Protein powders are dietary supplements that are considered essential for muscle building by athletes and are intended to prevent not only fat loss when losing weight, but also the loss of muscles as an undesirable side effect. Whey protein, also known as whey protein concentrate or whey protein isolate, is considered healthy and should have a high biological value. But what is the reason for this?
What is Whey Protein Anyway?
Whey is produced by curd or cheese and is obtained from cured milk. You can easily recognize the whey by the greenish-yellowish colour. The consistency is watery, as whey is 94% water. The ingredients intended by athletes in protein powder are only 0.6 to 1% contained. But this 0.6% has it in itself because these contain the nine essential amino acids histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.
The human body is not able to produce these amino acids itself. He depends on them being absorbed by the diet.
In protein powder production from whey protein, calorie sources such as sugars and fats are mainly isolated. The whey protein concentrate or whey protein isolate contains hardly any calories. Again and again, the question arises as to whether it would not be sufficient for muscle building to eat a healthy diet to obtain all the important nutrients instead of taking an industrially produced protein powder.
There is no doubt that some foods, such as cheese and ricotta, in particular, contain sufficient whey protein. In contrast to protein powder, however, these foods have one drawback: they often contain a lot of fat and sugar. Therefore, the number of calories should not be underestimated, and the corresponding foods should only be consumed in moderation by each person. Therefore, especially in a diet, protein powder is preferable to certain foods.
In lactose intolerance, it is no problem to use protein powder from whey protein, at least if it is the whey protein isolate. Since lactose was removed from the whey protein during the protein powder production, there should be no problems for lactose-intolerant people. However, Whey Protein Concentrate should be removed in case of intolerance to lactose.
High Biological Value
Whey protein has a very high biological value. The biological value indicates how efficiently the body can convert proteins from the diet into the body’s own proteins. It plays a decisive role in how many essential amino acids are contained. Because the more similar the proteins from the diet are to the proteins from the body, the better the body can use them.
The body finds it easier to use animal protein than to plant proteins since animal proteins’ composition is more similar to that in the body.
For example, an egg has a biological value of 100 and serves as a reference value for all other foods. Only the whey protein is above the egg with a value of 104.
If whey protein is processed into protein powder, the body can also use it very quickly. Due to the protein powder’s fine molecules, the protein is quickly absorbed by the intestine and thus quickly enters the muscles. It is not for nothing that the whey protein is called an anabolic or fast protein.
How the body benefits from whey protein
It is mainly the muscles that benefit from the protein powder. But the whey protein can support the body in many ways and shows how healthy protein powder can be.
Thus, whey protein has the ability to protect your body cells from free radicals. Many people do not know that free radicals are to blame for ageing. The reactive radicals attack and damage healthy body cells. The consequences are sagging skin, a worsened blood flow in the veins and even damage to DNA. Cancer or tumours can be possible consequences.
However, antioxidants can intercept the radicals. Glutathione, in particular, a protein, is a very effective radical scavenger. Your body can produce this protein itself, but it needs the amino acid cysteine. This amino acid is not contained in any other food only approximately as much as the whey protein. Protein powder can, therefore, positively affect your biological age and keep you fit and healthy.
Protein powder can also make you happy. Whey protein contains a lot of tryptophan. This amino acid has the ability to boost the production of Serotonin. Serotonin is considered THE happiness hormone; a deficiency can lead to depression. If it is sufficient, it can provide balance, restful sleep and better performance.
Whey Protein Isolate or Whey Protein Concentrate – What’s Better?
Many athletes wonder whether they should resort to a whey protein concentrate or rather a whey protein isolate when buying protein powder. Few people know the difference between the two products.
Whey protein is available in various forms, which can arise during the whey protein’s processing into protein powder. The three different protein powder forms obtained from the whey protein are divided into different quality levels and differ mainly by the manufacturing process.
Whey Protein Concentrate has a protein content of 70 to 80%. This protein powder’s carbohydrate content is 6 to 8% and the fat content of about 4 to 7%. This is significantly higher than is the case with whey protein isolate protein powder. However, the Whey Protein Concentrate has the advantage that it is significantly cheaper than the Whey Protein Isolate. The reason for this is simple production. Intolerances to fat or lactose can cause whey protein concentration, and the amount of calories with this protein powder is not negligible.
The more expensive variant is the whey protein isolate. The protein content is 90 to 96%. By a complex manufacturing process, called microfiltration, fat and lactose are removed from the whey protein, so that the proportion of carbohydrates in the whey protein isolate is only 1%.
The Whey Protein Concentrate is recommended as well as the Whey Protein Isolate. The slightly lower proportion of proteins and the slightly higher calorie content, which nevertheless moves within a reasonable range, should only be kept in mind when taking them. For hobby athletes, the whey protein concentrate is usually quite sufficient.