There are many different types of protein supplements. The latest trends have us bombarded with aisles of foods that have added protein and towering shelves full of various kinds of protein powders, bars, and drinks. What are the differences? How can they be beneficial? How about other types of protein supplements? How much do I need? Sexy-Strong® athlete, Monika Broemmer, qualified nutrition expert and certified personal trainer, answers with a few tips on selecting the right protein to help reveal your Sexy-Strong®.
What is Whey – Concentrate, Isolate, & Hydrolysate?
Whey is a dairy protein that is available as either a whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, or a whey protein hydrolysate (a.k.a. hydrolyzed whey). Whey protein concentrate in supplements is typically available as 70% – 80% total protein by volume. The remainder of the volume is made up of carbohydrates, mostly lactose, and some fat. Whey protein isolate is typically 90% or more total protein by volume. Since whey protein isolate has insignificant amounts of lactose, it tends to be a more appealing option for those of us that may have lactose intolerance. Whey protein hydrolysate is whey protein isolate that is enzymatically “pre-digested” to make smaller peptides. From a
cost / benefit standpoint, whey protein isolate, such as Sexy-Strong®‘s POWER
, is the most effective choice.
Why So Many Forms of Whey?
There are many reasons why whey, in all its forms, is so popular in sport supplementation. The lower cost of production and more favorable taste characteristics have heavily contributed to its dominance in the industry. However the higher branched chain amino acid (BCAA) content, especially of Leucine, relative to other types of protein makes whey a more attractive option. Studies have shown that Leucine, in the context of whey protein, is critical to increasing muscle protein synthesis and that it may be involved in suppressing muscle protein degradation. This is particularly of interest for those athletes that are pursuing greater muscle size. Other studies have shown that this has contributed to improved muscle performance for athletes that train on a regular basis. Regardless, whey has repeatedly shown to have the greatest impact on muscle building and been most effective at increasing fat free mass when incorporated in a diet of frequent protein feedings throughout the day along with an appropriate exercise program.
The quick digestion rate of whey causes an increase in amino acid levels in the blood faster than from proteins such as casein or soy. This is important for maximizing muscle recovery after exercise. The amino acid levels tend to return to a baseline 2 to 3 hours after consumption of whey. With respect to whey itself, whey protein concentrate digests slowest and hydrolyzed whey digests fastest. However, when whey is hydrolyzed the process does not yield the same end-product on a molecular level. In other words, the degree of “pre-digestion” varies and is why science is still exploring the various differences between types of whey protein. It has been suggested that a slower digesting protein that causes a longer duration of increased amino acids in the blood, such as casein, may be beneficial to consume prior to bed to enhance protein synthesis while sleeping (which already occurs at a higher rate during this time).
How Much Whey to Take?
What is the perfect amount of protein to take and at what point? Research is continuously evolving on this topic. At the moment, there is no one consistent formula that answers this question for everyone. Age, type of training, health and physical activity history are all factors that affect how much is enough. Although as little as 10g of whey protein has shown to induce muscle building after resistance training, one study concluded that 20g consumed immediately after resistance training was optimal for muscle building. On the other hand, 40g was best for specific populations and age groups. Unfortunately, for sports performance, this means that at this time we are left with trial and error. In the cases of general health or medical conditions, it is best to consult an experienced trainer or coach for an appropriate nutrition prescription.
Overall, whey protein may be the best option for you if you exercise frequently or intensely on a regular basis. In such circumstances, it will help reduce muscle soreness, recovery time and increase muscle mass. For those that aren’t pursuing the physique of Nicole Wilkins, the greater availability of amino acids in the body after consumption of whey will contribute to the muscle mass necessary for athletic performance in all forms of exercise/activity and general health. As researchers continue to investigate this supplement, it will truly be exciting to see how the industry adapts! To purchase your 100% premium-grade whey isolate Sexy-Strong® POWER click here.
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