1. It is a top quality protein source
Whey protein contains all of the 20 amino acids in good proportion. This makes it a superior source of protein compared to many plant protein sources as your body needs to get nine of these amino acids from the diet as it can’t synthesize them itself.
Other good protein sources include:
- Meat and poultry
- Soy (but I would steer clear of it)
- Quinoa (it has all of the essential amino acids but not all of the 20)
2. It promotes muscle growth
If you asked most people who take whey why they did it, this would probably be their answer. Combined with strength training and a good diet will build muscle however getting enough quality protein can be difficult and expensive. Let’s face it, whey is easy and delicious.
3. It is high in cysteine
Cysteine is an amino acid which is semi-essential (the body can make it itself). This means that you only need to get it from your diet if your body can’t synthesize it. Even if you don’t have any problems with cysteine production getting some from your diet may help control blood sugars and support your digestive health. It is also involved in the production of glutathione.
4. Glutathione helps boost the immune system
Glutathione is often referred to as the mother of all antioxidants. It is very important to the immune system as it helps your immune system fight off attacks and it brings your body back to a normal balance.
Which type should I choose?
Whey protein concentrate contains relatively low levels of fat and carbohydrates and the protein content can range from 30%-90%.
Whey protein isolate contains extremely low levels of fat and carbohydrates and it is usually more than 90% protein.
Whey protein hydrolysate has undergone partial hydrolysis which means that it has already been “partially digested”.
If you are supplementing your diet with whey protein, then a hydrolysate probably isn’t necessary. Whey protein hydrolysate is best to have immediately after a workout as it is very quickly absorbed by the body because of the partial hydrolysation process.
When choosing whether to have a concentrate or an isolate there are 2 main factors that you should consider: your goals and price.
Whey isolate contains less fat, carbohydrates, lactose and usually calories than concentrate however the extra filtering process involved in making it means that it is usually more expensive.
Isolate is probably slightly better but not significantly. You need to decide whether the small benefits are worth paying for.