Types of Protein
Choosing the Right Whey
by Jesse Seal

Types of Protein

There's a lot of misinformation out there about the types of protein powder available in stores and online. Some people insist that certain types of whey protein are better than others, even going so far as to say that the certain types are hazardous to your health.

The truth is that each type of whey protein has good points and bad ones. In this article, we'll discuss the pros and cons of whey isolate, whey concentrate, and whey hydrolysate so that you can make an informed decision about which one is right for your needs.

Whey Isolate

Whey isolate is one of the types of protein powder that contains very little fat, cholesterol, or lactose. This can be a huge benefit, especially while trying to lose weight. The protein in whey isolate is readily available for your body to use, so it is digested quickly and puts your body in a muscle building state instead of a muscle wasting one. For this reason, it should be taken first thing in the morning when the body has been fasting, forty minutes prior to a workout, to supply plenty of branched chain amino acids that prevent glycogen depletion and fatigue in muscles, and again directly after a workout, to rebuild damaged muscle tissue. Because of the filtration methods used to make whey isolate, it is a highly preferred protein powder among athletes who are allergic to components in milk and those who are sensitive to lactose.

The downside to this type of protein powder is that some of the immune-boosting compounds that are in other forms of whey protein have been removed through the filtering process. Also, not all whey isolate is equal and the more pure versions are often much more expensive. If you are on a tight budget, this might not be the protein powder for you.

Whey Concentrate


Of the types of protein discussed here, whey concentrate is easily the cheapest. It has not undergone the filtration that whey isolate has, and so costs much less. Since it has more fat and cholesterol in it, this is a protein that should be taken with meals or between them, two or three times per day. This is a perfect supplement for athletes who are on a budget but need large amounts of daily protein to supplement an intense diet and workout program.

However, there are several downsides to this cheap protein. For one, it contains much more fat, cholesterol, and lactose than the others. This is important for several reasons. If you have trouble with milk products, you are likely to have trouble with whey concentrate. Also, it is similar to cheese in that it tends to cause constipation with overuse. If you experience this effect, simply add more water to your diet, exercise more, and cut back slightly on the whey protein.

Whey Hydrolysate

Whey hydrolysate is one of the most expensive and high quality types of protein powder out there. It has all of the benefits of whey isolate. It has a low amount of fat and cholesterol and almost no lactose or allergenic particles. The difference is that it has been enzymatically modified so that it is easier to digest. It can be taken at the same times that whey isolate is taken and will provide a more potent stream of amino acids for your muscles.

The downside of whey hydrolysate is that it is by far the most expensive of all types of protein powder. It can be prohibitively expensive for some athletes and the benefits of taking it don't necessarily outweigh the more manageable price of whey isolate. However, if you have trouble tolerating whey isolate, this may be the only option you have if you want to get the benefits of whey protein.

Whey Your Options

You'll have to choose from the types of protein powder available based on your personal needs. If you're on a budget, have no issues with lactose, and don't mind the extra fat and cholesterol content, whey concentrate might be for you. On the other hand, if you need a protein source without the downsides of milk and are willing to pay a little more, you might choose whey isolate. Athletes at the top of their game who are looking for an extra edge might choose whey hydrolysate if money isn't an issue, since it delivers the most powerful form of protein among all three. Overall, you'll need to weigh your budget against your athletic needs in order to make a good decision.


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About the Author

Jesse Seal is the assistance Combatives Instructor, and has been training in Combative Sciences since 2008. He has also been training and learning through Bullock's Irondom Performance Systems since 2010.

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