There are several different considerations that factor into choosing the best whey protein powder. They include dietary goals, types of protein available, price and the nutritional makeup of the powder. There are many different whey protein powder products on the market, so a consumer can choose the one that is best for him.
The three basic types of whey protein powder on the market are concentrate, isolate and hydrolysate. Concentrates are the most common and least expensive. They are low in fat and cholesterol, but also contain a high level of lactose. The amount of protein per weight can vary widely by manufacturer and can be anywhere from 30 percent to 90 percent.
Isolates are generally considered superior to concentrates. Isolates are made by removing most of the fat and lactose, leaving a product that is at least 90 percent protein by weight. The body can absorb whey protein isolate more readily, in part because of the absence of lactose, which can interfere with the absorption process.
Hydrolysate whey protein powder is the most expensive of the three types. Hydrolysate is partially digested and hydrolyzed to aid with metabolizing. This type of protein is preferred by those who are sensitive to milk allergens or are lactose intolerant. Hydrolysate is often passed over in favor of isolates because of cost and a somewhat bitter taste.
Dietary goals are an important factor when choosing a whey protein. Many whey protein mixtures are high in calories and can contain a lot of carbohydrates and sugar, which can inhibit weight loss. Leaner mixtures, such as those found in isolates, may be a better choice for those attempting to lose weight. If the goal is to add muscle mass, however, calorie-rich mixtures that also are high in protein are called for. Endurance athletes normally look for a balance between carbohydrates and protein in their diets.
Another important aspect to consider when choosing a whey protein powder is the amount of amino acids present in the mixture. Amino acids are an essential part of muscle growth and repair and different whey protein products contain differing amounts of these acids. The most important amino acids to look for in great amounts when choosing whey protein are leucine and cysteine, though all of the amino acids are important.
Price is another factor when choosing the right whey protein product. Bodybuilders and those looking to add large amounts of muscle can consume three or more servings of protein supplement a day. Others only seek to supplement their normal diet with a single serving each day. Budgetary constraints also likely need to be weighed choosing the best product.