Whey Protein Powder is the most popular form of protein powder which is sold in the UK, it is so popular due to its quick digesting properties coupled with its minimal levels of carbohydrates & fats. It also has a high content of Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA's). All of this makes it excellent for building, maintaining & repairing your muscles. Continuing research is going into the benefits of whey, it is now being looked at for its antioxidant-enhancing and immune-system enhancing properties. It is sold in 3 different forms:
The Whey stays the same thing, it is still a by-product left over after making cheese with milk. It's what happens between leaving the cheese factory and arriving on your doorstep is what gives it it's titles.
Step One - Concentrate It
Concentrated Whey is the cheapest and most plentiful form of whey protein. Concentrate essentially means that the liquid whey has been dried (dehydrated) just leaving a powder form. This powder contains around 80% protein (Absolute Protein will not sell protein powders less than 80% protein). As there is minimal processing the whey also retains its beneficial protein sub fractions with biologically active properties, including lactoferrin, lacto globulins, immunoglobulins, glycomacropeptides. This form of whey is excellent for everyday topping up of your protein needs as well as for taking after exercise to repair and maintain lean muscle mass.
Step Two - Isolate It
The 2 most popular ways of isolating whey protein are by micro-filtration and ion exchange, both isolation processes have been said to be considerably harsh to the extent that they can't really be certified organic. With micro-filtration the whey is passed through extremely fine filters to which only protein can pass through leaving fat & lactose behind, this is the most natural method. With ion exchange the amino acids (building blocks of protein) in the whey are charged and passed through another charge, the uncharged fat & lactose passes through leaving just pure protein behind. Both processes leave a powder behind which is at least 90% protein. As there is less fat & lactose, and the process about which the protein is obtained, isolated protein has less of the beneficial protein sub fractions mentioned above. Isolated products can be ideal for people with lactose intolerance as there is very little lactose in the product. They also good for people who just want pure protein without nutrients for muscle building and maintenance purposes.
Step 3 - Hydrolyse It
Hydrolysed products are obviously the most expensive form of whey due to the process they go through, they are pre-digested by enzymes so your stomach doesn't have to do much work at all. They have around 90-95% protein in them and because of the pre-digestion they are the fastest digesting of the 3. Like isolated whey this process removes a lot of the immune system boosting protein sub fractions contained within them. This type of whey is beneficial if you have gut issues which struggle to break down the protein or have certain allergies to the different aminos. Otherwise they are not any better than isolate, due to the pre-digestion they taste awful, trust us, we know!
Whey may be the most popular type of protein powder but it is not the only one. There are many different types of powder, all ideal for their own reasons and functionalities. Click below to find out more about what protein is and the different types of powder.