Whey Protein Concentrate
Also known as: Cultured Whey Protein Concentrate
Rapidly digested form of protein rich in amino acids that helps support lean body mass gains and muscle protein synthesis.
What Is It?
Whey protein is one of the two types of protein found in milk, casein being the other. Whey accounts for 20% of the protein content in milk, while casein comprises the remaining 80%.
Whey is found in the watery portion of milk that remains when it curdles during the cheesemaking process. If you've ever left a container of yogurt in the refrigerator for a few days and then opened it, the liquid floating on top is whey.
Whey protein concentrate (WPC) is the lower-quality form of whey protein compared to whey protein isolate (WPI) and hydrolyzed whey protein. However, there are different grades of whey protein concentrate.
Types of WPC
Concentrates may contain anywhere from 35-80% protein, with the remaining percentages consisting of carbs (from lactose) and fats.
In an ideal world, supplement companies would list the quality of their whey concentrates (such as WPC-80, but this is usually not the case. WPC-80 is the highest quality whey protein concentrate with less carbs and fats to take away from all the protein gains!
Compared to isolates and hydrolysates, WPC is usually thicker and better tasting.
What if the grade isn't specified?
Generally speaking, if your protein tub doesn't list the grade of WPC, odds are it's the cheap stuff (i.e. 35-55% protein). The remaining 45-65% will contain anything from milk sugars (lactose) and other carbs to fats and even impurities leftover from the refining process like ash.
The main drawback to WPC is individuals who don't handle dairy that well typically experience some sort of bloating or GI distress due to the higher lactose content.
Benefits of Whey Protein Concentrate
Complete source of protein
High BCAA content
Quickly absorbed by the body
Maintains lean muscle mass
Enhances immune system
Increases anabolic response
Easy and convenient to use
When and How Much?
Typical serving sizes of whey protein powders contain anywhere from 20-30 grams of protein per scoop. This can be used anytime of day: after a workout, late night snack, or added to any meal to increase the protein content.
Whey protein concentrate offers an affordable, quick, and tasty way to add extra protein in your diet if you're having trouble getting in enough solid foods during the day. If you're sensitive to dairy in general, you may be better suited with whey protein isolates or some form of plant-based protein powder.
However, if you have no issue with dairy, whey provides an ideal source or protein with a comprehensive amino acid profile rich in BCAAs.