The Ultimate Whey Protein Guide
In this guide you will find out all the details about Whey Protein.
What is it, what are the different types available, their benefits and much more.
We've tried to cover all the relevant topics about this supplement so you can understand why it's so popular.
In the end, if you still have any doubts, just use the comments area.
So let's get started.
What is Whey Protein?
It is a milk protein, more precisely from whey and is obtained during the cheese making process.
Whey proteins make up about 20% of the protein content of animal milk, with the rest of the proteins being casein fractions (~80%).
The production of whey protein can be done through various filtration methods (microfiltration, ultrafiltration, etc.) depending on the desired protein content.
Once filtered, the protein is spray-dried to produce its desired powder form, after which it may undergo additional modifications by the manufacturers, such as flavoring, coloring, etc.
It is a complete protein source, which means that it contains all 9 essential amino acids, has a high biological value and a high concentration of BCAA's.
What are the different types of Whey Protein?
Concentrated Whey Protein
This is the cheapest and most common way.
It is produced by ultrafiltration of whey and normally offers protein concentrations between 70 and 80%, thus also bringing some carbohydrates (lactose) and fats.
Since the concentration of this protein is around 70-80%, it means that for every 100g we have an average of 70 to 80 grams of pure protein, which is a very good value.
Furthermore, it has a high amount of BCAA's and other essential amino acids and is quickly absorbed.
Isolated Whey Protein
The isolated form is basically an evolution of the concentrated version.
It can be produced using various filtration techniques and achieves protein values in the range of 85-95%, which is excellent.
In addition, due to greater filtration, the values of fat and carbohydrates are very low, reaching zero, eliminating lactose.
For example, in a protein with a concentration of 95%, we have 95g of high quality protein for every 100g.
Hydrolyzed Whey Protein
This is the latest production technique for this type of supplement.
It is produced through the enzymatic hydrolysis of concentrated and/or isolated Whey.
With this technique the protein is absorbed faster, as the peptide bonds are separated and digestion facilitated.
This is usually the most expensive way.
What are the benefits of Whey Protein?
Proteins are an essential macronutrient and play a crucial role in muscle development and maintenance, as well as many other physiological processes.
Simply put, amino acids are the building blocks of protein and proteins are the building blocks of muscle.
Furthermore, amino acids play an important role in maintaining a healthy immune system, cardiovascular function and brain metabolism.
Supplementing with protein brings many benefits, which come essentially from the biological function of essential amino acids.
Whey protein is a complete protein, with a high amount of L-Leucine, essential to stimulate protein synthesis, among other EAA'S.
Some of the reasons for using this type of supplement:
- Stimulates protein synthesis(3)(6)
- It is quickly absorbed/digested
- It's easy and convenient to use.
- Increases the anabolic response to resistance training(3)(2)
- It can work as an anti-catabolic during prolonged aerobic activities(2)
- Strengthens the immune system(5)
- Promotes fat loss(4)
- Helps maintain lean body mass(3)(4)
- Help with recovery (1)(2)
How does it compare to other types of protein?
The most popular way to determine the quality of a protein is through biological value.
The biological value of a protein refers to a practical measure that assesses the degree to which it is possible for us to use that protein.
Basically, the greater the biological value of a protein, the more effective it will be to use.
- Concentrated and isolated whey - Between 100 to 159
- complete egg - 100
- Milk - 91
- Egg white - 88
- Cottage cheese - 84
- Tuna – 83
- Chicken – 79
- Peanuts - 68
- Oat – 58
How and when to take Whey Protein?
The best time to take this supplement is undoubtedly before and after training, however, it can be used throughout the day when a quality protein source is required.
Example: Add protein to snack.
There is no universal figure for the amount to be taken per day, as this is always person-to-person and should be used as a way to meet daily protein requirements.
An article that addresses this topic in more detail is the The best times to take Whey.
What are the side effects of Whey Protein?
This supplement is usually well tolerated, however, in special cases it may occur:
- Intestinal bloating/discomfort
- Allergic Reactions
These problems usually arise when there is a food allergy (lactose) or when protein intake is too high.
