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Which Whey to Go: Quality Differences in Protein
In the world of dietary supplements and functional foods there are many choices in terms of product quality, and whey protein is no exception.
There are two main types of whey protein used in protein drink formulations:
Whey protein concentrates have managed to improve over the years, as originally they were only 40% protein. Today, 80% concentrates are available. The disadvantage of them is that all lactose is not filtered out (which is problematic for some) and some saturated fat and cholesterol remain. In addition, the higher the protein concentrate in the raw material, the greater the cost (compared even to the finest whey protein isolates).
Whey protein isolate is routinely produced to a level of 90% protein. It is made by various methods and leads to different quality of protein in the final product. Ion exchange filtration uses acid processing, damages protein molecules, and leads to an inferior product (the raw material tastes bitter). Older filtration technology that is not ion exchange churns out a “fast food” finished product that is lower in cost and also quite bitter tasting. An off-tasting raw material is a sign of damaged protein molecules, requiring excessive flavoring to cover up the poor quality. Of course, a 5 pound bucket of this whey protein is dirt cheap and you get exactly what you pay for.
At Wellness Resources we use the finest quality micro filtration product available, produced using state-of-the-
This raw material protein powder is not bitter and even tastes quite “clean.” In fact, it is so good that we make it available in its raw material form for those who want nothing else but the protein powder (this is our Daily Protein – Unflavored). The raw material comes from U.S. cows, free of growth hormones and antibiotics. There are no pesticide residues in the final product.
I should point out that there is no such thing as organic whey protein. I’ve looked into making it. Even if the raw material were available consistently, which it is not, production costs would be close to triple our current product – too expensive for anyone to buy.
Thus, we settle for the very best raw material in America made in the best production facility in the world with the most advanced equipment. We then take that raw material and mix it with fantastic fibers and high potency antioxidants (such as pure organic cocoa with no sugar, pure organic vanilla, or mangosteen) – giving you a well rounded meal of protein, fiber, and antioxidants (these are the Daily Protein Plus products). These are the ultimate products on the market today for the discerning users of whey protein.
Nevertheless, others try to compete, sometimes making blatantly false statements. For example, a product line based on whey protein concentrate recently warned against taking whey protein isolate claiming that “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.”
All statements in this used-car sales pitch are false, unless you are talking about ion exchange products. Of course, no evidence is provided to demonstrate the points. Tracking down the source of this misinformation it could readily be found on the website of the raw material supplier, once again with no documentation.
The science on whey protein isolates tells a different story. It is proven that whey protein isolates are easy to absorb. It is proven that they boost cellular glutathione, the key antioxidant enzyme in your body. It is proven that they can enhance body composition. It has been demonstrated that they can even help liver function improve in difficult metabolic situations. Whey protein isolate is a superior form of whey protein.
The used-car sales pitch for the whey protein concentrate contained a long list of ½ truths and exaggerations, and the actual product ingredient label could only be found with a microscope at the bottom of the page (hiding something?). Yes, it turns out that the promoted whey protein concentrate was only part of the protein in the product. The rest was non fat dry milk and regular sweet whey (also containing lactose, fat, and cholesterol)
But that cost cutting was not passed on to the consumer, to the contrary. If you are gullible enough to fall for the hype, then you will find you are paying 225% more (based on the “sale” price), gram for gram, for this watered-down protein product – compared to the finest quality whey protein isolate on the market today.
At Wellness Resources we take great pride in each and every one of our outstanding product formulations. We have set the quality standard for dietary supplements that many companies seek to emulate - we are flattered. Our product line forms a comprehensive system of natural wellness that has evolved over a twenty-year period working on the front lines of clinical nutrition. As a family business, our priority is your health.
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Wellness Resources is a family owned nutritional supplement company based in Minneapolis, MN. The founder, Byron Richards, CCN is the author of "Fight for Your Health: Exposing the FDA's Betrayal of America."