One of the first and (in my opinion) most important supplements (even though it’s not really a supplement) is whey protein. Ask any gym noob, when they “start at the gym” they’re “on the protein”. Whey protein seemingly has an air of notoriety that when you’re “on it” it’ll help you grow and get lean and basically cause a massive body composition shift.
It doesn’t. Obviously. Well not quite like that…
What it is though is a very highly absorbable source of protein, which is generally low in carbohydrates and low in fat content. It digests easily (to most people… see below), tastes great (if you choose a quality brand) and is very versatile… Whey can be cooked with, frozen, drank, mixed into yogurts – all sorts of things.
If you’re reading this I’d hazard a guess you’ve used whey protein at some point in your life. In fact, you most definitely will have without even realising. Whey protein is in a lot of products, including baby formulas!
So how is whey made? From milk… Milk is made of two proteins: casein and whey. Whey protein can be separated from the casein in milk or formed as a by-product of cheese making. As I said, whey is very absorbable and is considered a complete protein as it contains all 9 essential amino acids. It is low in lactose content.
You’ve probably noticed there’s are different types of whey… in particular whey concentrate and whey isolate. So what’s the difference? Which do you buy? Why is one cheaper than the other?
Very simply – it comes down to the filtration process and the protein yield. Whey isolate is generally 90%-95% protein content whereas whey concentrate is 82%-90%. This means whey isolate will have more protein and less carbs/fats per serving and therefore less lactose (milk sugar).
So if you need less fat, less carbs, more protein and are having digestion issues – whey isolate is the one you need. The price will be higher though.
Some people really cannot stomach lactose at all. I saw a figure a while ago that around 70% of adults are lactose intolerant, but a lot don’t even realise it. What this means is that as we grow older our ability to digest lactose is reduced, and dairy products may cause digestion discomfort, inflammation in the gut and ultimately bloating and stomach discomfort. Reducing lactose will generally eradicate all digestion issues and allow the individual to enjoy the benefits of whey products.
CNP’s ProIsolate uses Native Pro whey and has 95% protein content meaning it is of the HIGHEST quality available. A standard 30g serving takes about 200ml of water, so practically just a mouthful! ProIsolate is specially manufactured to minimise the level of lactose, and furthermore CNP have added lactase enzyme to support the breakdown of any remaining lactose. This makes ProIsolate suitable for anyone with a lactose intolerance. Bonus!
For me, I use ProIsolate within two phases of the year – when I’m off season, hating life having to eat, because 200-400ml of water and I’ve taken in a meal’s worth protein without the hassle of eating and then also pre-contest when I’m really trying to reduce calories from carbs/fats. Any other time I use ProPeptide.
One thing I hear so much is “don’t use supplements, use real food”. Well, I’m sorry to burst your bubble you old dinosaur, but whey IS a real food… it’s derived from milk. On top of this:
- It digests better than meat
- Contains less fat (and carbs) than most other food sources (flavour depending)
- Can be stored at room temperature
- Doesn’t need to be cooked or prepared
- Doesn’t go off (like foods)
- Tastes way better than a chicken breast ever will! (personal opinion!)
It’s always handy to have a tub of whey to keep around in case you are unable to get food in, whether in meetings, or on the road, or away. It’s always a good fall-back source of protein.
In a nut shell, those gym noobs are right (kinda) – if you’re in the gym, and really trying to advance your physique, taking advantage of a quality whey protein is hugely advantageous.
So yeah – take home message: “Get on the protein”!