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Which Whey, Concentrate or Isolate?

It is recommended to have anywhere from 1 - 3 grams of protein per lb of bodyweight on a daily basis. It's also correct that you body can only absorb a certain amount of protein, the rest is excreted and urea levels can get high, hence why we need to replenish protein supplies often with good protein sources at each meal. We do not store protein like other nutrients, the body happily stores up fat and carbohydrates on our bodies for such times as there is a calorie deficit, these stored calories are the bodies first line of defence against catabolism .

You may look at your protein powder or can of tuna and read that it contains "75% Protein", this may well be the case but if that protein only has 14 out of the 22 Amino Acids present in the human body it means our highly resourceful body must manufacture the missing aminos from the ones we have ingested. the problem being it is done so at the expense of these already eaten aminos.

So that 50 gram serving of tuna gave you 32.5 grams of protein, but as it only had 14 amino acids present, so by the time your body has chopped and re-built the aminos you supplied it with back into the aminos it really needed, you've only ended up with 20 grams of relevantly proportioned protein making it through to the bloodstream, which in turn takes it to your muscles.

As most of us do rely heavily on protein drinks, for cost reasons as much as convenience, it is as important to research the amino acid content of our chosen products as it is to review the protein content. But it also is worthwhile to find out about a products "protein fractions".

I personally believe a quality whey concentrate is the better of all the whey protein powders on they market today, in my opinion, after reading a lot of information supplied by rival companies in their marketing literature and promotional material from potential suppliers of various different forms of protein powder I have came to this conclusion.

Which whey? Concentrate or Isolate?

Today's concentrates now contain as 70-80% protein, with greatly reduced amounts of lactose and fat compared to the amounts they first contained. Many people are under the impression that a whey protein concentrate is inferior to an whey protein isolate. I do not, and I will explain as follows.

Although concentrates will contain less protein on a gram for gram basis than an isolate, a high quality concentrate contains all sorts of interesting compounds not found in the isolates. Good concentrates contain far higher levels of growth factors, such as IGF-1, TGF-ß1, and TGF-ß2. They contain much higher levels of various phospho lipids, and various bio active lipids, such as Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), and they often contain higher levels of immunoglobins and lactoferrin.

Although scientific evidence is lacking as to whether or not these compounds found in a good quality concentrates will positively effect an athlete’s muscle mass or performance, studies do suggest these compounds can improve immunity, intestinal health, and have many other effects that the whole population would find beneficial, not only athletes.

The downsides of concentrate is that it has slightly less protein gram for gram than an isolate, contains higher levels of fat (though some of these fats may in fact be beneficial), worst of all higher levels of lactose. Lactose is a common source of allergy for at least 20% of our population.

People should not be under the impression that a quality concentrate is inferior to Isolate and may in fact be a superior choice, depending on the goals of the person. For example, some people don’t tolerate lactose well or are trying to watch every gram of fat in their diet, etc. while another may want the benefits of the additional compounds found in a high quality concentrate.

Isolates can contain as much as 90%+ of protein. Research has found that only whey proteins in their natural state have biological activity. The necessary amount of processing carried out upon a whey protein to remove the lactose, fats, etc. without losing its biological activity takes special care by the manufacturer, and incurs the relevant financial penalty that accompanies this level of work. Maintaining the natural state of the protein is essential to its anti-cancer and immune stimulating activity, the protein must be processed at low temperatures if it is not to alter the natural state of the protein.

These processes are micro filtering, cross flow filtration and ion exchange. These filtration methods create isolated protein, but at the same time they take away some good compounds found in a good concentrate and can also reduce the number of amino acids present in isolate compared to concentrate. It gets back to choice and what you goal is. I know I'd prefer to have a concentrate and get the added benefits that it brings rather than go for the lower fats and miss out on my amino acids.

If your carbohydrates are under control then a little extra fat shouldn't be a big concern, if you're training hard you'll burn the extra fats no problem. When it comes to cutting up for a comp or an event where you need to be really lean I'd advise you to swap to a multi protein source product which would have less fat and an enhanced amino acid content.

I hope the examples I've given you show that there should be NO cheap whey isolates on the market, in my opinion the ones that are taste like grit, and their quality rhymes with grit and is also a 4 letter word!

Only you'll know if you've done the research into what you're buying or listening to someone's advice who's biggest concern is emptying your pocket.

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