 25g protein per 30g scoop). Aside from being extremely high in protein content, this protein is also usually void of any carbohydrates, sugars, and fats. This makes it perfect for those on a diet looking at weight loss and those who want to keep an eye on the consumption of the mentioned components while still making sure that they hit the important protein numbers.
Whey protein isolate protein is also great for those who are lactose intolerant or want to avoid lactose. Most WPIs are inherently lactose-free and there’s no potential stomach discomfort from any lactose present.
Another benefit of supplementing with iso whey protein is that it allows for easy and quick absorption into the bloodstream. It is pre-digested and is already in small peptides. This, in turn, makes it extremely easy to absorb since minimal breakdown and processing are required. This makes it the perfect post-workout protein. The extremely fast amino acids release and assist in muscle growth and repair of damaged muscle tissue post-workout.
This protein is available in different brands. Each brand provides packages of different sizes and different flavours, such as chocolate, banana, strawberry, vanilla, etc. but there are also some naturally flavoured.
When should I take WPI? – you may ask. Well, since it is fast-digesting, it’s best to take it 30 minutes post-workout for maximum health benefits and muscle growth. Mix 2 scoops with 300ml of milk of choice or water, shake lightly, and enjoy it as a post-workout shake or snack.
Whey Protein Concentrate
During the processing of the liquid whey, there are several steps to increase the protein content. Once the whey has reached up to 80% protein, it is dried to form WPC powder. So, whey concentrate consists of 80% protein and 20% sugar (carbohydrates, lactose) and fat.
Due to the sugar that remains after processing, it contains more calories and tends to be naturally sweeter. Also, the lactose that is present can be responsible for stomach irritability for those who are lactose intolerant.
When it comes to the benefits this protein provides, they are almost the same as with the whey protein isolate – building and maintaining muscle, helping with weight loss, muscle recovery after a workout, being easily digested and rapidly absorbed. The only difference is that whey concentrate contains a higher content of sugar and fat, even though in certain brands this content is still pretty low. However, this makes this protein less expensive than WPI.
All in all, the percentage of protein can vary from 30% on the lower end of the quality and 80% on the high-quality end, depending on which protein concentrate you purchase. Just like WPI, WPC is available in different sizes and flavours, including chocolate, vanilla, caramel, cookies ‘n’ cream, and others.