Whey protein is a very valuable source of nutrition for athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and anyone who wants to gain solid, lean muscle mass. Protein blends also provide nutrition, but they do in a more wholesome and complete manner. When it comes to a protein blend vs whey alone, understanding the differences can help you make better choices.
What Is Whey Protein?
During the cheese-making process, milk separates into solids and liquids. The solids go on to become the cheese, and the whey is generally considered a byproduct. However, scientists discovered methods for isolating the proteins in that whey and turning it into a valuable nutritional supplement for athletes, bodybuilders, and other fitness enthusiasts. The process of isolation removes most of the fat, carbs, and lactose from the whey. There are two very common forms of whey protein: whey protein isolate, which is at least 90% protein, and whey protein concentrate, which is at least 80% concentrate.
- Whey is a complete and convenient source of protein.
- It offers all nine of the essential amino acids that your body needs to build everything from bone and muscle to hormones, neurotransmitters, and antibodies.
- It absorbs quickly, which makes it a great source of nutrition after working out, when your body may be too “tired” to digest food.
- Whey enhances recovery by improving carbohydrate uptake, which in turn replenishes your glycogen stores.
- Whey protein has been proven to aid in post-workout muscle repair.
- It is one of the best sources of glutathione available on the market, which is a very powerful antioxidant.
- Whey protein is a processed product, and in many cases, manufacturers use heat and chemicals during the separation process. This breaks down some of the protein and renders it useless.
- It’s easy to take more than you need. Keep in mind that much of your protein should come from your diet; whey protein is a supplementary protein source, not a primary one.
- Some manufacturers use artificial sweeteners that may or may not cause health problems for some individuals.
- Whey protein releases and acts very quickly in the body, which means you’ll need to take it often throughout the day if you are particularly active.
What Is a Protein Blend?
A protein blend is a product that contains more than one type of protein in an effort to provide more nutritional value. These blends may contain whey, milk, egg, soy, or other types of proteins in one easy-to-use product. When comparing a protein blend vs whey alone, consider the fact that the vast majority of blends contain at least 30% whey protein, which may consist of whey isolate, whey concentrate, or both.
- If you think of proteins like a jigsaw puzzle, a protein blend is the finished product whereas whey is only a piece of that puzzle. Blends offer your body fast-acting, easily absorbed proteins along with slow-release proteins that provide fuel for muscle growth all throughout the day and night.
- A protein blend can give you the benefits of more than one protein type in a single package, which is more convenient.
- Blends generally contain protein isolates and concentrates, so you don’t have to choose between the two.
- Blends also contain milk protein (called casein) which releases far more slowly than whey protein to help build muscle, streamline energy, and aid in recovery.
- People who have lactose intolerance often have difficulty tolerating casein, which would make whey protein isolate (which is virtually free of lactose) a better choice.
- Some studies suggest that those using protein blends achieved a better overall fat-to-muscle ratio than those using whey protein alone.
Which Is Right for Your Needs?
If you are considering a protein blend vs whey, the best protein blends will provide you with a well-rounded and balanced protein profile. Conversely, while whey protein alone is incredibly fast-acting and gives your body immediate fuel for strength, energy, and significant muscle growth, you’ll need to take if often if you want to keep the protein in your body balanced throughout the day. Blends that contain casein or other longer-acting proteins are dosed two or three times per day and keep a steady stream of proteins in your blood around the clock, which aids in recovery and facilitates muscle growth even as you sleep.
A protein blend vs whey alone offers up incredible benefits, especially if you want to gain strength and pack on lean muscle mass in a short period of time. Although whey proteins certainly play a vital role in the daily lives of athletes, pairing them with other types of protein – namely casein – takes it to the next level.