I used to think that all protein was the same, but I learned that there are different types of whey protein after doing more research on the topic. Different forms of whey protein have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to know which one you need for your goals. However, there is a dark side to the supplement industry that many people aren’t aware of.
The “good” supplements you think are benefiting your health might not be as useful as you believe. That’s because different types of whey proteins can affect absorption rates.
Furthermore, the number of loopholes in supplement labeling makes it easy for companies to mislabel their products.
According to research conducted in the last 10 years, health officials have found that nearly 800 dietary supplements contain dangerous ingredients that are not listed on the product label. In nearly every case (98%), the USDA was able to confirm this.
If you want to be confident in the product labels that you’re reading, make sure the product has a third-party certification from organizations like NSF Certified for Sport, Informed Sport, or BSCG.
Anytime you see a product without third-party certification, be aware that this means the company hasn’t had to verify whether or not what’s on the label is actually in the product.
When it comes to protein powders, don’t believe everything you see on the label. Be sure to do your research so that you can find the best whey protein for your needs and budget.
What is Whey Protein?
Whey protein is referred to as the gold standard protein for several reasons: you receive a high amount of protein per serving, it has low carbs and fat content, and all essential amino acids are included in addition to high levels of BCAAs. And not to forget- its absorption rate is very rapid so your body can quickly put that protein to good use for muscle growth and recovery.
Whey protein is not the only available animal-based protein, but it is a great choice if you are looking for an affordable way to add more protein to your diet. Dairy allergies could be a problem with whey since it comes from milk.
for those who are merely lactose intolerant might be able to find a whey option that doesn’t cause any issues.
How Is Whey Protein Made?
Whey is a byproduct of the cheese-making process and comes from milk. When cheesemakers turn milk into cheese, they add enzymes that cause the liquid to separate into curds and whey protein.
There are different types of whey available on the market, such as whey protein concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysate. The level of filtration and processing determines the final product.
People will tell you that there are a lot of benefits to eating proteins, and some proteins cost more than others. But most of the time, they are just trying to sell you something.
Whey Protein Concentrate
Whey protein concentrate is the most basic form of whey protein. That means it is not as good as some other kinds, but it is still okay to use.
The government says that products labeled as “concentrate” can have a purity that ranges from 35% to 80% protein by weight.
This is important if you are worried about how much protein you are using and absorbing. In other words, if you scoop out 100 grams of protein powder, it can be called a concentrate if anywhere between 35 and 80 grams of that scoop is protein.
It is important to have someone else check if the label is correct. If you see whey protein concentrate on the label, it is hard to know how much protein you are getting without someone checking.
if the label is accurate, whey protein concentrate is a good option for most people because it is a good price and it works well.
However, it does not have all of the information that you might need, such as carbs, fats, and lactose in your protein.
This is how whey concentrate is made: Imagine liquid whey falling off a conveyor belt into a bucket. The liquid is filtered for impurities, dehydrated, turned into a powder, flavored, and there you go — delicious whey protein!
Whey concentrate is typically the cheapest source of protein supplementation because it’s such a straightforward process.
Whey Protein Isolate
Whey protein isolate is a little more reassuring in terms of legal purity. This is because if a protein supplement says it has “whey protein isolate,” that means that the supplement must have, at least, 90% protein by weight.
If you scoop out 100 grams of protein powder, then you will be getting a minimum of 90 grams of protein.
Many supplement companies say that their products are pure. They use marketing to make their products sound better than others. They might say that their filtration process is ion exchange, cold filtration, or microfiltration.
All of these methods remove differently-sized particles to give you a purer form of whey protein. Although there are some small advantages that come with each method (for example, most isolates have very low levels of lactose), the final product is still defined by its protein concentration, not necessarily the filtration process.
Whey protein isolate costs more money than whey protein concentrate. This is because whey protein isolate has fewer carbs, almost no fat, and almost nonexistent levels of lactose. Additionally, whey protein isolate tends to have better solubility, which makes it easier to mix and creates a “smoother” drink.
Whey Protein Hydrolysate
Whey protein hydrolysate is different from concentrate and isolate. Hydrolysate is a protein that is treated with enzymes and acids to make it smaller and to remove “quaternary protein structures.” (that’s a big mouthful) This means that it also removes bioactive immunoglobulins, which help support the immune system.
The reason that hydrolysis is used in dietary protein is because it helps to make baby formulas less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
Research has shown that whey protein hydrolysates are absorbed into the body faster than isolates or concentrates. This is because hydrolysates do not need to be digested by the stomach.
Some research suggests that hydrolysates might help people build muscle faster than other forms of protein. But it is not clear if this actually results in more muscle overall.
That’s because how much protein you eat in a day is more important for muscle gain than how fast your body digests it. If you want to gain muscle or lose fat, pay more attention to how much protein you’re eating every day.
The speed of digestion has some bad parts too. Whey hydrolysates are usually more bitter because the amino acids proline and leucine are not held in a protein structure. This means that it hits your taste buds differently than other protein forms.
Out of all the protein options, whey protein hydrolysate is typically the most pricy.
What about Soy Protein?
Although soy protein and whey are different, people often compare them to each other.
The majority of the apprehension around soy protein consumption is due to its content of phytoestrogens. These plant-based estrogens are thought to lower testosterone levels, which in turn could hamper muscle growth.
If you decide to use soy products, there are not many disadvantages. All soy that is sold in food (except for raw soy like edamame), including soy protein, is heated before it is sold.
This heat treatment process destroys select enzymes in soybean plants (such as trypsin), which prevents your stomach and small intestine from digesting protein.
Furthermore, soy proteins are handled in two ways that emulate whey processing.
If you’re creating a soy protein concentrate, manufacturers leech the protein with ethanol and neutralize the pH. This process removes most of the soy isoflavones, which are left floating in the ethanol and no longer in the soybean.
This step is really important because it means that soy concentrate supplements contain barely any soy isoflavones, and thus they are not really a concern.
As for soy isolate, the ethanol leeching is not mandatory. So it’s possible that some soy isoflavones may be there.
Soy isoflavones are not a big concern for male fertility and health (even if it’s in your routine).
Even though soy can have some effect on hormones, you would need to consume large quantities of soy protein for there to be any significant hormonal disruption. Additionally, the soy protein would have to be in isolate form (which isn’t as common).
If you’re like most people, drinking a soy protein shake every day wouldn’t get you anywhere near the Soy Protein Threshold. So if you want to switch from whey protein to soy, there’s not much need to worry.