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What Is Whey Protein? Part 1

Updated on July 23, 2012
Probably the best selling whey product on the market.
Probably the best selling whey product on the market. | Source

Whey Protein, What is it?

Most people are aware of the substance called "Whey Protein". Whether that be they have heard a friend mention it, saw it on the TV or saw an advert in the latest issue of Muscle & Fitness. But what really is Whey Protein? What is it made up of? Where does it come from? Why should I be concerned with it incorporating it into my diet? Read on and all of those questions will be answered!

There are three main types of whey protein that you will pick from on the market today, these are, whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate and hydrolysed whey protein. I will be brief here with the difference between the three as there isn't much difference at all. Concentrate has the lowest amount of protein per gram of total weight, usually 80%+, whey protein isolate is usually 90%+ and hydrolysed is the closest to 100%

Whey protein is a substance that is derived from dairy products, in the process of turning milk into cheese. The whey protein is taken from the processed cheese, the fat is then removed and then it is ready to be produced for human consumption. It's primary function in a diet is to provide the macro nutrient protein. If you are working out you need to increase your daily intake of protein. This leaves some people with inadequate appetites in a deep hole as eating all that solid food to get your daily protein intake can be a struggle, this is where whey protein can come into play.

A serving of whey protein usually yields 20-30g of protein depending on the source. You can take 1-3 serving in one meal if that is what you require for the day which is the main benefit of supplementing whey protein. The other main reason to use whey protein is the amino acid profile. Amino acids are what protein is made from, and quite simply the higher and better the amino acid level the better the protein. Whey protein has the best amino acid profile of any other protein source that is available right now.

People often compare a proteins "effectiveness" by it's bio availability. I personally find this redundant because a protein should be judged on the amino acid profile not by how much of the protein is digested. The body will decide the amount of the nutrients that you consumed in that meal it needs, it will store the rest or excrete the waste. You also have to remember that protein synthesis is elevated for up to 72 hours after a weight training session, meaning that any amino acids that are consumed within 72 hours will be used to repair the affected areas.

Now we will go over some more reasons why people use whey protein, please be aware that this next section will "bust the myths" and give you the truth. "Drink a protein shake right after you workout, your muscles need it asap" As mentioned above protein synthesis is elevated for up to 72 hours after a weight training session, the fact that people think they body will start to eat itself after 30-45mins without taking in a protein shake is quite amusing really. How on earth did our species manage to survive all those years ago without whey protein is amazing isn't it? who would have guessed it.

Another myth people seem to go by is you need to intake a "simple carbohydrate" right after a workout with your protein shake. The justification for this is the following, "the simple carbs will spike your insulin levels, meaning that the protein will be pushed into your muscles faster" Again as I mentioned about protein synthesis times, it applies here too. You don't need to drink a protein shake at any "special window" this tactic was invented and marketed by the supplement companies to get you to buy more of their products.

In the second part of this article I will go into more depth with amounts for safe consumption, amino acid profile, what product's I recommend and some studies for you to research!


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    • Adamowen profile image

      Adamowen 5 years ago from England

      Thanks for the feedback, Hemp protein is a great source of protein if you want to stay clear of anything processed! I have tried it multiple times before. I'll have some hubs on soy, egg, hemp protein in the coming weeks so look out for them.

    • Daughter Of Maat profile image

      Melissa Flagg OSC 5 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      Great hub, although I won't use whey or soy protein (I only use hemp protein, it contains branch chain amino acids that whey and soy usually don't have), this is great information. Whatever the protein, it's definitely important to make sure you increase your protein consumption after a workout. As I found out, it really does help alleviate some of the soreness. Voted up and useful!