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Different Forms of Whey Protein Powder


Whey protein concentrate - This product is white/light cream in colour and has a clean, neutral flavour. It is manufactured in such a way that the final dry product has a minimum of 25% protein. Many whey protein concentrates on the market now can contain between 70-80% protein. As the amount of protein found in the product increase, the proportion of fat and carbohydrate decreases. Nonprotein parts of the whey are physical separated, e.g. by filtration, precipitation or dialysis.

Whey protein isolate - This is white/cream coloured and has a clean, neutral flavour. It contains about 90% or more protein, and very little, if any, fat or carbohydrates. It is manufactured by separation techniques, again for example, filtration, ion exchange, precipitation or dialysis.

Hydrolyzed whey protein - This is whey protein that has had some of its large protein chains (peptides) broken down into smaller chains by use of enzymes. The amount of hydrolysis ranges from 5-30% between products. The advantage of hydrolyzed protein is that since it is partially broken down, it rapidly digested and is easily absorbed by the body. The disadvantage is that it tastes bitter. The more hydrolyzed the protein, the more bitter the taste. Generally hydrolyzed whey protein supplements are no more than about 20% hydrolyzed due to the bad taste and extra production costs.

Below is a table comparing 100 grams of a sample of whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate and hydrolyzed whey products. It is to illustrate the relative amounts, in grams, of protein, fat and carbohydrates in different products.

    Protein Fat Carbs
  Whey protein concentrate #1 78.7 7.0 6.0
  Whey protein concentrate #2 84.7 10.6 7.1
  Whey protein isolate #1 88.3 1.0 0.7
  Whey protein isolate #2 84.5 1.0 0.7
  Hydrolyzed whey protein #1 80.0 1.7 5.3
  Hydrolyzed whey protein #2 84.7 1.8 3.5

The following table shows the amount of fat and carbohydrates per each gram of protein, for the products listed above.

  Per 1 g Protein in: Fat Carbs
  Whey protein concentrate #1 0.01 g 0.1 g
  Whey protein concentrate #2 0.01 g 0.1 g
  Whey protein isolate #1 0.01 g 0.01 g
  Whey protein isolate #2 0.01 g 0.08 g
  Hydrolyzed whey protein #1 0.01 g 0.1 g
  Hydrolyzed whey protein #2 0.01 g 0.02 g

As you can see, individual products will vary, so it is important to look at the label to see its composition.