If you’ve ever found yourself in the isle of a nutrition store, overwhelmed by the sheer volume of whey protein supplements available, you’re not alone. The most common question fielded during my nutritional consultations always pertains to whey proteins, as well as the specific differences between the various types of whey proteins available. The answer is simply ingredients and quality.
Whey protein is derived from either milk or cheese. A common misconception is that all whey protein powders are made exclusively from milk alone. This is true regarding the higher grades of whey protein which include whey protein isolate and hydrolyzed whey protein isolate. Of which, the hydrolyzed whey isolate stands alone in terms of optimal absorption and purity followed second by whey isolate. Whey concentrate rounds out the bottom of the list and is formulated mainly from cheese. Now that we know all whey protein originates from dairy we’ll delve into the process and production of these whey proteins from the cow to the container.
Milk is comprised of both casein and whey. Once these two components are separated they whey can be filtered to remove lactose (sugar) and lypids (fat). This first phase of induction leaves us with whe concentrate. This would suffice if whey concentrate were the desired product However, we want to keep our bodies optimally primed for hypertrophy (muscle growth) and this growth fuled by recover is more attainable with whey protein isolates.
The next step in formulating whey isolates involves filtering the dried whey concentrate powder using methods such as cross-flow micro filtration, micro filtration, or cold filtering. The culmination of these forms of filtration remove impurities as well as larger molecules in turn leaving us with whey isolate. The ried whey isolate can yet futher advance to hydrolyzed whey protein isolate. This transference via chemical hydroxylation breaks the whye molecules into even smaller pieces. This final phase of hydroxylation renders us the pinnacle of protein powders, hydrolyzed whey protein isolate.
Finally, the powders are shipped to companies that add in their own ingredients such as enzymes, peptides, vitamin and mineral mixes, as well as flavorings before sealing them. Then they label it to their likeness to be displayed on the shelves of vendors.
Now that we can substantiate between the three types of whey proteins as well as the various methods used in their manufacturing. The next step in “choosing your own whey” is deciphering the lavels to determine the quality or inequality of a product. Unless you are well versed in pharmacology, the dizzying array of chemicals listed in the nutrition facts panel can leave your head swimming. Rather than understanding what all of he ingredients are and how they play a role in the supplement as a whole , let’s keep it simple.
Starting with the ingredients, the first thing to be listed should be whey protein isolate or hydrolyzed whey protein isolate. If either one of these protein isolates are not disclosed in the products contents it should be deemed lesser grade of protein. Another important detail to seek out is the listing of micro factions, such as, alpha lactobumim, beta lactobumin, glycomacro peptides, immonoglobulins, lactoferrin, as well as any other growth factors. Make sure it has an entailed profile panel that states which amino acids are contained in the protein. It should contain leucine, glutamine, valine, isoleucine, and arginine.
Last but not least, determine the percentage of protein per scoop. A high quality protein powder consists of 90% or more protein per scoop. For instance, if one scoop contains 30 grams of powder weight, we need to see 27 grams of protein or better. If so, you have a high grade of protein. Anything less is just good.
These are some basics to help keep you abreast on the many differences in the whey powders. If a protein powder tastes like a dessert or milkshake, that’s exactly what it is!!! Sure, they contain whey but they are more like snacks than protein supplementation. Use these products as treats, just don’t forget to treat yourself.
The Prescription Nutrition Team
“Prescribe Your Own Health”