You’ve heard all the talk about organic foods, beverages, and substances right. Well, this article looks at the top grass fed whey protein supplements and compares them to cheaper, non-organic options.
But does it really matter or is it just a load of old hype that’s out to get your hard earned dollar? Before I answer that, let’s start by looking at what whey protein is exactly.
Whey Protein – an Essential Part of Milk
Cow’s milk contains two proteins, whey and casein. Manufactures separate whey from the casein in milk. Scientists call whey a complete protein as it contains all nine of the essential amino acids.
Whey protein is also very low in lactose. A quality whey protein powder can help to advance muscle protein synthesis, which in turn promotes the growth of lean tissue. That’s the quick description.
How Whey Protein Builds Skeletal Muscle
All protein foods help to build and repair muscle tissue. Whey protein is nothing more than quality protein in powdered form derived from whole foods. It’s another source of protein to add to your diet.
Many people don’t get enough “quality protein” on their plates. This is where whey protein comes to the rescue. Those who do get enough protein from meals, though, don’t usually need to supplement.
Whey Protein FAQ
Here are the three most common questions newbies ask about whey protein:
- Which protein powder should you use?
- How much whey protein should you take?
- When is the best time of day to take whey protein?
Let’s look at each of these questions in turn.
#1 Whey Protein, Superior Protein Powder
Whey protein is the most popular choice of all the protein powders. It’s the easiest to mix, it has a nice taste, and it has several other health benefits which add further to its appeal.
Any certified organic whey protein from grass-fed cows is an even better choice. It only contains one ingredient and is free from all those nasties you want to steer clear from. These typically include: additive-free, soy-free, gluten-free, GM-free, and hormone-free.
Organic Whey VS Regular Whey
Organic whey must clearly state its claims on the packaging. It should read: 100% organic whey from organic milk—or similar. There shouldn’t be anything about added soy, sweeteners or flavorings, etc.
Makers of quality organic whey protein filter the product and dry it at low temperatures. The end result is a non-denatured, quality protein of the highest biological value.
The minimal processing removes almost all the lactose and fat, yet retains all the protein and beneficial nutrients like calcium. You can’t expect the same with Non-organic whey protein powder.
Non-organic Whey Protein Powder
After reading what quality organic whey protein is, it’s easy to work out what constitutes a non-organic option. To begin with, the processing is much harsher and it uses heat and acids.
You can expect lots of unwanted ingredients too, like artificial sweeteners, additives, and flavorings. A lot of this stuff comes from outside the US too, from less regulated countries like India and China.
Non-organic whey is often a product that comes from cows treated with hormones, antibiotics, and those that are grain fed. There’re plenty of reasons to opt for organic over non-organic whey.
Beware of Nitrogen Spiking
If you do opt for non-organic whey protein powder, at least make sure the product isn’t amino spiked, a.k.a. nitrogen spiking or protein spiking. This is a cheap—legal—scam used to fool consumers.
Nitrogen spiking is a sneaky technique. Dishonest companies exploit it so they can use less protein in the product than stated on the packaging. If in doubt, refer the product to an expert before you buy it.
#2 How Much Whey Protein Should You Take?
Whey protein should supplement your diet, not replace it. In other words, it makes up for whatever you lack in regular protein intake. A quick calculation looks something like this:
Consume between 0.8 to 1g of protein per pound of body weight.
It shouldn’t take long before you can see whether you’re under or over on your protein intake. Most people like to strike a balance between how much they consume in solid form and powdered form.
How much you decide to take of each is pretty much down to individual preference. To put it another way, this is not an exact science and there are no hard and fast rules to adhere to.
But if you’re doing it to lose weight, here’s an article that might help.
Protein food groups include:
- All meats
- All eggs
- Beans & peas
- Processed soy products (not recommended)
- Nuts & seeds
Warning! Too much protein is not healthy so be careful and know your limits. Too much too often can result in excess weight gain (body fat not muscle), yeast overgrowth, and various health issues.
Types of Whey Protein
The two main types of whey protein you’ll come across include:
- Whey protein isolate (WPI)
- Whey protein concentrate (WPC)
Whey protein isolate (WPI) has the highest protein content. It’s lower in fat and carbs (in the form of lactose). It also has fewer calories than WPC and more concentrations of amino acids. WPI takes more time to produce than WPC and is therefore the costlier of the two options.
Whey protein concentrate contains slightly higher levels of carbs (lactose) and fat. It’s also easier and quicker to produce and so costs less than Whey protein isolate.
The Choice Is Yours
There’s not much between the two options, the most notable disparity being the price. Unless you’re lactose intolerant, then choose a powder that agrees with your taste, price, and mixability. A lot of people like to choose a WPI/WPC combo as a compromise.
#3 Best Time to Take Whey Protein
This is a common question but the answer is simple. Take your protein powder whenever you like. It is, after all, a quality food supplement, nothing more.
Some people prefer to take whey protein pre-workout because it’s easy on the stomach. Perhaps you have a shake or a protein powder recipe for breakfast or dessert. If so, then simply take it when you’d normally have your breakfast or dessert. That’s it.
The only thing you need to be mindful of is to make sure you meet your protein needs for the day as a whole—every day. Once you’ve worked that out, you’ll be doing it with your eyes shut.