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User's Guide to Whey Protein


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With all of the whey protein powders available on the market today, it can be daunting to choose one that will best fit your nutritional needs. While it's helpful to ask nutrition retail employees or an athlete that uses whey protein about its benefits, the best way to truly make the best choice about your whey protein powder is to educate yourself about what it does for the body and which type of powder will most benefit your individual needs. There are three types of whey protein powder that you will most likely encounter in stores: organic whey protein, whey protein concentrate, and whey protein isolate. While these may all sound similar, the process by which they are made and their effects on the body and on your exercise regimen are vastly different.

What is Whey Protein?

Before you can understand the difference between certain types of whey protein, it's important that you understand what whey protein is. Whey is a by-product of milk that is created during the process that is used to create cheese. During this process, the liquid portion of the milk is forced through a strainer, which leaves behind they whey protein. The other by-product, curds, is used for making many different types of cheese. Whey contains a high percentage of natural amino acids, which promote the creation of new muscle in the body and helps to heal strained, fatigued muscles. Whey protein also contains a number of vitamins, minerals, fats, and protein. Whey protein powder is made once whey protein is dried, and the final product is what you find in nutrition and health food stores. The basic process for creating whey protein powder is the same for concentrated and isolated types, and the biggest difference lies in how they are treated after their creation. In contrast, organic whey protein powder is processed differently from the very beginning.

Understanding Organic Whey Protein

Organic whey protein is created with minimal processing and without added hormones and antibiotics. In addition, the milk that is used comes from cows that are grass-fed on sustainable, organic farms. They may be fed all-natural grains. While organic whey protein may be a good choice for those who are trying to avoid man-made chemicals and pesticides, the differences between it and regular whey protein are minimal. If your goal is to build muscle, then you should consider whey protein concentrate, as certain organic diets that sustainable farms feed their cows may affect the levels of amino acids in the powder and affect its effectiveness at building and healing muscle.

Whey Protein Concentrate

Whey protein concentrate is the purest form of any whey protein product. When the whey protein is first created, milk is sent through a filter, and what is left behind to dry is whey protein concentrate. Whey protein concentrate contains more lactose than other types of whey powders, and this lactose contains protein, fat, and peptides. These peptides remain more active in whey protein concentrate because it does not undergo any further processing that may cause them to break down, unlike whey protein isolate. While most experts agree that there is little change in the amino acid profile of both whey protein concentrate and isolate, the process that is used to make isolate may affect the performance of the whey's natural peptides.

Whey Protein Isolate

Whey protein isolate is created when whey protein concentrate undergoes further processing. While some of these processes may purify the concentrate, the peptides contained in the concentrated form may also break down the peptides. Depending on the filtering process, some whey protein isolate brands may retain their peptide benefits. One such process is known as hydrolyzation, where the filtering creates peptides that are easily absorbed by the body because of their small size, but hydrolyzed whey protein is usually more expensive than other brands.

Choosing the Right Whey Protein for Your Budget

If you're like most people, cost is a concern when you're choosing a whey protein. The prices of different brands vary widely, but when it comes to these three types of protein, you will find that organic and isolate are, on average, more expensive than non-organic whey protein concentrate. Organic whey protein that is made by small, independent, and sustainable farms are usually made in smaller batches and takes more time to produce, which translates into a healthy but expensive product. Whey protein isolate undergoes extra filtering and processing, making it more costly to produce than the concentrate that is yielded during the initial whey-making process. This is not to say that all organic and isolate brands will be out of your price range, but you should expect to pay more for them. You may be able to find some deals on organic and isolate online, but you should only purchase them from authorized, reliable dealers to ensure their authenticity and to protect your health.

Whey Protein and Your Health

When you're choosing a whey protein product, one important aspect to consider is whether you have any allergies or if you tend to be lactose intolerant. Since whey protein is derived from milk, this may affect how you digest your protein shakes. If you do have a difficult time digesting dairy, then it's best to buy a whey protein isolate because the filtered end product contains much less lactose than the concentrate or organic product does. Isolate protein is also absorbed more quickly into the bloodstream; however, it can cause insulin spikes, so if you are diabetic or have other issues with insulin production problems, you may want to avoid isolate powder. If you need to choose a whey protein powder and you have any health concerns, you should consult your doctor before making a final decision.

No matter what type of whey protein powder you choose or why, keep in mind that no two fitness regimens, body types, or health profiles are alike and that all of these factors will affect your choice. You may have to try each type of whey protein before deciding which one best benefits you.

If you are looking a high quality organic whey protein, and want the additional benefit of grass-fed milk, check out Sweet Purity Organics.

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