Ask anyone who works out and takes a protein powder what type they are using and most likely their response will be “Whey protein.” Whey protein has been a staple supplement for years in the bodybuilding world and also in many other athletic events for those wanting to gain muscle for one simple reason – it works!

Some of the many benefits obtained from whey protein include:

· Increased muscle mass
· A full spectrum of the essential amino acids
· Faster muscle recovery
· May help you to lose fat faster
· Rich in branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s)

While whey protein may be marketed as a high quality protein, what many people don't realize is that there are different classes of whey protein, which can dramatically affect the quality that a consumer can end up with. If you are truly interested in getting the most bang for your buck, you really need to be aware of what type of whey protein you are purchasing.

First in these categories is whey protein concentrate. In order for a protein to be classified as whey protein concentrate, it needs to be at a percentage of anywhere from 29 to 88 percent protein by weight. The remainder in that huge gap ends up being lactose and fat. Because of this wide range, many companies use whey concentrate as the foundation for their protein powders. This way, they can use the lower percentages of protein and save money on manufacturing, all while passing an inferior product on to you.

A step up from whey protein concentrate is whey protein isolate. Whey isolate ranges from 88% + protein by weight. Clearly this is a more purified form of whey protein. Because of its higher manufacturing costs, many companies are reluctant to use whey protein concentrate as their primary ingredient. However, it is a better quality protein than whey concentrate. With the higher manufacturing costs, you should also expect to pay more for a whey protein isolate powder.

The top of the line in whey protein is whey protein hydrolysate. Basically, whey hydrolysate is pre-digested whey protein isolate. This pre-digestion is done through an enzymatic process in a laboratory. Whey hydrolysate is extremely bioavailable, meaning that your body can absorb almost all of it. On the down side, whey hydrolysate is very expensive to manufacture and has a very bitter taste. These negative aspects keep many companies from using hydrolysate in their protein powders. If you come across a protein powder that has hydrolysate as the first or second ingredient, rest assured that you have found one of the best whey proteins available.

Whey protein has been around for years and bodybuilders have been using it just as long to help them build muscle. It has even worked its way into mainstream sports because those athletes have found that they too can benefit from whey protein supplements. But clearly, not all whey protein powders are created equal. With your newfound protein knowledge, you should now be able to decipher which company may have the best protein for you. All you have to do is look at the ingredient label and decide whether or not what one company may advertise as the best whey protein, really is.

Author's Bio: 

Tim Mielke
Competitive Bodybuilder and Author

Tim Mielke has been involved in the supplement industry for over 15 years. As a former competitive body builder and personal trainer, Tim has extensive first-hand knowledge of the benefits and pitfalls of fitness supplementation. Knowledge so extensive, in fact, that his book, “The Book of Supplement Secrets: A Beginners Guide to Nutritional Supplements,” was recently published and is currently available through Tim brings this supplement and bodybuilding know-how to as a contributing author and researcher.