The Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) may be the most sold product from the Sport Supplementation, thanks to its properties, benefits and results among its consumers.
Whey proteins exceed the quality of other sources, such as egg or meat in terms of its amino acids profile, where we find a large amount of BCAAs (branched chain amino acids), essential amino acids (BCAAs also belong to this group), while also being the protein with the highest biological index, meaning its degree of absorption and utilisation by the body will be higher.
It can be ingested before and after workouts, when you wake up with breakfast, or between meals. It is a nutritional tool through which we can meet the stipulated daily protein macronutrient requirements according to our nutritional profile.
It has qualities that make it suitable for any type of diet: high protein percentage, low in calories, with a small quantities of sugars, fats and cholesterol, and aids: increasing muscle mass, or preserves it while cutting.
It is generally marketed in powder form to be mixed with fluids, preferably water, although milk or juice can also be used (with a consequent increase in calories). The flavour is a matter of personal taste, as it can be used as a part of any type of shake.
Where does Whey Protein Concentrate come from?
Whey protein concentrate comes from industrial milk processes, specifically the development of cheese. In this process, the milk is separated into its two component parts, which are 80% casein and 20% whey. It is from the latter that protein concentrated is extracted, one of its most important quallities being the rate of absorption.
Whey Protein Concentrate quality
When analysing the quality of WPC, we have a number of factors which we need to assess.
Protein consists of chains of amino acids, of which there are mainly two types: essential and non-essential. The first group is the really relevant one, given its status as "essential", which indicates that our organism cannot synthesise them, and therefore need an external contribution through the diet or by using whey protein concentrate. WPC is a complete protein because it incorporates all essential amino acids.
Each of the non-essential amino acids can be obtained from the essentials, so it is an important priority to include a large concentration of the essentials, or EAAs.
Among their essential functions are: synthesis of hormones, neurotransmitters, haemoglobin and enzymes, regulation of the metabolism, creation of new muscle tissue, maintenance of liver function, the nervous system, and the brain...
Biological Value (BV) is rated from 100 to 0, which indicates how efficiently our body absorbs protein, which means it measures the percentage of protein that is actually incorporated into the proteins in the human body.
Here we see a comparative table which shows protein sources each with their BV:
WPC actually exceeds 100, which is the value assigned to eggs and was used as a reference point in this scale of percentages, until whey was studied later.
The importance of BV is that the higher the rate, the more complete the protein, and without possessing any deficit or limiting amino acid (as it is the case with lysine in some vegetable proteins), and is therefore closer to the body's needs. In addition, unlike fat and carbohydrates, amino acids are stored, not excreted. So although one could eat a lot of protein from low BV sources, it would not be at all efficient.
Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acids Score by (PDCAAs)
The Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acids score is another indicator of the quality of WPC protein. The digestibility of the protein is taken into account, which is the total amount of protein that will be absorbed after the digestion process. A food must have all the essential amino acids in the amounts required to be considered a good source of protein. Therefore, only the amino acid with presence in food is taken into account to obtain a PDCAAS.
The highest PDCAAS value is 1.0, which indicates that 100% of the essential amino acids per unit of protein will be usable after digestion. WPC has such a value.
Denatured protein is a protein that after having been processed and made ready for final consumption, contains fractions in their raw state, without having lost any of their original properties. Depending on the manufacturing methods used, WPC may end up with a higher content of these protein fractions than those that have not been denatured.
The CFM or Cross Flow Microfiltration process practically ensures the integrity of these nutrients.
These protein fractions possess a wide variety of benefits for human health, such as: antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agents, strengthening of the immune system and enhancing the absorption and transport of iron. In this group one can find: Lactoferrin, Glycomacropeptide, Immunoglobulins, Alpha-lactalbumin (alpha-lac) and Beta lactoglobulin (beta-lac) and Lactoperoxidase.
Properties of Whey Protein Concentrate
The main properties of WPC are:
Support for the growth of lean mass
Increased protein synthesis
What are Whey Protein Concentrates for?
WPC can be taken at any time of the day and is important to support recovery, regeneration and muscle growth, especially before intense workouts.
