OK, so you have read about or heard about a great supplement that will help you pack on amazing amounts of lean muscle in a matter of weeks. And it is called whey protein. So, what kind do you select? Isolate or concentrate. How much should you ingest in a day?
As far as the amount to be taken in a day is concerned, people will tell you that you need to take 2g of proteins per Kg of body weight; others suggest a whopping 2-4g per lb of body weight. That is, if you were to weigh a 100kg, you will have to consume about 200g according to the first bunch of people while according to the second estimate, you will have to consume a whopping 440-880g of whey protein. That is a waste of protein and more importantly, your hard earned money. The human body has a tendency to throw any excess of nutrients that you ingest. So, ingesting that amount of protein is like dumping your money down the drain.
Before, we go into which kind of whey is best for you, let us have a closer look at what whey protein is.
What is whey protein?
Before we get into the importance or need of supplementation with whey protein, let us have a look at what whey exactly is. Well, to begin with, whey is a milk protein. In addition to casein, another protein that makes milk so crucial for growth is whey. OK, got it! So, why is it so important in building muscle and why does everyone talk about it? Well, one thing is for sure that it has a very high biological value (BV). Now, without complicating matters too much, let me explain what BV is. Proteins are made up of smaller components called amino acids (AAs). Now, there are loads of these amino acids that occur in nature, some essential, others non-essential; essential meaning those which should always be present in the foods that you ingest. Better the ratio of these essential and non-essential amino acids in a protein, the more the biologic value, meaning more of it is likely to be absorbed and actually utilised for muscle anabolism (growth). Whey protein, in addition, as shown by numerous studies has been claimed to contain immunoglobulins (antibodies) which enhance your immune function.
Production of Whey
Whey protein is a by-product of the cheese industry. This by-product whey, however, contains large amounts of fat and lactose (milk sugar). Therefore to separate the protein from the other constituents requires procedures like microfiltration. Thus, the associated cost. Now, this micro-filtered and purified whey protein is available either as concentrate or isolate.
Which Type of Whey?
The major difference between the two is the % of protein available per serving, isolate containing 90-94% protein while concentrate containing 70-85% whey protein. Another difference is that isolate is more pure while concentrate tends to contain more fats and sugar per serving. However, that does not make isolate a better alternative. The choice between the two really depends on your goals and a number of other circumstances.
Whey isolate is a great source of protein but tends to be bit pricier than concentrate. Also, constituents which impart immune boosting properties like alpha lactoglobulins and lactoferrins are removed during the processing and filtering. Thus, whey isolate is not all that great if you overtraining. Having said that, I wouldn’t really be bothered about which type of whey I am consuming. However, considerations of cost, taste, mixablility of the powder, etc should be the key points to help you make your mind up. Once thing is for sure, if you feel bloated, concentrate is definitely not for you.
Lies that Supplement Companies Sell Us
Internet is a great way to sell lies, period. I have been a writer for too long. And I have been writing reviews for products like heart rate monitors and supplements. And, to be fair, I have never used 90% of the products that I have written reviews for.
Now, just suppose that you were a manufacturer of supplements. How would you promote your product online? All you gotta do is design a website with search engine optimisation. Next, get some people like me to write reviews and post them all over the web, including amazon and ebay. That done, when someone is looking to buy, let’s say, a fat loss supplement, he/ she would type the term in a search engine. Obviously, he/ she would come across your website because you have search optimised it. Then, the person, before making up his/ her mind would want to read reviews. And, bingo! You’ve got some great reviews about the product in place. So, the person ends up buying that stuff.
Before buying a supplement, always look to see if the person advertising it has some interest in the company. There is always a bias! They always make ridiculous claims like gaining 10Kg in a few weeks…or cutting down my body fat by 4% in whatever weeks.
For me, the best strategy that a person looking to get fit has is to train smart, train intense and eat natural.
I am big believer in keeping things natural and simple, training intense and having fun. Generally, you should look to consume protein in snacks throughout the day. Chicken, egg whites, fish, lean meat, whey isolate or concentrate….really doesn’t matter. The only advantage that supplements offer are the ease of preparation as compared to a meal. Again, they are much cheaper in the long run as compared to buying raw fish or chicken breast for most days of a month.
I, myself, use whey protein only in the mornings when I mix a couple of scoops of whey with my oatmeal porridge and milled flaxseed. And sometimes I do that in the middle of the night as well. But, the rest of the day, I mostly eat natural protein. Thus, it is either chicken breast, lean red meat or salmon, tuna, etc (I tend to eat everything under the sun!).