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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Whey Protein Isolates vs Whey Protein Concentrates

 I've been concerned about the long term effects of (daily) whey protein powder consumption for awhile.  The research has led me to many debates about quality of sources, contaminants, types of processing etc... But looking at this issue from a purity standpoint (and discounting cost) I have concluded:

1.   Whey protein ISOLATES have the highest amount of protein by weight at 90% or greater and    lowest in lactose, carbohydrates and fat.

2.    Whey protein CONCENTRATES are less processed, but not necessarily less pure from a contamination standpoint; although the methods used to concentrate the protein portion leaves more fat, lactose and carbohydrate intact.  These amounts vary but a concentrated whey powder may contain between 25% and 89% whey protein.

Milk is a highly nutritious beverage, however it only contains about 1% of whey protein. In order to get all the benefits of whey protein, you need to take a concentrated whey protein powder like whey protein isolate.

 There may be a major difference in the quality of whey protein based upon the following factors:
  • Source of Milk
  • Production Method
  • Type of Cheese Produced
  • Individual Manufacturer Specifications
  • Added Ingredients

 Hydrolyzed whey protein is still a high quality protein however, it is less likely to cause an allergic reaction than non-hydrolyzed whey protein. It is most commonly used in infant formulas and specialty protein supplements for medical use.

 Individuals with lactose intolerance should select a pure whey protein isolate, which has less than 0.1 gram of lactose per tablespoon (20 grams). This is less lactose than the amount found in a cup of yogurt and research has shown that most people with lactose intolerance have no trouble taking this very small amount of lactose. 

Individuals with lactose intolerance should avoid whey protein CONCENTRATES as they usually contain lactose and the amount can vary greatly from product to product.

 Is whey protein good for athletes and people who exercise?

 Whey protein is a high quality, complete protein, with all the essential amino acids. Whey protein is also the richest known source of naturally occurring branched chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine and valine). These are important for active individuals, individuals who exercise and professional athletes. The body requires higher amounts of branched chain amino acids during and following exercise as they are taken up directly by the skeletal muscles versus first being metabolized through the liver, like other amino acids. Low BCAA levels contribute to fatigue and they should be replaced in one-hour or less following exercise or participation in a competitive event.

Ion Exchange vs. Cross-Flow Microfiltration:

 Different processing techniques among whey protein isolates result in surprisingly varied protein profiles.
Two isolate processing techniques are ion exchange and cross-flow micro filtration.

Ion Exchange:

 It yields the highest protein levels of any whey processing method (on a gram-for-gram basis), but don't be fooled. Ion-exchange isolates, like many concentrates, have sacrificed biological activity for quantity.
Ion-exchange isolates are made by running concentrates through what is called an ion exchange column, which separates proteins based on their electrical charge. During this process, many valuable and health-promoting components of whey are selectively depleted or completely lost.  One of these is glycomacropeptide, or GMP. In its place, ion-exchange isolates give you an increased concentration of the protein subfraction beta-Lactoglobulin (beta-Lac) - known as whey's least interesting and most allergenic subtraction.

Cross-Flow Microfiltration:

 In direct contrast to ion exchange, cross-flow microfiltration produces the highest level of undenatured protein available among WPIs. It's a delicate process which comes quite close to the protein concentration levels of ion exchange, while keeping the valuable "extras" that ion exchange discards.
Instead of using destructive chemicals, cross-flow microfiltration uses filters to separate protein from undesirable fat, cholesterol and lactose, based on molecular size and shape. The low-temperature process isolates the native protein of whey at its biologically natural pH, carefully preserving its biological activity. GMPs and other immune-boosting components remain in tact.

 Whereas ion exchange keeps only some of whey's biologically active components, cross-flow microfiltration sustains a more complete protein profile-one of optimal balance, as found naturally in whey. There are virtually no denatured proteins, a superior amino acid profile, more calcium and less sodium. WPIs derived from cross-flow microfiltration are widely advocated as the very best source of whey protein.

