Way back when, Bodybuilders and Athletes thought that that milk and eggs were the ultimate protein sources, but views have very much changed since the emergence of protein supplements, particularly whey protein. Nowadays, the powder form of whey protein in is considered the single most important of all bodybuilding supplements, as it contains an abundance of essential and branched chain amino acids, containing the highest known levels of any natural food source. These amino acids are great for bodybuilders as they assist in the growth of muscle tissue, strength and recovery. Therefore, it can help people increase their size, strength and recovery times after training.
Whey itself is made during the process of cheese making using cow’s milk. It is left over when cheese coagulates… the curds are then set before being cooked or piled on top of one another. They are then cut to release the whey. It is the collection of globular proteins isolated from the whey that are the protein. This whey protein will eventually be turned into a whey powder and this then becomes a protein supplement.
Whey protein can be split into 3 categories… Concentrate (WPC), Isolate (WPI) and Hydrolysate (WPH), although in many products you will only see the major whey proteins which are concentrate and isolate. Whey protein concentrate has the highest biological value, saying that, it generally has a lower level of protein than the isolate does. This is due to the isolate whey protein being processed further than the concentrate. The result is a purer protein with lower levels of lactose and fat. In fact, you will normally find that over 90% of whey protein isolate is protein compared to as little as 30% in whey protein concentrate.
When choosing which whey protein powder to use, it all depends what you wish to use it for. Bodybuilders tend to opt for the isolate as it has much lower fat levels. Lower lactose levels also help reduce that bloated feeling that some get from using whey. You should ideally take whey protein after your workout as quick sources of protein are required and it digests fairly rapidly. It comes at a cost though. Because of its higher quality of protein, isolates tend to be more expensive than concentrate. You will also have a number of different brands offering different products and so you may want to have a look at some online reviews before making your decision. You should always take dietary and medical conditions into consideration when choosing a whey protein powder. This is especially important if a person is lactose intolerant.