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If you have ever visited a supplement shop or website then you will understand why some people find the experience of buying whey protein a little overwhelming.
Firstly you have to choose between the three different types of whey protein that you can buy:
- Whey protein concentrate
- Whey protein isolate
- Whey Protein Hydrolysate
However, even when you have got over this hurdle you then have to navigate your way through a maze of different brands, each claiming that their particular product is superior.
The first thing you have to realize when deciding on which whey protein to buy, is that no matter how fancy the label is, all whey protein is made with the exact same process.
That process is just four simple steps:
- Cows eat grass
- Cows produce Milk
- That milk is turned into cheese
- This process produces leftover whey, which is filtered and dried to obtain the whey protein
It’s that simple.
So the vast majority of marketing words that you see on protein packets like ‘hyper’, ‘super’ and ‘performance’ are just that, marketing.
However, that is not to say therefore that all protein powders are the same, because whilst the process to create the raw whey protein is always the same, the way it is refined and produced can have a great impact on the final result.
What types of whey protein are available?
Lets look at the three major types of whey protein:
Whey Protein Concentrate WPC
Whey protein concentrate is the cheapest form of whey. It is whey protein that has been concentrated down to primarily protein, which is where the name comes from.
The concentration level of protein in WPC can range from 29% up to 89%, however most sold as supplements are in the range of 70 to 90%.
The higher the percentage of protein, the better.
Whey protein concentrate also tends to contain the highest levels of carbohydrates, which is part of the reason why it’s the cheapest form of whey protein.
Whey Protein Isolate WPI
WPI is more refined than WPC, generally containing 90% of more protein.
During the additional refining process more of the fat and lactose is removed which results in much lower levels of fats and carbs as well.
Whey Protein Hydrolysate WPH
The next step up from whey protein isolate is whey protein hydrolysate, which is created through several additional steps in the refining process.
The benefit of whey protein isolate is that it saves your body from having to hydrolyze the proteins before it can absorb them, which aids the digestion process and allows your body to utilize the protein faster.
The second benefit of whey protein hydrolysate is that you get a much bigger boost of insulin compared to WPC or WPI, which helps your body funnel more fuel into your muscles.
So which type of whey protein should you buy?
Well whey protein hydrolysate will give you the best results, but unless you are a peak performance athlete pushing the boundaries on a daily basis it’s probably a bit overkill.
A good whey protein concentrate or isolate will produce excellent results for the vast majority of people.
If you have the money, go for a whey protein isolate because they have higher protein levels and are lower in simple carbs.
If the budget is a bit tight this month though then there is nothing wrong with a good whey protein concentrate. Just look out for one with the highest protein content and lowest carbohydrate levels that you can find.
And remember, no matter how much you pay or how fancy the label is, all whey protein is made from the same stuff!