Whey protein supplements are the most popular sports nutrition products in the industry
Whey is a natural protein that is found in milk, with approximately 20% of the protein in milk being whey, 80% is micellar casein. Whey protein has become the primary choice of protein for the majority of supplement users over the past decade for various reasons;
Firstly, whey protein is highly bioavailable. The simplest measure of the utilisation of protein by the human body is Biological Value (BV). BV is essentially a measure of how much of a given protein the body will retain and utilise. Using the BV scale whey protein has the perfect score of 100, so if you were to consume 25g of whey, your body would utilise and absorb 25g of protein.
Protein Bioavailablilty Chart
The chart below shows other source of protein, both food and supplements which clearly highlights how good a source whey is.
Additionally, whey is very fast digesting which means that the body can breakdown the protein into amino acids very quickly and utilise it straight away. After intense training, this is of primary concern so the body can start the process of recovery immediately.
Types of Whey Protein and the differences
From a sports nutrition perspective there are two commonly available types of whey protein; whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate. Typically products that contain mainly whey protein concentrate will be between 65%-80% protein, with the higher protein content being a key factor in determining the quality. A whey protein isolate is further filtered than the concentrate and removes more of the fat and lactose. Products made purely from isolate will be higher in protein, 85-90% but will cost more due to the additional manufacturing process. Those who are lactose intolerant or are watching their fat/carb intake may benefit from whey protein isolate over concentrate.