the difference between cheap protein and high quality protein
The difference between cheap protein and high quality protein- The story is they are cheap for a reason.
Generally, most people understand that whey protein is the most efficient protein for muscle growth, but what has been muddied over the last few years (for sake of profit) is the fact that whey protein quality is the determining factor for how effective whey protein is at supplying nitrogen for muscle repair and growth. It goes way beyond just gulping down glass after glass of whey protein powder. In fact, doing this with the cheap whey protein can actually set back your progress as you have found. The money you think you save will actually end up costing you much more in the long run.
There are literally hundreds of processes that go into producing a high quality whey protein. There are probably about 5 processes that go into producing cheap whey protein. And the difference between a cheap whey and a high quality whey is night and day.
I’m going to touch on one very bad trait that all cheap whey proteins have in common. Now you certainly will not read this on the label and the manufactures of this feed-grade whey will not own up to it, but here’s the deal.
Commercially purchased whey protein comes in basically 3 concentration formats: 34% concentrate, 75-80% concentrate, and 90 plus percent isolate. What the manufacturers of the cheap whey protein supplements do is blend 34% concentrate, which costs less than 40 cents a pound (see how they sell it so cheap), with the 75% concentrate to achieve a protein concentration of about 50 to 60%. Forget about finding any isolate in there. Not a chance. Most of them also fudge on the label so the actual protein percentage is probably lower, but they know they are allowed a margin of error on the label so they take full advantage of it and claim the protein percentage to be higher than it really is. So what’s the other 50%? Lactose – milk sugar.
Now getting half lactose and half protein is bad enough, but here’s the real bad side to the actual protein portion that even the companies selling this stuff are most likely not even aware of. The whey is delivered to the processing plants as a liquid. It then goes through a filtering process to remove a percentage of the lactose. The higher the percentage of protein concentration yield the more extensive filtering process it must go through. This is an expensive process and goes up exponentially to the percent of protein yielded.
When the filtering is complete you’re left with a viscous liquid whey. The higher the percentage of protein the thicker the liquid. The 75-80% is like a gel, you can hold it in your hand. The 34% is a much thinner liquid. Because the 34% is very much a liquid it can not be cool dried like the higher protein concentration whey can. You guessed it, it must be heated to be dried. It’s literally boiled to burn off the excess liquid. And what happens when you heat whey protein? The delicate protein fractions become cross-linked and this cross-linking damages the unique functional properties of the native whey. This cross-linking is exactly what happens when you char meat on a grill.
Now this protein cross-linking is perfectly fine for what 34% whey is intended to be used for and that’s in food processing for things such as potato chips, cake mixes, crackers, processed meats etc. The functional properties of whey with regards to nitrogen delivery, cysteine modulation, antioxidant support, etc. do not matter when whey is used in things such as these. And that’s fine because the 34% whey (the kind that makes up a very large portion of the protein in the cheap whey protein powders) does not contain the unique techno-functional properties that high concentration whey proteins and whey isolates contain.
Sure, when you buy this cheap whey protein you’re getting “whey” protein, but you’re getting a very low percentage protein content and the percentage that is protein consists largely of cross-linked fractions that will have little effect on muscle growth. You cannot compensate for this cross-linked handicap that the cheap wheys impart by just consuming more. And as you have found out, the high percentage of lactose will inevitably cause you to put on body fat.
So when you think you are getting a good deal buying the cheap “whey protein” think again. The entire purpose of supplementing with protein is to feed your muscles a very efficient and effective nitrogen source to help repair and build muscle and to benefit from protein’s many unique physiological effects. You don’t get this with the low dollar, cross-linked, half lactose/half protein wheys no matter how hard the “gurus” selling it try to convince you.
So much for “all proteins are the same”. Shoveling down the half lactose – half protein concoctions masquerading as high quality protein will do little to assist in muscle growth.
As adapted from Elitefitness