Whey protein has been popping up in a variety of nutritional supplements of late - and no wonder. It’s a complete protein that’s low in lactose content, contains all 9 essential amino acids, and can help you grow lean muscle mass by improving muscle protein synthesis. Whether you’re a powerlifter going for gains or just a casual gym-goer looking for a little more protein in your diet, it's the way to go. But, not all whey proteins are the same - we’ll take a look at three different types, each with different attributes. Let’s weigh them up and get you on your way to your best way to whey.
Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC)
Whey Protein Concentrate has been (surprise!) concentrated to contain mostly protein, with the rest made up of lactose (between 4-8%), minerals, fat and moisture. It’s also the easiest form of whey to flavour, so it’s used in a lot of the supplements you’ll find on nutrition and health food store shelves. But, buyer beware: the actual amount of protein in WPC varies wildly, so check every label. Any product using WPC34 is one to avoid: with only 34% protein, it’s higher in both lactose and fat, and is often used in cheaper, low-quality products. High-quality products will use WPC 80, with 80% protein and far smaller percentages of fat and lactose; it’s more expensive but you will absolutely get what you pay for so it's worth the investment.
Whey Protein Isolate (WPI)
The purest form of protein, Whey Protein Isolate is Whey Protein Concentrate that’s been further processed to remove even more fat and lactose. Different manufacturers favour different processing methods, but look out for techniques like ‘cross flow’, ‘cold filtered’ and ‘ion exchange’. WPI contains between 90-95% protein, so it will be a little more expensive - but it’s a great option for people with lactose intolerance because it has little-to-no lactose.
Milk Protein Isolate (MPI)
Milk Protein Isolate (MPI) is what’s left when you remove non-protein constituents like lactose and minerals from skim milk through a process like filtration or dialysis. The final product mirrors the protein ratio in milk with 20% whey and 80% casein, a slower digesting protein. That means MPI keeps you full for longer, and helps gain and maintain lean muscle. Clocking in at a whopping 85% protein, Milk Protein Isolate contains less than 3% fat, a high concentration of amino acids, few carbs, and almost no lactose.
To try all three of these in action, check out Progressive’s All In One WheyEssential!