When any Footballer is looking to build or maintain muscle mass, Protein is the key dietary requirement in order to help achieve this. Whey Protein is probably the most convenient way of consuming the required protein when compared with other sources such as whole foods. However, with various types of protein on the market, it can be difficult to know which is best to purchase. In this brief article, I aim to shed some light on the different types of whey protein out there to help you make a more informed buying decision.
Whey Protein is derived from a Protein found in Cow's Milk, and this protein makes up roughly 20% of the total protein found in milk (the remaining 80% consists of casein). Whey is more quickly digested than casein, with estimated absorption rates of around 8-10 grams and 6.1 grams per hour, respectively. In addition to digestion speed, the usefulness of a protein source to optimise recovery is dependent on its proportion of essential amino acids and branched chain amino acids, particularly leucine. Whey protein has these in abundance, and is arguably the highest quality of all dietary proteins.
TYPES OF WHEY PROTEIN
Whey protein powders come in three main forms:
> Whey Concentrates
> Whey Isolates
> Whey Hydrolysates
The cheapest of the three are whey concentrates. These contain roughly 80% protein with 5-6% carbohydrate and fat. If you don’t mind the ‘tag along’ carbs and fat, then this is probably the best choice.
- Increased Carbs & Fat
- Lower Protein Levels compared with other sources
Isolates might contain up to 90% protein with minimal carbohydrates and fat, so they are naturally the best choice if you’re dieting. You can expect to pay a little more for a whey isolate than a concentrate, though when you factor in the higher percentage of protein in whey isolates, this difference in price is minimal.
- Low Fat & Carbohydrate content
- Highest Protein content
- More expensive
Whey hydrolysates are the most expensive of the three, with a protein content typically ranging from 80-90%. Whey hydrolysates are concentrates or isolates that have been pre-digested using a process called hydrolysis. Pre-digestion of protein essentially breaks longer protein chains into smaller ones, resulting in slightly faster digestion rates. The downside of hydrolysed proteins is that they tend to have a bitter taste due to the presence of free form amino acids. For me, the taste and cost of whey hydrolysate isn’t made up for by the slightly faster absorption compared to a whey isolate.
- Faster digestion rates
- Very expensive
- Bitter taste
- Lower Protein content than Isolate
Overall, whey isolate seems to take top spot. Per gram of protein, it is almost as affordable as the cheaper whey concentrate, but without the additional carbs and fat. Though not as quickly absorbed as hydrolysate, these differences under real-world conditions would be negligible, and certainly not enough to make you want to pay more for a bitter aftertaste.
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