I have many people ask me at my job daily what the difference is with the types of whey protein we carry and what times of the day are the best for using them. So I thought I’d do a little get to know your protein type post.
Whey comes from milk, which casein also comes from milk. Side note, casein is a good night time protein due to the fact it is slow absorbing and so while you’re sleeping it breaks down feeding your body at night. This post however, I will be focusing on Whey protein. Whey protein is beneficial in many ways such as lean muscle building, meal replacements, fat loss, and other health issues. The three main whey proteins are: Whey concentrate, Whey isolate and then hydrolysate.
Whey Concentrate: This protein is the least processed so it takes longer for your body to break down. The absorption time window is usually 3-4 hours minimum, but depending on how your body does with dairy it could take longer to break down. I personally have a hard time digesting whey protein concentrate so I try to stay away from it. With whey concentrate as well depending on the concentration you could have a powder with very low levels of actual protein. This type of protein source is a good one for maybe a meal replacement or snack so it breaks down over the day for you and gives you the fuel you need.
Whey Protein Isolate: This protein is broken down for your body and is higher in protein content and lower in fats and most protein isolates are lactose free due to the processing. This protein’s absorption time window is less coming in at about 60-90 minutes for your body to fully absorb it. Due to the fact this one is processed more your body can break it down a bit faster as well. This is the protein I use and my body very easily can break it down and is not affected in any way. This is also probably because of the fact it is lactose free. Whey isolates are a good for anything protein. I use mine for my after workout recovery shake and it works great. I also use it however, for smoothies and just add fruit and other stuff to get my fibers and make it more like a meal.
Whey Hydrolysate: This protein is your fastest absorbing whey due to the fact it is considered slightly “pre-digested”. This is due to the fact it has been partly hydrolyzed already in its creation so your body does not have to go through all the work of breaking it down itself. This protein takes about 30-60 minutes for your body to absorb and is perfect for an after workout shake. It is very low in fats and carbs and sugars and calories, pretty much everything except good protein.
Now it is very good to check out your ingredients lists on your protein powders due to the fact many times they are labeled as whey protein, but on the back it’s a blend of types. Blends are good just because of the fact your body gets the protein at different times and so is refueled over a longer time. My only concern with blends however, is many times the brand will not tell you how much of each protein you are getting. So for after a workout you could be getting predominately whey protein concentrate which is slower absorption and not as good for recovery. So just being aware yourself of what types of protein you are putting in your body, how much of those types as well as what the purpose your using that protein for is key to overall muscle growth, health, weight loss and other things. Now disclaimer this is a hodge podge of knowledge I have gained from my job, reading articles and books and talking to people as well. Definitely do your own research. Being informed and aware is definitely beneficial in the long run for yourself, your body and your goals.
I will also hopefully soon do a break down on vegan protein options as well for the people out there who cannot use whey or dairy. Thank you again for listening to all of my ramblings.
Extra sourcing for this article came from: Medical News Now- Whey Protein