Which Protein Is Right For Me?
More and more people, especially those wanting to have enhanced physical fitness as well as those in body building circuits and athletic performance enhancement circles, are including whey protein in their exercise nutrition regimen. Man’s understanding of whey protein has paved the way to a greater variety of applications.
However, choosing the right whey protein may seem very difficult. That is why it is always best to understand first what whey protein is, why it’s good for you, and the different types of whey proteins available in the market today.
A Brief Overview of Whey Protein
Whey protein are mainly globular proteins that have been extracted from the liquid component of the byproduct of cheese production. When milk is processed into cheese, it produces two essential components – the solid casein and the liquid whey. Both are proteins but whey is generally considered as more beneficial than casein because of its relatively lower allergenic potential as well as excellent concentrations of essential amino acids, branched-chain amino acids, and other substances that give it its profound health benefits.
Why It’s Good for You
Whey protein has been extensively used by bodybuilders as well as fitness enthusiasts and professional athletes to increase muscle mass, enhance muscle tone, and improve muscle strength. Because protein is essentially the provider of the body’s building blocks particularly in the transmission of genetic information from one cell to the next, proteins are able to make and build cells.
Whey protein is also good for enhancing the immune system as it provides immunoglobulins necessary for fighting infections. Lactoferrin, cysteine, and methionine also help in enhancing the function of the immune system.
Additionally, whey proteins have been found to be very beneficial in weight loss efforts as it takes a significantly longer period of time to digest and process proteins than fats and carbohydrates. This means that you will feel fuller longer. This cuts down your hunger pangs which, over time, can lead to weight loss.
Whey protein also has an excellent antioxidant property owing to its cysteine, glutamate, and glycine content. These amino acids are important in the synthesis of glutathione, a natural antioxidant that can be helpful in arresting the damaging effects of free radicals in the body.
The Different Types of Whey Protein
Obviously, whey protein is very beneficial in today’s health-conscious society. However, not all whey protein formulations are created equal. In the market, there are 3 types of whey protein. These are often characterized by the composition of proteins, fats, and lactose. The higher the concentration of protein, the lower the concentration of the other components.
- Whey Protein Isolate – This type of whey protein has the highest concentration of proteins at 90 to 95 percent. These products are excellent for persons who may be lactose intolerant because it contains very little lactose or none at all. It has also relatively negligible amounts of fat making it the most expensive type of whey protein because of its greater concentration of proteins. It is often found in protein supplements, beverages, bars, and other formulations.
- Whey Protein Concentrate – This type of whey protein can contain around 25 to 89 percent of protein although most preparations will be in the range of 80 percent. It also contains around 4 to 52 percent of lactose and 1 to 9 percent of fat. This type of whey protein formulation is often found in protein bars and beverages, infant formula, bakery products, confectionery products, and other food products of nutritional value.
- Hydrolyzed Whey Protein – This type of whey protein contains a much higher concentration of proteins than whey protein concentrates, often in the region of 80 and 90 percent. It also contains fats anywhere from 0.5 and 8 percent and lactose at about 0.5 to 10 percent. Hydrolyzed whey products are excellent for individuals who may have malabsorption syndromes which is a state where they cannot digest some forms of food molecules. It is also safe for individuals who may have hypersensitivity reactions. The protein component of hydrolyzed whey proteins are already broken down or hydrolyzed into smaller molecules known as peptides without affecting the nutritional value and quality of whey protein. This type of whey protein is often found in infant formulas, sports nutrition products, and medical nutrition products.
There is another type of whey protein product, the undenatured whey protein, which is almost similar to a whey protein concentrate. However, instead of essential and branched-chain amino acids, it is mostly composed of immunoglobulins and are thus, indicated for individuals with infections or those with immunocompromised states.
Looking for the Right Ones
Now that you know what the different types of whey proteins are and how each formulation works, you now can move on to the next step of your journey – choosing the right whey protein for you. Here are some tips you might want to consider.
- If you want to build, tone, and strengthen muscles, then you need to get a whey protein formulation that has high concentrations of the branched-chain amino acids leucine, valine, and isoleucine. These essential amino acids (technically they are still essential amino acids but with the addition of a branched side chain) have been shown to stimulate increased muscle protein synthesis. This simply means that it stimulates the formation and continued growth of muscle cells and tissues, strengthening them in the process and over time. Additionally, both leucine and isoleucine have been shown to regulate the uptake of glucose into the cell which help in the management of hyperglycemic states. We always recommend to ALL our customers they combine a quality Whey protein with any of our anabolic supplements.
- If you require whey protein for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-enhancing benefits, then get a whey protein that is high in cysteine, glutamate, and methionine as well as alpha-lactalalbumin and lactoferrin. These provide excellent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
- If you are lactose-intolerant, then you need to get a whey protein product that contains as little to no lactose at all. This means that your best choice will be a whey protein isolate. If you have a certain form of allergy, you may want to go with a hydrolyzed whey protein formulation because these contain the peptide form of proteins and not the larger protein molecules. It is easily digested, too.
Choosing the right whey protein for you requires a clear understanding of what you really want. Add this to your understanding of the different types of whey protein and you can very well be on your way to a healthier you.
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