Whey protein is a fantastic protein source that is used widely across the health and fitness landscape. However, not all whey proteins are created equal. So the question looms… Are you using the right whey?
There are two types of whey protein that you’ll find in various protein products: whey protein concentrate (WPC) and whey protein isolate (WPI). At first glance they might sound similar, but in reality they are actually quite different. Here’s how they stack up against each other:
Whey Protein Concentrate
Whey Protein Isolate
In order to clearly understand the differences between WPC and WPI, let me first provide some context and explain how whey is manufactured.
How Whey Protein is Manufactured
Dairy milk is comprised of two different components: whey and curds. The liquid portion of the milk is called whey, and whey is separated from the solid curds during cheese manufacturing. Whey is highly nutritious, filled with protein, fat, carbohydrates, as well as many vitamins and minerals. Once the whey is separated from the cheese curds, it is pushed through a filter to eliminate the liquid, leaving behind the powder that we know as ‘whey protein concentrate’.
What happens next is what differentiates whey protein isolate from concentrated whey protein. In order to make WPI, the concentrated whey powder is processed even further, either through ‘ion exchange’ or membrane filtration processing. The main goal of both processes is to ‘isolate’ the protein molecules from everything else, and then discard the remaining fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals that make up the non-protein mixture.
Many people contend that WPI is better than WPC because of its ‘fat free’, ‘carb free’, and ‘high protein’ claims. However, WPC is a much better protein source than WPI, and here is why…
Why Whey Protein Concentrate is Better
Quite simply, our bodies are not adapted to digest highly processed, isolated protein. While WPI does indeed have higher protein content, there’s no telling how much of this protein is actually being absorbed by our bodies. The non-protein molecules in WPC are not just added carbs and calories; rather, they provide valuable digestive enzymes and nutritional cofactors that help us to absorb the protein molecules more efficiently. Just as nature intended!
In general, the more a food is processed, the less nutritional value it provides. Oftentimes ‘Nutrition Facts’ panels can be misleading, causing us to believe that quantities of calories, carbs, and sugar are more important than the actual quality of the food we are eating.
To prove my point, consider this… A large apple contains 23 grams of sugar. An original Krispy Kreme donut has 10 grams of sugar. Which option is healthier? Obviously the apple! But if sugar is supposed to be bad for us, then how can the 23g of sugar found in an apple be healthier than the 10g of sugar in a Krispy Kreme donut? The answer is quite simple: the sugar found in apples is natural and unprocessed. Also, apples are packed with dietary fiber, which helps sugar molecules pass through our digestive system without spiking our blood sugar.
So what’s the moral of this story? Quality over quantities. WPI having more protein by volume than WPC is about as relevant as a Krispy Kreme donut having less sugar than an apple. It doesn’t mean squat!
Why Whey Protein Concentrate Tastes Better Too
When the dairy fat molecules in WPC are eliminated to make WPI, the result is a flat, chalky tasting protein powder. Have you ever had a protein bar that tasted dry or chalky? I’d be willing to bet that product used an isolated protein powder.
Think about it… When dairy fat is present in a given food product, isn’t that food almost always rich, creamy, and delicious? Whether we are talking about milk, ice cream, or whey protein, it is the dairy fat that makes these dairy products taste so good, not the protein! In that knowledge, it’s no wonder why quality WPC tastes like an indulgence and WPI tastes like cardboard!
Both science and our taste buds support the fact that WPC is a better protein source than WPI. Now that you know the differences between the two, the choice is yours. However, at I AM Bar, we have already made our choice, and we chose to make our bars with the best protein source you are going to find: grass fed whey protein concentrate. There’s a reason why our bars are soft, creamy, and delicious... because we value quality over quantities.
Choose quality! Choose whey protein concentrate.
***SPECIAL OFFER*** Do you want to taste the difference that WHEY protein concentrate makes in a protein bar??? We are giving out some boxes for FREE! All of our bars are made with grass fed WHEY protein concentrate, and you can try them for FREE with this special offer…
Anyone that uses the promo code "WHEY" while completing their checkout for a subscription order will receive their first box of I AM bars completely FREE! This one is one us! And don't worry, subscriptions can be cancelled at any time.
-Limit one per customer, must be on subscription-based sales
-Offer ends 4/1/16