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Which Whey to Go

Which Whey to Go

By Guest Blogger Maria Viall CHHP, CNP, ROHP

 There are many benefits to supplementing with whey protein from increasing muscle mass and recovery after exercise to aiding in the muscular healing process after surgery or injury.  Depending on your personal goals, the type of whey protein supplement you choose will vary.

The two kinds of whey protein options on the market are whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate. Concentrates are made up of around 80% protein with small amounts carbohydrates and fat. Whey protein concentrate has more of a “whole food” profile than an isolate due to the healthy fats and carbohydrates it offers. On average, whey protein concentrates contain 18-25 grams per serving.

Whey protein concentrates do not pass through as many processing steps. Because it is minimally processed, concentrates contain immune boosting protein elements like lactoglobulins and lactoferrins.

In addition, whey protein concentrate does have a higher lactose profile compared to whey protein isolates  and therefore can be harder to digest for those with any lactose or dairy intolerance.

On the other hand, whey protein isolate is made up of about 90% protein and contains an even smaller amount of fat and carbohydrates than whey protein concentrate. It achieves this by going through a micro-filtration process and several ion-exchanges to increase the amount of protein while reducing other nutrients.

Isolates are often used in bodybuilding and weightlifting, as the amount of protein per servings is much higher compared to a whey concentrate.  Also, whey isolate typically has less calories and carbohydrates than concentrates. It can also be beneficial for those with compromised digestive issues to choose an isolate over a concentrate as the protein is usually easier to digest.

In terms of cost, isolates tend to be more expensive than concentrates due to their increased protein profile.

Regardless of whether you choose to supplement your diet with a whey protein concentrate or isolate, each form offers positive health benefits in terms of increased muscle mass and recovery when used in conjunction with an active lifestyle. Determining which form would work best for you should depend entirely on your personal health and fitness goals.

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