Sometimes the simplest things in life turn out to be the most complicated issues, and that applies well to the process of shopping for a whey protein powder.
You may know that you need a protein powder to meet your weight loss or muscle-building goals, and you may easily determine that you want to try whey protein powder. It isn’t until you start shopping online or look at the inventory in your local stores that you realize there are different types of whey protein powder.
This is where the debate of whey protein isolate vs. whey protein concentrate comes into play. Going beyond that, where does hydro whey fit into this market? How doe you know what is best for your body and what will help you reach your goals faster?
It can be confusing if you don’t know the difference between these whey protein options, and that is the point of this page. Keep reading to learn what each of these terms mean so that you can make an educated decision when shopping for the best whey protein supplements.
What Is Whey Protein Concentrate?
Whey is a highly nutritious liquid that is created during the cheese-making process. This liquid is a byproduct, which means it is left behind once the cheese is fully formed. Rather than throwing it out, manufacturers now use the whey for high-protein supplements. This liquid that is originally created is called whey protein concentrate, and it contains a variety of alkalizing minerals, vitamins and lipids in addition to protein.
The amount of protein found in this liquid concentrate varies, but the co-nutrients also in the liquid are attractive to many health-minded people. While concentrate doesn’t contain as much protein as whey protein isolate, it has its place in the market due to the other nutrients that are not found in isolate powders.
What Is whey Protein Isolate?
Whey protein isolate is created when whey concentrate is filtered. The filtration process isolates the protein from the other nutrients found in the whey naturally. The result is a pure protein powder that contains more protein than standard whey concentrate without the lactose, fat and calories contained in whey concentrate.
While whey isolate goes through more processing than whey concentrate, it is often considered the best form of protein for muscle building because it offers a lot of protein for very few calories and fat grams. It is also extremely low in lactose which is an advantage to lactose intolerant users.
What Is Hydro Whey?
Hydrolyzed or hydro whey is whey protein isolate that is processed even further. The protein is broken down into smaller pieces which are easier for the body to absorb. The goal is to create a protein that is rapidly absorbed into the body. Whey protein is absorbed and utilized faster than casein and other types of protein anyway, but hydrolyzed whey delivers even more immediate results. This makes it ideal if you want to replenish your muscles with protein and amino acids immediately after an intense muscle-building workout.
The Best Whey Protein for Weight Loss
Whey protein supplements can help you reach your weight loss goals in multiple ways:
- Serve as a protein-rich base for homemade meal replacement shakes
- Support muscles for fast recovery after intense workout sessions
- Help maintain satiety between meals
- Serve as a quick, healthy snack or meal when healthy options are not available
- Increase protein consumption for a protein-rich diet
Most people with weight loss goals will use whey protein isolate because it is generally lower in fat, calories and carbohydrates. You can also get more protein from an isolate than a concentrate. The vitamins and minerals found in whey concentrate may be beneficial, but the nutritional profile of most whey isolate supplements is more attractive to those trying to restrict calories while increasing protein intake.
You shouldn’t worry about hydrolyzed whey supplements when losing weight, unless you are completing intense workouts and use your protein shakes to recover. If you are using your shakes as meal replacements or snacks, standard whey protein isolate will be absorbed fast enough for your body’s needs.
The Best Whey Protein for Muscle Building
Now for the big debate: whey protein isolate vs. whey protein concentrate for muscle-building goals. There are advocates for both of these whey protein supplements, and many prefer to use supplements that contain at least some hydro whey as well. The argument for whey protein isolate is that it contains pure protein, which is exactly what tired, ripped muscles need after a hard workout.
The argument for whey concentrate is that it contains co-nutrients that are just as beneficial to muscle growth as the protein. Further, many whey concentrate powders contain just as much protein per serving as most whey protein isolate powders. Whey concentrate may have more fat, lactose and calories, but it is also nutritionally dense compared to whey isolate, which has had its nutrients filtered out.
Which side you take may depend on your overall health and fitness goals. If you are building muscle and toning up but are also watching calorie and fat intake in order to burn fat and lose weight, you may go with whey isolate. If you want to gain weight or bulk up, then you can handle the extra caloric intake that comes with some whey concentrate protein powders.
Hydro whey is only necessary if you endure intense muscle-building workouts and want an effective after-workout shake. You may also balance this out with a scoop of casein protein powder which will deliver protein to your muscles gradually hours after your workout. Some protein powders combine whey and casein for short, medium and long-term protein delivery.
So, whey protein isolate vs. whey protein concentrate and hydro whey? There are advantages to all of these forms of whey protein. You have to think about your goals and what you expect your protein powder to do for your body in order to make an educated decision for your body.