Which Whey To Go?
Proteins are the building blocks of muscle, bones, skin and even the heart. To enable muscle growth, it is necessary for muscle protein synthesis to exceed muscle protein breakdown resulting in a positive muscle protein balance. Without this balance, and in the absence of proper nutrient intake, the body will remain in a catabolic state resulting in no muscle growth. To achieve muscle growth, an anabolic state is required, and protein metabolism can help you achieve that state. Protein metabolism is driven by Biological Values (BV), rate of absorption, and amino acid profile.
The BV measures how easily and readily protein is broken down in the body. Meanwhile, amino acid, which are the building blocks of protein, is an important regulator of muscle protein metabolism.
One effective method of introducing protein into a nutritional program is to add whey. Whey is the liquid by-product left after cheese production and is typically dried into a powder form. What makes whey special is that it is a complete protein as it contains all the essential amino acids. Further, whey has the highest percentage of Branch Chained Amino Acids (BCAA) which heavily influences the process of muscle protein synthesis.
Three types of whey are available but research is ongoing on which ‘whey’ is best. The individual’s need will determine which whey is preferable. Each variable has positive attributes: one is more complete, one has higher protein percentage, and one absorbs faster.
Whey concentrate protein (WCP) is less processed and therefore remains closer to its natural state. Whey Concentrate Protein product has a protein weight from as low as 25% to 89% with 80% typically being the average. The remaining composition is made up of fat, carbs and lactose. Further, WCP has a BV of 104 and contains protein subfractions which provide health benefits such as disease prevention and immunity support. Therefore, WCP is best for the individual seeking a complete, less expensive health benefits of protein. For most people this is the ‘whey’ to go.
Whey Isolates are at least 90% protein making it the purest source. Further it has a BV of 159. However, it must go through a process to remove fat and lactose and other potential health properties. Yet, this can be a good choice for those that are lactose intolerant. Also, since it is more absorbable than concentrate, this is a good choice. However, since it goes through extra processing steps, it tends to cost more.
Another option is hydrolyzed whey which is readily available and absorbable for muscle repair and growth. Hydrolyzed whey is predigested and these smaller amino acid chains mimic how the intestines break down the chains for easier and faster digestion. This is an option for those that are on a tight nutrient timing schedule. But again, price can be a factor.
While no studies have determined that one form is better than another, all three forms can result in muscle building and retention; weight loss and maintenance; and benefit overall health. Regardless of which type of whey you select, be sure that you select Champion Whey® Plus. Whey Plus stacks together all three types of fast-acting, double-filtered whey protein –isolate, hydrolysate, and concentrate- and surrounds them with a delicious flavor system that consumers preferred 3 to 1 in a blind taste test. Pure Whey Plus does not contain gums or fillers.
- Jennifer Rendfrey, MS Exercise Science