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Let's assess some of the main advantages to including whey protein powder in your diet so you can get the full picture of what this supplement is all about.

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When most people think of whey protein powder, they instantly think of muscle building. After all, in order to generate more muscle mass in the body, protein is the biggest requirement.

If you fail to get in all the protein you need, you are not going to be successful with the goal of building more muscle mass. While you don't need hundreds of grams of protein a day like some people believe to build muscle, you definitely do need to get in enough.

Something that often gets overlooked however is all the other benefits that whey protein powder has to offer.

Let's assess some of the main advantages to including whey protein powder in your diet so you can get the full picture of what this supplement is all about.




"IF YOU FAIL TO GET IN ALL THE PROTEIN YOU NEED, YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH THE GOAL OF BUILDING MORE MUSCLE MASS."

THE TYPES OF WHEY

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Right off the start it's important to realize that not all forms of whey protein powder are created equally. There are a few different varieties that will differ slightly in make-up, so choosing the right variety for your goals will be important.

The four main variations of whey protein powder include whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, hydrolyzed whey protein, and undenatured whey concentrate.

Whey protein isolate contains the greatest protein concentration coming in at 90-95%, while the rest of the whey protein powders range from 25-89% total protein content. Most will be towards the higher end and you can easily evaluate the protein content by looking at the nutritional information on the particular protein you are purchasing.

Whey protein isolate also contains the lowest level of lactose, so anyone who is currently lactose intolerant will definitely benefit from this factor. It tends to be lowest in fat as well, so really one of the best well rounded proteins available.

IMMUNITY

One advantage to including whey protein in your diet regularly is the support for a healthy immune system. Immunoglobulin is an antibody that is found in whey protein powder in concentrations of as much as 10-15%.

SUPPORT FOR HEART HEALTH

One of the key issues in supporting heart health is making sure that saturated fat intake is kept low and blood pressure remains under control.

In one study researchers had a group of 20 healthy adult males consume either a fermented milk supplement with added whey protein concentrate or a placebo for an eight week period.

After the eight week period elapsed they investigated the effects of the supplement on the levels of HDL, triglycerides, and systolic blood pressure and found that the subjects taking the whey protein supplement had higher levels of HDL (good cholesterol) and suppored healthy triglyceride and systolic blood pressure levals already in healthy range.


BETTER WEIGHT CONTROL

Maintaining a healthy body weight and composition is a main priority of most people and by regularly including whey protein powder in the diet, you can help accomplish this.

Studies have demonstrated that calcium is a mineral that helps to influence the energy metabolism and positively promote a better body composition. In one study calcium fortified cereal was compared to calcium fortified cereal plus non-fat milk in terms of increasing weight and fat loss and it was seen that the addition of the milk substantially amplified the weight loss effects that were seen.

One point that should be noted is the researchers did make mention of the fact that while a higher dairy consumption can help support healthy body composition, in those who are already overweight simply adding more dairy to their diet will not have much of an effect; at that point, calorie reduction needs to come into play as well.

Whey Protein Isolate vs Concentrate: What's The Difference?

There are several nutritional differences between whey isolate and concentrate. These differences are caused by the processing methods.

When the liquid whey is collected as a by-product of cheese or yogurt production, it undergoes several processing steps to increase its protein content.

After a sufficient protein concentration is achieved, the liquid can be dried to form whey concentrate powder that consists of up to 80% protein by weight. The remaining 20% of the whey concentrate powder contains carbohydrates and fats.

If different processing steps are used to reduce the fat and carbohydrate content of whey, a whey isolate powder containing 90% or more protein by weight can be produced.

Overall, the processing steps used in the production of whey isolate result in higher protein content and lower fat and carbohydrate content per serving.

However, the types of amino acids found in both forms of whey are virtually identical, since they are derived from the same proteins.

The table below shows the key differences between a standard whey isolate and whey concentrate supplement per 100-calorie serving:


Whey Isolate
Whey Concentrate
Processing
More
Less
Protein
23 grams
18 grams
Carbs
1 gram
3.5 grams
Fat
0 grams
1.5 grams
Lactose
Up to 1 gram
Up to 3.5 grams
Cost
Higher
Lower

In addition to having lower total carbohydrate content, whey isolate also has lower lactose content. This means that it could be a better choice for those who are lactose intolerant.

Nevertheless, the amount of lactose in both forms of whey protein is likely to be low enough for those who are lactose intolerant to use.

In addition to their nutritional differences, there are cost differences between these two types of whey. Generally, whey isolate is more expensive than whey concentrate.

While this makes sense based on the higher purity of whey isolate, taking a larger quantity of whey concentrate can bring you the same dose of protein, often at a lower cost.

SUMMARY: The main difference between whey isolate and concentrate is that whey isolate undergoes more processing, which results in a higher protein content with less carbs, lactose and fat. Whey isolate is typically more expensive than whey concentrate.

Both Forms Have Similar Benefits

Many studies support the beneficial effects of whey protein for active people .

One study in 192 exercising individuals found that taking whey protein supplements, including whey isolate or concentrate, led to improvements in lean mass and strength.

However, despite the minor differences in nutritional content, there is not strong evidence to suggest that whey isolate and concentrate have different effects in your body.

In regards to protein, one of the most important factors is your total daily intake. What’s more, it is often recommended that the majority of daily protein intake comes from high-quality sources such as dairy, eggs and poultry.

Both whey isolate and concentrate are high-quality proteins, and it is reasonable to expect that they will produce similar effects if an equivalent dose of protein is taken.

With that said, those who are limiting their fat, carbohydrate or lactose intake may prefer whey isolate since it is lower than whey concentrate in all three of these components.

It is also worth noting that many supplements contain a blend of proteins that includes both whey isolate and whey concentrate.

SUMMARY: Although research supports beneficial effects of whey protein for active individuals, there is not clear evidence for differences in the effects of whey isolate and whey concentrate.

The Bottom Line

Whey protein consists of several fast-digesting proteins and is a common ingredient in dietary supplements. Two common forms are whey isolate and whey concentrate.

Whey isolate undergoes different processing than whey concentrate, which results in the isolate containing more protein with less carbs and fat per serving.

However, these nutritional differences are small, and there is not strong support for different effects of these two types of whey protein.

Whey isolate may be a good choice for those who are carefully limiting their fat, carb or lactose intake, though this form of whey is typically more expensive.

Taking a slightly higher dose of whey concentrate can result in getting the same total amount of protein as you would get from a whey isolate product, often at a lower cost.

Regardless of which type you use, whey is a high-quality protein that can help you reach your daily protein intake goals.

To help you create your best meal plan, we’ll send you expert, evidence-based guidance on nutrition and weight loss.



CONCLUSION

As you can see, there are a number of benefits to using whey protein powder apart from it being a convenient way to meet your protein requirements. With all the different flavors and varieties available today that cross an entire price spectrum, it is one of the top supplements that you should be adding to your diet for overall health and well-being.