Whey protein belongs to the most common and affordable nutritional supplements for athletes. It may seem that we have always been using whey protein but, in fact, it is not so long ago that whey was considered a waste material in cheese making.
Whey and casein are two popular milk-derived protein powders. Special enzymes are added to the milk to create the separation of curds and the liquid whey. Thus, from 10 litres of milk about 1kg of cheese is produced and the remaining liquid is whey. In general, whey is found in any milk. Interestingly, whey can be derived from the milk of any mammal that produces milk by the mammary gland, whether it be a cow, a llama or a goat.
The main advantage of whey protein is that it helps to increase protein and BCAA amino acids intake, which are key to your fitness goals. At the same time, whey protein is a complex protein source, which means that it contains all 9 essential amino acids that the body cannot produce itself and can only obtain from food. All you need is one serving of whey protein and you will enrich your body with all 9 essential amino acids at once.
Whey is a particularly rich source of BCAA, which are amino acids such as leucine, isoleucine and valine, which help to build and maintain muscle mass and can serve as a source of energy for long or intense training. In addition, whey protein can increase performance and strength and helps to reduce weight.
Types of Whey Protein:
1. Whey concentrate
Whey concentrate is the least processed whey that contains 70-80% of protein. The rest of the composition is lactose, fat and carbohydrates. It is produced by the filtration process and has the best taste from whey proteins. Whey concentrate is a basic type of protein and is therefore suitable for all beginning athletes and those who are looking for affordable protein source. It can be used as a pre-workout or post-workout supplement or as a protein snack between meals.
2. Whey isolate
Whey isolate contains 90-95% of protein and only minimal percentage or no lactose at all. It is derived by the micro-filtration process and is a superior whey protein compared to whey concentrate because it is rapidly absorbed. It is perfect for people who stick to a low-carbohydrate diet and try to reduce weight. It has a small percentage of carbohydrates and sugar. It is suitable as a pre-workout or post-workout supplement for its quick absorption and good digestibility.
Amino spiking is when manufactures add amino acids like glycine, arginine, glutamine and creatine to their protein powders. Amino spiking artificially inflates the protein quantity. Instead of getting 25g, you may only get 10-15g. This method is used in the market to bulk out protein powders so that they can increase price while cutting down on quality on the product. Next time you're interested in purchasing some protein powder, have a look at the ingredients and try and spot the cheaper amino acids. This may indicate that you are not getting the full amount of protein of what it claims on the packaging.