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Whey Protein Isolate - Part 1 - What Is It?

Updated on February 25, 2014

I’m sure that at some point in your life you’ve been told about the importance of protein in your diet.

Some people have a hard time getting enough protein from food sources so they turn to protein supplements, which are an inexpensive option for consuming protein.

If you’re an athlete, vegetarian or vegan, you’ve probably already researched protein supplements to some degree.

But what’s the big deal?

Why do we need to consume protein?

Importance of Protein

Proteins are organic compounds in our bodies that are made up of amino acids. You’ll commonly hear amino acids referred to as the “building blocks of protein”. There are 22 different types of standard amino acids.

Our bodies can create 14 of these amino acids, but the ones that we can’t create have to be obtained through your diet. The eight amino acids that our bodies can’t create are referred to as “essential amino acids”.

We get these essential amino acids whenever we consume food or drink that contains protein. Our body then breaks down the proteins and we get the amino acids that we need.

Protein is needed for a variety of different things like:

  • Muscles, Tissues and Organs
  • Growth, Maintenance and Repair of Your Cells
  • Bones, Hair, Nails and Skin
  • Metabolism and Digestion
  • Nutrients and Oxygen in Your Blood

So you can see that proper protein consumption is needed to stay alive, but what’s whey protein?

Whey Protein

I’m going to bet that most of you have already heard of whey protein, even if you don’t think you have. What was “Little Miss Muffet” eating with her curds?

That’s right, whey!

Whey is a by-product of making cheese or yogurt. When milk curdles, whey is the watery liquid left over. When making yogurt, whey is the liquid that forms on top whenever the yogurt settles.

It can then be dried as is, at low temperatures to prevent damage to the protein, or the fat, and other things that aren’t protein, can be removed to raise the concentration of protein.

Whey has the highest amount of protein absorbed from food that becomes proteins in your body than any other type of protein supplement. This is what they call a “biological value”.

That’s why you see it used in so many protein shakes. It’s absorbed quickly and our body puts it to good use.

So what’s whey protein isolate?

Whey Protein Isolate

As I just mentioned, sometimes whey is dried as is, but to create a higher quality protein you have to remove the fat and lactose. This is exactly what they do to create whey protein isolate. In a sense they’re isolating the protein.

It might be beneficial to note that if you have any sort of lactose intolerance, whey protein isolate might be a better choice for you because it has less lactose in it.

This process creates a more potent and pure protein powder that is usually more than 90% protein by weight.

If you’re paying for a protein powder, you probably would like to know that what you’re paying for is mostly protein and not fat or lactose. So stick with whey protein isolate if you want a high quality protein supplement that’s easy on your wallet.

Let’s find out when people first started supplementing with whey protein.

>> Continue Reading Part 2 - First Supplement Usage >>

Have YOU Heard of Whey Protein Before?

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    • Bendo13 profile image

      Ben Guinter 7 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado

      Thanks climberjames!

    • climberjames profile image

      climberjames 7 years ago from Steel City

      Nice Hub! Great info!! - climberjames

    • Bendo13 profile image

      Ben Guinter 7 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado

      *tips hat

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for a most informative hub.