Whey protein is a very popular protein supplement that people use to meet their daily protein need. In this article we will describe how is whey made, the different types of whey protein and how much whey protein should we supplement with.

Protein is a macronutrient we need for cell repair and rebuilding. Refer to our previous video on protein if you want to learn more. The daily-recommended intake for protein is 0.5 to 2 grams/pound of bodyweight depending on your lifestyle. Inactive people require less while older people and active people, especially those who engage in strength training, require more. Many times just eating regular food is not sufficient to meet the protein needs. Whey protein therefore is a great supplement of protein for such individuals. Whey protein is a complete source of protein, which means it has all the 22 essential amino acids needed by our body.

How is Whey Made

Many people are of the opinion that Whey protein is an artificial product prepared chemically in a factory. They have no idea how is whey made and unnecessarily demonize it. Whey is a natural food product, just like cheese or yogurt. It derived from cow’s milk and constitutes 20% of cow’s milk. So if you drink milk you are taking whey. Whey is made with the process of making yogurt. While making yogurt, milk gets separated into a transparent liquid part and a chunky white part. Whey is present in the transparent liquid part and is obtained by drying it and then making it into a powder.

Types of Whey Protein

There are different types of whey proteins, which come in a variety of qualities. The quality of the whey is either more or less processed depending on the removal of fat from the protein to increase its purity.

Whey concentrate

This type of whey protein is the cheapest. Whey concentrate is a blend of middle and fast absorbing whey protein. It can also be a blend of different grades and sources of protein. Concentrate blends have more carbs, fats and lactose because the product goes through less processing. Because of the blend of macros, you’ll get a more balanced meal. This is ideal for people looking to supplement entire meals. Whey concentrate is suited to someone who is bulking to put on some mass, as the added calories in it may help with weight gain.

Whey Hydrolysate

This is the highest end product of whey. This type of whey protein is priced very high because it is very pure. There are usually no sugars added in these supplements and they are so refined that they are lactose free. There is virtually no fat in this product, and it is all fast-acting, rapidly absorbing protein. This would be a good supplement to add to your diet if you are cutting, as this is pure protein with no additional calories in it.

Whey Isolate

This is a compromising middle between concentrate and hydrolysate. Though pricier than whey concentrate, this type of whey protein is cheaper than whey hydrolysate. The protein in whey isolate is fairly pure and absorbs rapidly, within 2 hours of consumption.

How much Whey should you Take

If your workout does not involve lifting heavy weights and you eat a normal healthy diet without restrictions then you are probably getting enough protein and do not need to take whey protein. Vegetarians who feel that they are not getting enough protein may consider a scoop of whey protein supplement in the morning to boost your daily intake. Best way to consume any type of whey protein is to add it to milk shakes, smoothies, or just blend it with water.

If you lift heavy weights in the gym then whey is a great protein for pre and post-workout drinks to minimize damage to your muscles during workout. You may consider taking one scoop of whey before and after a difficult strength-training workout. You may also consider including a whey protein shake in your breakfast to get your system going in the morning.

Protein supplements for Vegans

Since Whey is derived from Cow’s milk, it is not appropriate for Vegans. Vegans may consider other protein supplements which are plant-based or soy based. Rice, pea and other vegan proteins also afford the user much needed amino acids. However these proteins will be slow to digest and hence cannot be used for pre and post workout shakes as effectively as pure whey.

Author's Bio: 

Founder of Kaa-Yaa - Health and Fitness App, Tech entrepreneur and fitness junkie.