Seasoned trainers know that the highest quality protein products are made up of whey protein. Whey is a form of milk, and has the highest bioavailability of any protein powder available, meaning that your body will digest more of it and utilise it for muscle growth. Whey protein is made up of either Whey Protein Isolate - the purest form of Whey Protein, or Whey Protein Concentrate - also a highly bioavailable protein which is less pure than isolate. The best whey protein for you will depend entirely on your training and nutritional needs - do you need a protein for purely after your workouts, or do you need one for all times of the day?
Whey Protein Isolate
Whey Isolate is a form of whey protein where the impurities such as fat and lactose have been removed from the powder during the processing. In essence, it is a purified, or ‘isolated' whey protein. The result of this is a protein powder with an extremely high protein content (usually 80-90%), which digests quickly and is perfect for building muscle and increasing nitrogen levels in the bloodstream, fast. Whey protein isolate is the best whey protein to use first thing in the morning, or immediately before or after your workouts, due to the purity of the product, and the super quick digestion rate. You can expect a WPI powder to absorb and digest within 30 mins - two hours of consuming.
Whey Protein Concentrate
The next purest form of protein to WPI is WPC, or whey protein concentrate. This is generally a little lower in protein content to whey isolate (usually 70-80% protein) but definitely has it's uses for athletes and bodybuilders. Whey protein concentrate is a great ‘all round' protein, meaning it digests as a fairly quick rate (approximately one - three hours digestion time), but not so quickly that you need to take multiple servings to feel full. Whey concentrate is the best protein powder to take during the day, or when there are a few hours until the next meal. It can also be taken post workout, especially in combination with WPI to provide a fast and medium rate of digestion for your post workout shake.
Hydrolysed Whey Protein
This is the purest form of protein available today, and is the fastest absorbing full-spectrum protein powder available. The fractions of protein in whey isolate are pre-digested - meaning there are additives during processing that break the bonds between the amino acids even further, making the rate of digestion skyrocket! By weight, hydrolysed whey proteins are usually over 90% protein, which means you need less in each scoop to get the same amounts of protein into your bloodstream. You can expect whey protein hydrolysate to be digested within one hour, making it the best whey protein for around your workouts. This is not a great protein to be had away from workouts, though, as the super-fast absorption rate means that you will be constantly hungry!
Which is the Best Whey Protein for me?
- If you are only using a whey protein product for around your workouts - go for a WPI or Hydrolysed Whey Protein (if your budget permits). This will ensure your nitrogen levels are at their peaks, giving your body the optimal environment in which to grow muscle! You can't go past the purity of Dymatize ISO100 or Optimum Nutrition Hydrowhey for these purposes.
- If you are looking for a whey protein powder to replace meals - go for a mainly WPC product. This will ensure your nitrogen levels are kept high for longer periods of time, meaning that your body remains in an anabolic state. Look at Musashi EVD or Maxs Muscle Growth GTE for good whey protein concentrate powders.
- If you are looking for a whey protein that covers all bases - why not look for a blend of all three types of whey protein? This will ensure that you get fast and medium absorbing protein to fuel your workout recovery, stave off hunger, maintain nitrogen levels and build lean muscle. Redbak Sustain Whey or Maxs Superwhey are your best options in this category!
There you have a short rundown of whey protein and which whey proteins are best for you. In summary, you should look for a whey protein powder that suits your needs - Whey Protein Isolate or Hydrolysed WPI for workout nutrition, Whey Protein Concentrate for all-day protein consumption, or a whey protein blend to cover all bases.
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