To recap the first blog in this four-part series, whey protein originated about 8,000 years ago and has since evolved to the protein powder form we often see it in today. This journey of thousands of years held a variety of discoveries and innovations in whey protein.
We’d also like to recap what whey protein is: “a collection of proteins found in whey, a byproduct of cheesemaking. When a coagulant (usually renin) is added to milk, the curds (casein) and whey separate; whey protein is the water-soluble part of milk.”
Today, we’re first going to talk more in-depth about whey protein’s composition and nutrition profile. It’s widely known for its ability to provide the high amounts of protein that our bodies need. Yet, from our experience, hardly anyone knows its components.
Its approximate components per liter are:
93.0g of water
6.2g of protein
4.5g of lactose
0.5g of fat
Hélène Simonin, director of food, environment, and health at the European Dairy Association and European Whey Products Association, further writes “it contains around 20 different elements present in amounts of milligrams per liter, especially vitamins B5, B2, C and B6, calcium, zinc, iron, iodine, copper, lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase, lysozyme and immunoglobulin-A.”
In regard to the protein content specifically, whey offers powerful benefits to athletes and nonathletes alike as does lactose. In fact —
“Milk and whey are a source of protein of high biological value, providing the human body with all the essential amino acids that it cannot produce by itself. Whey protein comprises part of the milk protein and is composed predominantly of beta-lactoglobulin and alpha-lactalbumin.”
Hélène Simonin, On The Whey Up
You can probably tell that whey has some incredible, health-benefiting properties. Now, it’s time to read about which type could be best for you. Those of you with lactose sensitivities — you may be pleasantly surprised by what we’re about to share.
The two primary types are:
The more specific distinguishments between the two are:
Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC)
Whey Protein Isolate (WPI)
“Ultrafiltration/ UF of whey leads to a selective concentration of the protein, which when dried is whey protein concentrate (WPC). WPC may contain anywhere between 20 and 89% protein.”
“Whey protein isolate (WPI) contains at least 90% protein, with virtually all the lactose removed. An ion-exchange tower, which separates components by ionic charge instead of molecular size, if often used in conjunction with membrane filtration.”
Michael H. Tunick, Whey Processing, Functionality and Health Benefits
WPC is often the most cost-effective whereas WPI is more refined, which gives it a barely-there lactose content with higher protein content. All of HiveFit’s whey protein supplements are whey protein isolate.
Which whey protein supplement is right for you?
If you are looking to save money and still receive the benefits of whey, pay attention to the amount of protein content in your whey protein concentrate. These products will have a number after the WPC title. For example, a common product is WPC35, which means it has a 35% protein content.
The protein and general purity of whey protein isolate makes it the best choice to use in beverages, nutritional supplements, etcetera, and it's a much healthier source of protein than other sources such as red meat. It has good emulation, no toxic compounds, and a low calorie, fat, and sodium content.