How is whey protein powder made?
The milk for the production of whey protein powder first goes through a process of pasteurization (short term heating up), which prevents the growth of bacteria. After this process, the milk contains of about 20% of whey and 80% of casein proteins. The enzyme chymosin is then added to the liquid, which causes the milk to curdle. This is how whey gets separated from casein. The resulting liquid part (whey) contains whey proteins, fat, as well as carbohydrates. Afterwards, filtration and other gentle technological processes are used to obtain whey protein from it.
What types of whey protein powders are there?
Individual types of protein powders differ in their manufacturing process, properties, and also in their ingredient profile. Therefore, they may be more suitable for certain groups of people.
1. Whey protein concentrate (WPC)
Whey concentrate is one of the most popular protein powders ever, and not just among athletes. This is primarily due to the fact that it contains a considerable amount of protein (70-80%), and it's also very affordable. Nowadays, it is produced using gentle filtration methods, which result in a high-quality and well-absorbed protein powder. The exemplary representative of these types of proteins is True Whey, with its content of up to 78% of protein.
2. Whey protein isolate (WPI)
Whey isolate is obtained by further processing the whey concentrate. In particular, it is a process called microfiltration, which takes a bit more time. The final result of this process is a product that boasts an even purer ingredient profile than that of the whey concentrate itself. It also has a higher content of protein (more than 80%). In comparison with the concentrate, it also contains less fat and sugar. This is especially valued by demanding athletes or people who want to lose weight before taking part in a race and keep a close eye on every nutrient in their diet. During the process of making whey isolate, the protein powder is deprived of almost all milk sugar (as a rule, about 2 g of lactose per 100 g of product remain). This type of protein powder is very popular among people who suffer from lactose intolerance. The exemplary representatives of protein powders from this category are Pure IsoWhey or IsoFue. And, if you are a fan of fresh fruit flavours, you will surely like Clear Whey IsoFue.
3. Whey protein hydrolyzate (WPH)
Whey hydrolysate is produced through a process called hydrolysis from whey concentrate or isolate. During this process, a water molecule is used to cleave protein bonds into shorter peptides. This results in an even better absorbable protein powder, which typically contains between 70-85% of protein. When shopping these protein powders, you can often see the label DH (Degree of Hydrolysis) on the packaging, which reveals just how much the protein bonds have been cleaved. The higher the value, the more digestible the resulting protein powder is, and the faster it reaches the muscle cells. This makes it the most popular type of protein powder among athletes whose goal is to regenerate their muscles as quickly as possible after a training. The protein powder with the highest degree of cleaved bonds is DH32. However, it typically has a slightly bitter taste, which may not suit everyone. The exemplary representatives of protein powders from this category are HydroFue and Hydro Whey DH 32.
4. Multicomponent whey protein powders
In this category, you can find proteins powders, which contain proteins from multiple sources. It is most often a combination of multiple types of whey protein powders, which include whey concentrate, isolate and hydrolyzate. Combining multiple types of protein powder into a multicomponent protein powder can result in better properties of the final protein powder. Typically, it is a combination of fast and slow release proteins. This allows for the creation of a protein powder with more complex properties, which all the demanding athletes will surely enjoy. The exemplary representative of protein powders from this category is Just Whey.
Who are whey protein powders suitable for?
- Strength or endurance athletes who want to promote muscle regeneration.
- Anyone who wants help with achieving an optimal protein intake.
- People who are trying to lose weight and need to increase their protein intake.
- Cooks who want to increase the protein content of their dishes.
- People recovering from injuries.
- Anyone who wants to provide their body with quality and affordable protein.
What is the optimal serving amount of whey protein powders?
In case of whey protein powders, the usual recommended serving amount ranges between 0.25 – 0.3 g of protein per kg of body weight. However, if you don't feel like pulling out your calculator every time, there is no harm in taking between 20 – 40 g of the protein blend. This corresponds to a more or less filled 30g measuring cup. The 40 g upper limit of protein intake will be especially appreciated by athletes who had a full body strength workout, which results in a higher demand for protein.
How to take whey protein powders?
- A classic way to take protein powders is to mix them together with water or milk and create a delicious drink to use after training or at any time of the day.
- They also taste great in oat or other porridges, which will benefit from the taste and a serving of necessary proteins.
- You can also add them to dough and create protein-packed desserts.
- Unflavoured protein powders are then the perfect choice for preparing savoury dishes, such as protein pizza.
- They can also be added to smoothies or coffee. This way, you can easily enrich these drinks with the necessary proteins.
Do you want to learn more about protein powders and how to choose the right one? Then you should definitely check out our article: Which Protein to Choose? Whey Concentrate, Isolate or Hydrolyzate?