If you experience intestinal discomfort with a concentrated Whey, try a whey isolate or supplement with added digestive enzymes to facilitate digestion.
How to choose a good Whey Protein supplement?
To choose a good Whey Protein supplement, the first step is always to look at the product label, analyzing the ingredients and nutritional value.
The supplement must have at least between 70 to 80% of protein, that is, between 70g to 80g of protein per 100g, and the ideal should be around 80% in the case of concentrate and 90% in the case of isolated.
If it is a mixture of several proteins, it should contain between 75% and 85% of protein.
Protein sources should always be concentrated, isolated or hydrolyzed Whey.
You can have just one of them or a mix, depending on what you're buying.
Another important point is to analyze the additions made by the mark and the aminogram.
If you see additions like glycine or taurine on the label, it's usually a bad product.
In the aminogram you should also look at the amounts of BCAA's (Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine).
A good Whey Protein brings at least 17g to 18g of BCAA's in the case of the concentrate, and 20-22g in the case of the isolated.
Furthermore, a good Whey Protein has low amounts of carbohydrates (5-10g/100g) and fats (4-8g/100g).
Here is our list of Best Whey Protein Supplements from the market.
Does Whey get fat? Does Whey lose weight?
To get fat, there must be an excess of calories, that is, we eat more calories per day than we consume, so it doesn't just depend on Whey.
A Whey Protein Shake has about 100 calories, making it very difficult for someone to get fat from these shakes.
For this to eventually happen, your diet would have to be very high in calories already, and your Whey would have increased even more, yet it wouldn't make a very significant contribution to your weight gain.
That said, using Whey Protein to gain muscle is a good idea as it will help to increase the protein content of the diet and the quality of the diet.
For those looking to lose weight, this supplement can be a good ally to maintain lean mass while eliminating fat.
What is the best Whey Protein supplement?
The best supplement is the one with the highest amount of quality protein, with the least amount of carbohydrates and fats.
Meetings on here our Top 10 Whey Supplements.
What is the worst Whey Protein supplement?
Products with a high amount of carbohydrates and low amounts of protein should be avoided.
Protein sources should be whey protein and not wheat and company proteins.
Techniques such as aminospiking are also not welcome. (See review 100% Whey Prime).
I'm lactose intolerant, can I use Whey Protein?
Yes, however you should use an isolated whey as its lactose content is very low or nil.
Concentrated Whey or Isolated Whey?
Concentrated Whey is the most economical whey supplement and is usually well tolerated.
Depending on the concentration of the powder, it is a excellent option for those who don't want to spend a lot of money and have a quality protein supplement.
As for disadvantages, it has a slightly lower bioavailability compared to isolated and a lower protein concentration.
It also has a little lactose and if you're intolerant it's not a good idea.
As for Whey Isolate, it has a very high bioavailability, is even easier to digest, is very low in fat/carbohydrates and has a very high protein concentration (+90%).
You can find our article here Isolated vs Concentrated Whey, is it worth the isolated?
Do I use water or milk to mix my shake?
You can use either water or milk, however, before and after training it is ideal to use water as milk will slow down protein digestion.
Also, don't forget that milk has a significant amount of sugar and some fat.
Should I use whey protein on non-training days?
It just depends on your diet.
If you can reach your daily protein values without resorting to Whey Protein, you don't necessarily need to use this supplement on non-training days.
If you can't get the daily protein you need, you can use it to get it even on days you don't train.
Whey Protein supplementation is very famous, and for obvious reasons.
It is an economical source of protein, with an excellent amino acid profile and very practical, making it very easy to reach the necessary daily protein values.
While it doesn't work miracles, its benefits are obvious, and if you're looking for your first supplement, a good Whey Protein is probably your best bet.
If you have any questions, use the comments area below!
(1) https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-5-S1-P6 (two) https://europepmc.org/article/med/20048505 (3) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23343671/ (4) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18371214/ (5) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25530736/ (6) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24257722/