Whey Protein – Concentrate, Isolate, Hydrolysate?
So you decided you want to take your gym business a little bit more seriously. Amazing!!!
You opened up google and started typing Whey Protein but suddenly all these different types started popping up.
Concentrate? Isolate? Hydrolysate?
Let me just quickly start off with how they come into existence.
HOW IS IT MADE?
Whey Protein Powder is a by-product of cheese production. Enzymes are added so that the milk separates into liquid and coagulated part. The coagulated part is you future cheese and the liquid part is your whey protein that later gets dehydrated and used in food products or supplements. It not heavily processed however, only dried out. There are no chemical additives needed to make Whey Protein Powder.
WHAT IS GOOD ABOUT THEM?
They have quite a few pros:
- Different categories regarding quality, performance and specific needs
I am going to tap into the first Pro, which is “Affordable” because let’s face it…This is what it all comes down to if you are just discovering certain products. And, to be honest, this essentially reflects all the other aspects I mentioned before (Flavour, Different and specific needs that people might have)
WHY ARE THEY ALL DIFFERENT?
Whey can range from £12 ($16) per 1kg all the way to £50 ($65). The main reason in such a big difference in price is the type of processing.
- Concentrate: It’s the cheapest and It has the best flavour. The protein content is between 70% and 80%. The reason for the better flavour probably is the amount of Lactose (Milk Sugar) and Fat. Everyone who has ever cooked in their life will tell you that Fat is the carrier of flavour. However, there are individuals who cannot digest Lactose properly (Lactose Intolerant) and this protein may cause them more damage than good. Also, people who are a little more worried about calorie intake might not want to choose this type due to the higher Carbohydrate and Fat content. It all comes down to reading the label however. From my experience, Concentrate’s energy value could be as low as 90kcal. It also has a lot of other beneficial nutrients and Amino Acids (components we need in our diet in order to function properly).
- Isolate: This is the type that most case studies used to determine the effects of protein on muscles. The reason for this is the fact that Isolate is a lot higher (90%) in the actual protein content. That means less Lactose and Fat. It is favoured by athletes who are strict with their calorie intake and are only interested in the additional protein content. However, I am not trying to say that it is only meant for elite athletes though. Anyone who is fairly serious about gym (or any type of exercise) can massively benefit from this type of protein. You can get over 30g in one serving which can be quite challenging with traditional food. Just to understand, you would have to eat a whole chicken breast to achieve this and obviously you wouldn’t just eat a chicken breast on its own. You would get potatoes, rice, salad or whatever you like and that would increase the number of calories you are consuming, so If you are more interested in ingesting just extra protein, Isolate is definitely a great choice.
- Hydrolysed Whey Protein: As the name suggests, this type is made through a process called hydrolysis which basically means that a bigger molecule is broken down into a smaller molecule in the presence of water. In protein supplements world, this means that the complex protein chain has been broken into smaller segments. And why is this done? The smaller the chain, the easier it is for our body to absorb it. This is also sometimes called “pre-digestion” which, to be fair, doesn’t sound very appetizing. But don’t worry. Nobody is pre-chewing your protein 🙂 It is actually considered to be the highest possible quality. It has been developed to be used mainly post-workout to deliver the protein to the recovering muscles as quickly as possible and start the repair. All this obviously suggests that It’s the most beneficial for athletes. The pricing also starts at about £50 ($65) per 1kg.
SO WHICH ONE SHOULD I BUY?
Well, that’s where you have to make your own choice.
Are you just starting out with fitness and supplements?
Get yourself a Concentrate.
- Won’t break the bank
- Good biological value (all essential Amino Acids)
- Great variety of flavours to choose from
Are you a little bit more serious? Maybe go to the gym 4+ times a week?
- Isolate might be a good idea to try out
- Not as expensive as Hydrolysed Protein
- Great protein content
Are you an elite athlete?
- Good chances are that you are not because they know all this stuff and they don’t need me to tell them 🙂
I go to the gym 4+ times a week. Not 100% of my sessions are insanely heavy though. I don’t overload my upper body because it really gets in the middle of me and my job if I do. My leg sessions are fairly heavy but I do not go to the point where injury is possible. I don’t use spotters or belts, If I cannot lift something on my own I simply don’t do it. Instead of a big load I try to rest as little as possible (usually 45s) between sets.
My protein of choice has always been Whey Concentrate. I have found it more than adequate to my needs. Right now I am going through a little bit of a dilemma because as the time goes I dislike the Argicultural Industry more and more so I have stopped buying cow’s milk. I still eat cheese but I am not particularly happy about it. I will most likely switch to Soy Protein in the future completely because of this issue but this is entirely my opinion and concern. You should be able to pick whichever protein powder suits you the best and I sincerely hope this article helped a little.
Last thing I would like to tap in, just really quickly, is the Flavours. You can find hundreds of different ones all across the internet. There are thousands of companies selling protein powder now and the flavours are incredibly versatile. When I started working out, It was your typical Vanilla, Strawberry and Chocolate (I do consider myself a bit of a chocolate protein powder expert because I must have tried them all but this one HERE is without a doubt my favourite:))
This Vanilla one HERE is absolutely amazing for baking!!! I have made a decent amount of very popular mini doughnuts from this one 🙂
One quick thing with the funky flavours. You can find Coffee, Cheesecake, Rocky Road, Salted Caramel, Rolly Polly, Millionaire Shortbread and whatever else you can think of. If I can offer a little advice, check the ingredients. All these flavours mentioned above are not exactly natural so you might find some additives and everyone has a different attitude towards them. I, personally, am not a big fan of them because it means my protein has been processed a lot more. I find the basic flavours perfectly fine, chocolate being very rewarding. It usually contains only cacao powder and some sweeteners.
As far as I know, firms that make protein powders, don’t use chemicals like aspartame to sweeten their products but I would always keep an eye out for these. They are chemicals that haven’t been explored much and there are some concerns that they may be linked to chronic disease.
All in all, Protein Powder (whichever you choose) is a great supplement and It is not only tied to athletes. They are affordable and they do make the progress of muscle growth a bit quicker. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing defined muscles on your body as a result of a hard work.