Protein is the key macronutrient for life, along with essential fatty acids, and water. In such a scenario we must provide a quantity of dietary protein proportionate with our requirements, in order to support the organism in its tissue regeneration work and "protein turnover". In addition, the amino acids that constitute the protein must live up to these requirements.
Increasing Muscle Mass
Those seeking to improve their physique by increasing the size and volume of the muscles can make use of WPC as a tool to help achieve their goals. This protein will provide the full spectrum of amino acids, being especially rich in BCAAs, and specifically in the amino acid L-Leucine, which has the unique property of being able to activate the protein synthesis pathway (mTOR), which is a physiological framework that starts up the machinery that generates new muscle tissue.
Improving Body Composition
This process fundamentally involves two objectives: reducing fat and maintaining muscle mass. With regard to the first point, it is necessary to follow a regimen which involves a calorific deficit, so that the organism emphasises the use of stored fat. For the second objective you will need to supplement the lack of calories through an increase in the provision of proteins, in order to avoid losing muscle mass as a result. WPC provides an adequate dose of amino acids, especially glutamine, which has important anti-catabolic properties (reduces the degradation of muscle tissue).
Differences between Whey Concentrate and Isolate
When buying a protein, the majority of consumers have the same question, "...Concentrated or Isolated? "
Both the concentrate (WPC) and the isolate (WPI) are excellent sources of proteins that can meet the daily protein needs for everyone, providing a splendid aminogram with high concentrations of essential amino acids (EAAs), branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), as well as glutamine and its precursors.
Both also have a high absorption rate, making them very worthwhile to take, either before or just after training, or in both circumstances. Naturally, they can be taken at any time of the day when our dietary commitments require an extra dosage of protein.
On the other hand, in terms of purity and composition, we could perhaps opt for WPI, since its preparation method allows for a highly-refined product, with trace amounts of carbohydrates and fat, no lactose and of course containing the highest percentage of protein.
However, the difference between the two is not that great, so both will therefore work in any dietary regimen.
One contentious point is the texture and flavour of the protein, which according to majority opinion tends to be more pleasant in the case of WPC.
As a final conclusion, one could say that WPC may be the best option, when weighing up Price versus Quality.
Comparison between Whey Concentrate and Isolate
High levels of amino acids (glutamine, BCAAs, EAAs)
Higher percentage of proteins
Fewer carbohydrates and fats
Better Price/Quality ratio
How to take Whey Protein Concentrate and what to combine it with?
There are lots of possible ways to take WPC and it combines well with other supplements, or in certain recipes.
How to take WPC?
The best times to take proteins from whey protein concentrate are:
On an empty stomach
Before and/or after an exercise session
However, as we have seen that WPC is a very nutritional protein supply, the times when it can be taken can also include any of those indicated by our specific diet plan. For instance, it can be taken during fasting, at breakfast, as a mid-morning snack or even as an evening snack or before sleeping. Although in this last case other options would be more ideal, such as sequential proteins or casein.
What does WPC combine with?
With Carbohydrates: We can combine carbohydrates with protein in the same shake, at a ratio of 1:1 or 2:1 in favour of carbohydrates. The best moments to take these would be before or after training.
With Creatine: creatine is an excellent ergogenic aid to improve athletic performance. It can be added directly to the protein smoothie. The method of taking this will vary, depending on whether or not we are doing a loading phase or taking a maintenance dosage, which is composed of 1g of creatine for every 10kg of bodyweight.
Fat Reducer Products: these products are designed for fat loss, as part of a hypocalorific diet. Our main purpose with protein is to provide enough to avoid loss of muscles mass.
With Natural Anabolics: especially for training phases where we are looking to increase volume, part of which is to optimise hormone secretion. Protein will provide amino acids to support the growth of muscle mass.
With Vitamin and Mineral Products: the supply of micronutrients is extremely important, given that they are necessary and essential reagents and cofactors in different metabolic reactions occurring in our bodies, and of course in the synthesis of proteins.
Evowhey stands out from the rest, and is available in 3 different formats (500 g, 2 and 4 kg), as well as a wide range of flavours (up to 34!), with a smooth texture. It is enriched with BCAAs and glutamine, is low in calories, and the ideal companion for anyone looking to establish healthy habits.