If you’re serious about your gym and fitness goals, you’re probably a fan of whey protein powder, widely considered the most nutritionally-complete protein supplement. However, you’ve no doubt noticed that whey protein comes in two major forms – whey protein concentrate (WPC) and whey protein isolate (WPI). So, what are they? What are their individual benefits? And most importantly, which one is best going to help you achieve the results you’re after? It’s one of the most common questions we get asked at INC Sports Nutrition and, while the differences between the two might be subtle, understanding what they are can be a critical component in assisting with your training and recovery.
First, a quick refresher on protein
But before we delve into WPC and WPI in more detail, let’s look at what protein actually does for your body and why it’s important, whether you’re building muscle, losing weight or wanting to recover rapidly from those challenging workouts.
Protein is the building block of your muscles, with numerous studies showing it not only helps increase muscle strength and mass but also repairs and protects lean muscle.
You get protein through eating whole foods such as meats, eggs, seafood, poultry and vegetables like broccoli and spinach but if you’re hitting the gym consistently or regularly working out, a high quality protein supplement can help ensure your body has the amount it needs. Whey protein is one of the most popular supplements because it is bioavailable (which means your body can use it easily), it’s packed with amino acids and it’s affordable. Three pretty powerful ticks.
How is whey protein powder made?
Whey is one of two protein compounds found in cow’s milk – the other being casein. When they’re separating milk to make cheese or yoghurt, dairy producers want the thicker part of the milk, known as the curds, which are made from the casein. The leftover, lighter liquid is the whey protein, which is dried into powder form.
Scientists have found taking protein rich with the amino acid leucine (abundant in whey) optimises muscle protein synthesis, a natural process where protein is used to repair muscle damage caused by intense exercise. Research also found that taking a protein supplement after working out is most important for people who train at night, because they’re not getting dietary protein overnight while they sleep.
The key characteristics of WPC and WPI
Once liquid whey has been separated from the curds, it goes through a filtration process to strip out much of the fat and lactose content.
While WPC and WPI have the same beginnings, the differences between them come down to the filtration and extraction process.
While WPC is micro-filtered once, WPI is filtered a second time removing more of the fats, carbs and sugars, meaning it is a purer and more refined whey protein than WPC.
Choose WPC if:
You’re just starting out with protein supplements and want an excellent value for money and slower-digesting protein that contains all 20 amino acids.
WPC is closest to the natural form of whey, contains small amounts of fats and carbs and has a higher lactose or dairy content than WPI.
That fact it takes longer to digest makes WPC ideal for those who want to feel fuller for longer – it’s great for a high protein snack between meals!
Choose WPI if:
You want to get a fast digesting protein into your body after a workout or are looking to restrict the number of calories you are consuming.
WPI has a high protein percentage and lower carb and fat percentage and is suitable for those who are lactose intolerant or have sensitive stomachs.
INC Sports Nutrition 100% Dynamic Whey and 100% WPI
INC 100% Dynamic Whey is an advanced protein source blending WPI with WPC to help meet the heavy demands of training. The protein sources are instantised for optimal absorption, with added digestive enzymes to support better digestion.
Ideal if you’re looking for fast training recovery and lean muscle growth, the blend of proteins ensures your muscles are provided with amino acids for several hours.
100% Dynamic Whey comes in a delicious range of flavours including chocolate, vanilla, cookies & cream and choc mint and has 26 grams of protein, three grams of carbs and two of fats.
INC 100% WPI is an ultra-filtered whey protein isolate of the highest quality with extremely low carbs and fats and 25 grams of protein, for lean muscle building benefits. Power loaded with BCCA’s and other essential amino acids, this formula supports muscle growth and recovery and is ideal if you’re wanting to optimise your post-workout recovery and if you’re someone who can’t tolerate lactose.
Both formulas are Informed Sports Certified – meaning that you can get on with your workout and recovery, knowing that you are using a product which has passed a rigorous certification process.
Made with 100 per cent New Zealand grass-fed whey and the highest quality ingredients, INC products are trusted and tested, nutritionally balanced and taste great too.
Now that you understand how to choose a whey protein that suits your particular needs, it’s time to get out there and start chalking up your gains.