A whey protein powder is an excellent way to get the protein you need each day. They are very convenient and tasty with a wide variety of flavors and are easy to add to your daily routine if required. But whey supplements come in many different forms and flavors today, making it difficult to decide which product is right for you. How do you determine what is suitable for your diet?
You’ll need to know the answer to a few questions before you make your purchase: How many servings will I take per day? Which flavors do I want, and how much protein is in each serving? Is this product lactose-free or soy-free for those with allergies or sensitivities? Do I want a product with other added ingredients such as creatine or glutamine? Those are some of the things you need to know before making an order for whey protein.
This article will help make some of those decisions easier for you by explaining what each type of whey protein supplement is and how to get the most out of your purchase. Here are the different types of products available and what they offer:
Pure Whey Protein: This type of whey protein is 100% pure under USP (U.S. Pharmacopeia) guidelines or similar to European Pharmacopoeia. Most are made from cow’s milk, but some vegan varieties are available as well. It is the most basic and straightforward form of whey protein concentrate powder with minimal processing. This makes it easy to mix and absorb in your body. Pure whey protein isolate, which is highly refined, with as little lactose and fat as possible, is the next purity level above concentrate.
Whey Protein Concentrate: This powder type may still have some lactose or fat depending on how much processing went into the product. This makes it slightly less pure than isolate, but not by much. Whey protein concentrate will have a higher calorie content and more fat and lactose than whey protein isolate. If you will be using your whey powder as a meal replacement or you have dietary restrictions, this may not be the best choice for you.
Whey Protein Isolate: This is the purest form of whey protein available today and has been used in research studies on its own or combined with other nutrients to help reduce fat and gain muscle mass. It contains more than 90% protein by weight and less than 0.5% fat, lactose, sugar, or other non-protein elements. A single scoop will cost a little more than regular concentrate, but the higher purity and calorie content makes it worth the price.
Whey Protein Hydrolysate: This is one of the most advanced forms of whey protein available today. It has been partially predigested to make it quicker and easier to absorb by your body. This type of protein also benefits lactose intolerant because it predigested the most, making its valuable contents available to absorption faster and easier than regular concentrate or isolate.
Whey Peptides: These are another type of advanced whey protein product that has broken down to form longer chain peptides of whey protein. These are chains of specific amino acids which your body can use more easily and quickly than regular pure whey protein because they have been predigested for you.
The Best Way to Use Whey Protein Supplements
No matter which type of product you choose, the best thing to remember is that they are supplements. They will not replace the foods you need to be eating each day in the right portions, but they can give you a convenient and tasty way to get some extra protein each day if required. It is always better to use as natural a product as possible, so if your flavor selection does not include 100% pure isolate, a concentrate or hydrolysate product would be the next best choice.
The truth is, no matter what type of whey protein you choose, they are all great choices to help reach your fitness and nutrition goals. Be sure to follow the directions on each product’s label, as it may vary depending on brand and concentration. Check the label for ingredients (vegan sources of protein are always available). What might be popular today is not necessarily the choice you will want down the road as your fitness goals change and evolve.
Finally, it is important to remember that there are no magic bullets regarding health and fitness. Your best bet is always to choose a well-rounded approach with sufficient protein (along with the right carbohydrates and fat sources). A healthy diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, plenty of fluids every day, regular exercise, and rest when needed. Whey protein will help you get there faster if it is the right choice for your needs.