The 9 Essentials to Look For in Your Whey Protein Powder
by Dr. Mercola
  1. All-natural, grass fed cows' whey, NOT pesticide-treated, grain-fed cows' whey
Compared to grain-fed cows, grass fed cows produce whey that:
    • Is nutritionally superior to grain fed
    • Contains an impressive amino acid and immuno-supportive nutrient profile
    • Is rich in healthy fats--lipolic acid and CLA (conjugated linoleum acid
    • Hormone-free Cows, NOT hormonally-treated cows
Many American dairy farmers inject the hormone rBGH in dairy cows to increase milk production. This hormone has been linked to serious disease and illness, including cancer. Choose whey made from hormone-free cows.
  1. Cold processed, NOT heat processed
Most whey is heat processed which:
    • Makes the whey acidic and nutritionally deficient
    • Damages the immuno-supportive micronutrients and amino acids
    • Makes whey inadequate for consumption
Cold processed whey protects the nutrients in their natural state.
  1. Acid-free processing, NOT Acid / Ion Exchange Processing
Acid / Ion Exchange Processing is cheaper than acid-free processing, but it denatures the amino acid profiles by using acids and chemicals to separate the whey from the fats.
  1. Whey protein concentrate, (NOT protein isolates)
Protein isolates are proteins stripped away from their nutritional cofactors. There are three problems with that...
    • All isolates are exposed to acid processing.
    • Your body cannot assimilate proteins in isolated form.
    • Due to over-processing, isolates are deficient in key amino acids and nutritional cofactors.
  1. Sweetened naturally, NOT artificially, and low carb
Most whey products are artificially sweetened making them useless if you have sugar sensitivities, or just don't want to put artificial sweeteners or flavors into your body.
Your whey should be low glycemic, low carb and should not contain any artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohol, glycerin, fructose, sugar or gluten.
  1. Maximum biological value, NOT compromised or damaged
Most whey proteins provide some benefit. But, due to the ingredients, the source of the whey, the concentration of beneficial nutrients, or the type of processing, many whey products simply don't deliver what they promise.
You want whey that's guaranteed to retain its maximum biological value -- one with all the key amino acids, cofactors and beneficial micronutrients present and intact rather than compromised or damaged, and not missing any amino acids or essential nutrients.
  1. Easy to Digest, NOT Causing Digestive Stress
Many whey products contain long-chain fatty acids which are hard to digest and require bile acids to absorb.
You want a whey protein powder with medium chain triglycerides (MCT). These are easily absorbed, digested quickly, and utilized as energy without causing digestive stress.
Ideally, you want a product in which the MCT come from the best source of all -- coconut oil.
  1. Free from Toxic Heavy Metals or at Such Low Levels NOT to be a Health Risk
Many protein powders both whey and non-whey could contain dangerous levels of heavy metals like mercury, lead, cadmium, and arsenic.
A recent Consumer Reports' evaluation showed some leading brands of protein powders exceeded United States Pharmacopoeia's (USP) recommended safety limits for certain heavy metals.
You want to avoid these products at all costs because any high concentration of heavy metals taken over time could lead to serious health consequences.
Miracle Whey™ is the result of years of development.
Take a look at just a few of the benefits you'll receive when you supplement your daily diet with Miracle Whey:
*    Made from all-natural grass fed cows' whey, providing more of nature's nutrients
*    Is certified free of GMO ingredients, pesticides, and chemicals, protecting you from the damaging effects of chemicals and hormones*
*    Is cold processed, and never processed with acid chemicals, thereby retaining all its natural goodness
*    Provides all key amino acids, so you get all the protein building blocks your body needs*
*    Retains maximum biological value with beneficial micronutrients intact*
*    Contains the highest concentration of leucine of any dairy product, said to increase energy levels and support building of muscle mass*
*    Contains water-soluble fiber, which supports healthy blood sugar levels* and prebiotic properties*
*    Contains 25% or more glycomacropeptides for immune support, high energy, muscle building and recovery after exercise*
*    Contains MCTs from all-natural coconut oil for easy digestion and fast energy*
*    Rich in gl
*    Contains all whey microfructures, immunoglobulins and lactoferins, promoting your healthy immune function and healthy flora balance*
*    No sugar, sugar alcohol or artificial sweeteners added that detract from the positive benefits of whey.
*    Includes the same immuno compounds that are found naturally in human breast milk -- responsible for providing newborns with their immune defense*
*    Promotes satiety, so compulsive craving for refined carbs and sweets is curbed*
*    Comes in your choice of six delicious flavors with no aftertaste like some powders on the market. Available in vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, blueberry, banana and peanut butter (made from all-organic peanuts)

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