ALVIN HO is COO of VitaCare Medical Group and co-founder of FITivate Pte Ltd. He is a certified fitness professional and was named Singapore’s 10 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness aged 40 and under, by SBR. Alvin strongly believes in the adage, “Prevention is better than cure”, and strives to help individuals attain optimal fitness through living an active and healthy lifestyle.
Following my previous feature on whey protein, I’ll now focus on the various types of whey protein, so that you would be better informed when choosing your next tub from the shelves.
Whey protein concentrate (WPC)
Whey concentrate is made through ultrafiltration, which removes a significant amount of lactose and fats while retaining larger molecules of protein. Typically, off the shelves whey concentrates usually contain about 70 per cent to 80 per cent protein. This source of whey protein is considered the most economical of the lot and can serve as a good option for those on a tight budget. However, people who tend to have a weak digestive system or lactose intolerance might want to stay away from this sort of whey, as it might cause bloating or diarrhoea due to the relatively-high levels of lactose in the powder mix.
Whey protein isolates (WPI)
This form of whey protein tends to be more expensive but has a significantly higher protein content than WPC. It is created through a more stringent filtration process that enables 90 per cent or higher protein content retention. WPI is also much lower in fat than WPC and contains little or no lactose, making it suitable for those who are lactose intolerant. Whey Isolates are also generally low in carbs and sugar, which make them ideal for those on a low-carb diet. Absorption rate for WPI is faster than WPC, which ensures nutrients are rapidly digested when consumed pre- or post-workout.
Hydrolysed whey protein
This is the highest grade and most expensive type of whey protein in the market. The production process involves breaking down long protein chains into shorter ones called peptides. Whey protein in this form is said to be more efficiently absorbed by the body than WPI and WPC. A study showed that hydrolysed whey protein is capable of accelerating muscle glycogen recovery more significantly than the other types of whey protein. Like WPI, it is also low in lactose and fat content.
Other sources of protein
The key advantage of casein protein is timing. It has the ability to release a consistent stream of amino acids to the body over a span of a few hours. This sort of protein is typically recommended to be taken before bedtime as it helps the body maintain a level of anabolism throughout the night. A study concluded that casein might also be able to aid in weight management. Participants who were given higher levels of casein protein in their diets reportedly experienced higher metabolic rates through their sleep cycles. They were also able to attain 33 per cent higher satiety levels during the day, which means that they were able to maintain a fuller stomach over longer periods.
Milk protein isolates/concentrate
This type of protein source is obtained through the membrane filtration of dairy proteins directly from fresh skim milk. This calcium-rich blend contains a similar casein and whey protein profile as that of skim milk. However, these are less popular and typically not as widely available in supplement stores as other protein sources.
Do seek appropriate medical advice before embarking on your protein supplementation, and take note that supplementation can have varying effects on different individuals. What works for one, might not be as effective when consumed by another.