What is the Difference Between Whey Protein Supplements?

Whey protein is the nutritional supplement of choice for many athletes, particularly body builders and those looking to build strength. The protein, a by-product of cheese making, is a fast-digesting protein used to build muscle and increase strength.

The reason that whey protein has grown so much in popularity is because clinic research has confirmed that its use with strength training increases muscle size and strength, and increases lean body mass.

Whey is the watery part of the milk that separates from curds when making cheese. Its protein has a high biological value, meaning it is absorbed and retained well by the body.

Whey protein is packed with essential amino acids, including the three – leucine, isoleucine and valine – that are considered necessary for muscle growth and repair. The amino acid glutamine, most effective after intensive or endurance exercise, is also present in high quantities in whey protein.

Importantly for athletes, whey protein’s amino acids are quicker to digest than other more complex proteins so are ideal to take immediately after a workout.

Whey protein is available in three different classes – these are whey protein concentrate (WPC), whey protein isolate (WPI) and whey protein hydrolysate (WPH).

WPC is the least expensive because it is less processed and so is the most basic available. The protein concentration WPC contents can vary dramatically so it’s important to check the concentrate when choosing the whey protein supplement or drink that’s right for you.

WPI goes through a more rigorous process and will usually contain up to 95% whey protein. As such, these types are considered best when combined as a supplement in a low fat or low carbohydrate diet. As whey is also used as an alternative for those who are lactose intolerant, WPI supplements are the best choice for those individuals.

The hydrolysis used in processing WPH products increases the speed at which they can be digested and therefore these products are more expensive.

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