Whey concentrate is actually a natural derivative of milk, commonly cow’s milk, and it is a by-product of when said milk, separates and begins to turn into cheese. When milk is turned into cheese, it separates into solids, known as curds, and liquids, which are known as whey. The liquid whey is then taken and pasteurized and filtered. It is then processed and flavoured, before finally becoming the common protein powder that we know and love to this day. Whey protein concentrate however, is considered cheaper than other protein supplements, due largely to the fact that the protein, depending on where you purchase it from, is around 70 – 85% pure protein. This means that the remaining 15 – 30% is made up of fats and carbohydrates. So, with each serving, you will receive 70 – 85% pure protein, and 15 – 30% fats and carbohydrates on average.
How is it used?
Whey concentrate is a rapid digesting, rapid absorbing protein that is essential for the growth and repair of muscle tissue. Because it is a rapid digesting protein, it is commonly used for two main reasons. The first reason is to simply provide the body with a quick and large dosage of protein and amino acids, which is obviously much easier than cooking and eating various high protein foods. The second, and most common reason why whey concentrate is used however, is because it is ideal for post-workout recovery. After we exercise, we need protein to kick-start the post-workout recovery process, so a post-workout shake, mixed with water for faster absorption, is extremely beneficial for anybody looking to build or maintain muscle mass.
What are the main benefits of Whey Concentrate?
There are a number of benefits associated with whey protein concentrate, and whilst listing them all may be a bit of a stretch, we can look at some of the most common and most important benefits. These include:
Whey concentrate is especially beneficial because it is so convenient. Protein is essential for us all, but for people on a high protein diet and looking to build muscle, getting enough protein in on a daily basis can be tough. One protein shake mixed with water however, takes seconds to make, seconds to drink, and there is very little cleaning up left for you to do. Not only that, but when one shake provides 30g+ of protein, you can’t really go wrong.
As mentioned, protein is essential for the growth and repair of muscle tissue, and without it, no matter how many weights you lifted, you simply would not be able to grow and build muscle of any kind. Whey protein is rich in essential amino acids and other nutrients that the muscles thrive upon, making it perfect for anybody trying to increase their lean muscle mass.
After we exercise, our muscles are actually primed in such a way as they can absorb more nutrients than they would in a rested state, and not only that, but they need certain nutrients in order to kick-start the recovery process. Whey concentrate is absorbed extremely quickly, so it can quickly make its way into the bloodstream and be delivered to the awaiting muscle cells, where it can help the post-workout recovery process to begin almost immediately.
Another benefit of many whey concentrates, is the fact that they taste so great, so you actually feel like you’re giving yourself a treat when you chug one down.
Popular types of Whey Concentrate
As mentioned, not all whey concentrates are created equally. Two of the most popular examples of whey concentrate include:
Basic Whey Protein Concentrate
As mentioned, basic Whey Protein Concentrate is derived from cow’s milk, and is generally around 70 – 85% protein per serving. It is rich in amino acids and other nutrients, and is a very affordable protein. As we’ve already covered basic whey protein a little earlier on, we’ll not go over the same things again
Grass-Fed New Zealand Whey Protein Concentrate
Grass-fed New Zealand Whey Protein Concentrate however, is considered to be of a much higher quality than regular whey protein concentrates, because of what the cows have been fed and grazing on when they produced the milk. Instead of being fed grains and corns, which will have been treated and grown with chemicals and pesticides, the New Zealand grass is instead all natural, so the cows themselves are eating a healthier diet. The protein is generally much purer, plus, it is enriched with far more omega 3 fatty acids, and Conjugated Linoleic Acid, or CLA, than milk that comes from grain-fed cattle. Put simply, the healthier the cow, the better quality the milk they produce will be, which means the better quality the whey protein will be.
All Natural Grass-Fed New Zealand Whey Protein Concentrate
The ultimate in naturally flavoured protein powder, All Natural Grass-fed New Zealand Concentrate not only brings all of the health benefits of New Zealand whey, but it is also sweetened with Stevia, an all-natural sweetener extracted from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant species.
Whey Concentrate VS Whey Isolate
Whey concentrates and whey isolates come from the same source (milk) and are produced in a very similar way. Whey Isolate however, undergoes additional filtration and processing and so more non-protein impurities are removed. Typically, a good quality whey concentrate will be around 85% pure protein, whereas whey isolates will be between 90 and 95% pure protein. Whey concentrates however, are still very beneficial, plus, they are more affordable.
Potential dangers and side effects
Generally speaking, whey concentrate is considered to be one of the safest supplements on the market today although you should still only use it as instructed, and not exceed the recommended daily dosage. Potential side effects could include:
Upset stomach, especially if you’re lactose intolerant
Damage to the kidneys and liver if you consume extremely high dosages
Calcium loss and brittle bones
Remember, always consult your doctor before taking any new supplement, and if you do notice any adverse side effects when taking a new supplement