Whey Protein Types

Discussions around whey protein types can be confusing when the virtues of one type over another type are debated. And when different filtering processes like micro-filtered, ultra-filtered, nano-filtered, cross-flow filtered, etc. are thrown into the mix, it becomes more confusing.

Whey protein is a byproduct of the cheese-making process.

High Quality Whey Protein

The secret to a high quality biological active product is to maintain the whey protein in their natural undenatured state. This means that the fragile protein peptides are not damaged or destroyed during processing and their structures preserved as found in nature.

Many of the benefits of whey depend upon the protein being maintained in its natural undenatured state.

Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC)

The amount of protein in whey protein concentrate can vary between 25-89%. Low percentage (30-40%) WPC products are generally used by the food industry for baking or as an additive to provide nutritional value.

The whey protein powder supplements that you find on retail shelves or online usually contain 70-80% whey protein with the remainder being lactose (4-8%), fat, minerals, and moisture. Higher percentages are achieved through ultra-filtration processes that remove much of the lactose leaving more whey protein.

Whey Protein Isolate (WPI)

Additional processing of the whey protein concentrate produces whey protein isolate. Isolate is a very pure form of whey protein containing more than 90% protein with minimal lactose and virtually no fat. Since it has little lactose it is a good choice for people with high lactose intolerance.

Although WPI is high in whey protein, the processing methods must use low temperatures and low acid conditions in order not to damage and denature the protein.

Isolates can be divided into sub-types based upon the method of processing. For example, Cross-Flow Micro filtration (CMF), micro filtation (MF), radial flow chromatography (RFC), reverse osmosis (RO), ion-exchange chromatography (IEC), dynamic membrane filtration (DMF), ultra filtration (UF), electro-utra filtration (EU) and nano filtration (NF). These will be discussed in more detail on future pages.

Hydrolyzed Whey Protein

Hydrolyzed whey is the most refined protein powder. Some of the whey proteins have been broken down into shorter chains called peptides. This makes the whey protein more easily absorbed by the body and may reduce the potential for allergic reactions.

Hydrolyzed products are quite a bit more expensive than other types of whey and have a very bitter taste. A high quality product may contain up to 20% hydrolyzed protein, however it may not be listed on the label.

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"Whey protein is the highest quality of proteins because it contains the perfect combination of overall amino acids."


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