That’s a very good question, especially considering millions of people all over the world consume huge amounts of it every single day and we’d wager that a good chuck have no idea what it is!
For athletes and body builders, whey protein is considered one of the most important sources of protein currently available. It’s an extremely high quality and rich source of protein which plays a crucial role in recovery, building muscle mass and staying lean.
Whey protein is formed during the cheese making process and is a liquid substance which appears when the cheese begins to form, although it’s not until after the cheese is made that the whey is removed. Before the supplement industry realised how precious this liquid was, the cheese makers would simply throw it away – it was only until fairly recently that they began selling it to protein supplement manufacturers and the rest, as they say, is history.
Although the protein content of whey is relatively high to begin with, manufacturers spend time removing ingredients that contain no protein so the finished product contains as much protein concentrate as possible. The whey is then dried ready for use within protein based supplements.
Whey is actually one of two proteins that we can extract from cheese making; the other one is casein protein. Casein protein is present in the milk and is also a great source of carbohydrates and amino acids, the latter being an important component of many popular whey waters.
Why Is Whey Protein Important?
Whey protein is a very unique supplement as it contains everything the average body builder could possibly need to help them build muscle. That’s not to say a body builder couldn’t increase muscle mass by eating the right foods in the right quantity, on the contrary, however this isn’t always practical. Good whey water offers convenience, affordability, high amounts of protein (higher than most food sources) and above all else, it’s fast ingesting. Research has proven that taking a fast ingesting source of protein straight after a workout is vital in maintaining and building muscle and avoiding catabolism.
Whey protein doesn’t just help people grow bulging muscles, it’s also a must have supplement for muscle recovery. If cardiovascular activity is your thing, perhaps you play football or you’re a keen cyclist, your muscles will no doubt take some punishment. Muscle recovery can be significantly increased if whey water is introduced to the diet as muscle fibres have the food they need to repair and grow.
Is It Just For Weight Lifters?
Although the supplement industry have designed all of their marketing campaigns straight at athletes and body builders. There are large groups of people using whey protein for a range of other benefits such as weight loss, an important supplement for the elderly, immune system health and many more.
As humans, we need a certain amount of protein in our diets every single day. Most of us will get the necessary amount from our current diet but some are protein deficient, which can cause problems. This means that in essence, anyone who struggles to get a good amount of protein from their diets is a prime candidate for whey water.
Types of Whey Protein
Whey protein takes two major forms, whey protein isolate and why protein concentrates.
Whey Protein Concentrate
Whey protein concentrate is perhaps the most common and accessible whey protein available and is the weapon of choice for beginners, people on a budget and anyone looking for a fast digesting protein. Whey protein concentrate is approximately 80% protein and the rest is made up of lactose and other ingredients (so if you’re lactose intolerant, check the ingredients). Whey protein concentrate is higher in fat and carbohydrates than other forms which mean you’ll take on a higher amount of calories but coming from fat, not protein.
Whey Protein Isolate
Whey protein isolate is much lower in carbohydrates and fat and contains a much higher volume of protein than concentrated whey protein. Whey protein isolate tends to be more expensive but you will be paying for the extra protein content. The amount of protein contained in whey protein isolate is typically anything between 80%-95%, which makes a big difference. If you’re looking to lose weight or gain muscle, whey protein isolate will help.
What About Whey Protein Blends?
A whey protein blend is a combination of whey protein concentrate and isolate as well as added muscle building and muscle recovery supplements such as amino acids and glutamine. It’s the most common whey protein product because it combines the best parts of both isolate and concentrates and is affordable. This is an extremely popular choice for many hardcore bodybuilders which mean there is a huge range of whey blends to choose from.
It’s important to note that some blends will contain more concentrate than isolate and vice versa, so make sure you check the ingredients to make sure you’re getting a good deal.
Whey protein is an important supplement to help athletes and body builders alike. The protein supplement industry is a massive one, meaning there’s a huge range of different whey waters available. Remember, whey protein is not a magic pill; it’s simply a supplement which can help you increase your protein intake to a level which encourages muscle recovery and growth.