Protein is one of the most basic and essential nutrients required to ensure the proper functioning of our body. It is required to carry out functions like aiding the growth and development of the muscles, boosting the healing process of the tissues, keeping our hair and nails healthy, etc. Protein consumption also has internal benefits such as keeping our body’s fluid levels in balance, aiding the recovery of the tissues from extensive injuries, maintaining a healthy ocular function etc. One of the most effective ways to supplement your body with protein would be to invest in protein products such as whey protein concentrate.
Protein products are usually derived from plant or animal-based sources and act as a nutritional aid towards meeting the recommended daily allowance of protein in minimal consumption cycles. One of the most commonly consumed protein supplements includes whey protein, which comes in the following variations, apart from whey protein concentrate:
- Whey Protein Isolate: Whey Protein Isolate is a dairy-free whey that is chemically processed to remove any component other than the protein present in the substance, making it the most effective choice of protein supplementation.
- Whey Protein Hydrolysate: This form of protein isolate has been chemically processed to be half broken down, which means that a majority of the protein that your body requires is already synthesised and ready for your consumption
Whey Protein Concentrate
Whey concentrate is typically obtained during the manufacturing of cheese. The process emanates a watery whey liquid that is full of proteins and essential nutrients. The watery substance that is released is then processed using various methods of dehydration to produce a fine protein powder.
While this process eliminates nearly all the lactose and minerals present in the whey liquid, it still contains a few additional nutrients such as fats and amino acids, which is why the whey protein concentrate price is cheaper than the whey protein isolate.
Whey concentrate is one of the most rapidly absorbed sources of protein and is instantly synthesised by the body. It has a naturally rich and creamy texture which is beneficial for supplementing it in a formulation containing milk, butter and eggs. This is a technique used by several food chains and big companies since it is a cheap and cost-cutting way to make products last longer and provide more protein.
Components Of Whey Protein Concentrate
Here are some of the few amino acids present in whey protein concentrate powder that help towards making whey protein concentrate the most complete form of protein supplementation
You may observe that protein products such as whey protein concentrate are naturally sweeter than whey protein isolates. The processing methods used in whey protein isolates involves the complete elimination of any traces of milk, which also means the elimination of sugars such as galactose and glucose which come together to form a disaccharide, a component that gives milk its naturally sweet tastes.
Even though the best whey protein concentrate has a significantly chalkier and rough texture to it, the presence of these sugars gives it a better taste and a natural flavour. The only downside of this is that these whey protein concentrates have a high sugar content that can lead to the accumulation of fats within the body when not properly supplemented. The high sugar content goes unnoticed since whey protein concentrates are often manufactured in flavours like vanilla and chocolate.
Is Whey Protein Concentrate Natural?
Whey concentrate protein powder is a very highly processed food. This has led to the common misconception that it contains chemically modified ingredients. While the component itself is naturally obtained, it just undergoes a lot of manufacturing stages and methods to systematically remove the presence of certain compounds. In the end, it is no different than a bottle of fruit juice or even ketchup.
There are certain brands that use a bleaching powder to eliminate the pale yellow colour of the cheese curds that are formed during the manufacturing process of whey concentrate protein powder. The added filtering time of the protein present in whey concentrate causes it to have a lot of fat and carbs that can be useful for gaining weight and increasing muscle mass.
Most whey protein concentrates from reputed brands also avoid using ingredients such as additives and preservatives which may interfere with the saturation levels of the protein itself. This potentially brings up the manufacturing costs of several companies, which is why most protein products are so expensive.
The FDA has yet to come out with a steadfast explanation as to what ingredients would constitute an artificial presence of flavouring when it comes to nutritional supplements such as whey concentrate. At the end of the day, there are always going to be certain changes and additions made to the formulation in order to make the product more accessible and easier to consume.
However, in the most basic sense of explanation, protein powders such as whey concentrates are completely natural and free from any harmful additives. There are certain products in which there may be the presence of added flavourings but they do not have much of an effect on the action of the whey concentrate itself.
Raw Whey Protein Concentrate
For those who are additionally health-conscious and completely want to stay away from any form of addiction, bleaching included, raw whey protein concentrate is an excellent solution. It is the most direct form of protein that is extracted during the cheesemaking process of the milk and is not processed to exclude any sort of minerals or vitamins.
This means that it contains a significantly higher amount of natural sugars and lactose content. Raw whey concentrate also takes longer to be absorbed by the body since it has to undergo a slightly longer breakdown process.
A common misconception about this raw whey protein concentrate is that raw whey may be hard to be digested by our body or that it can cause health complications. Apart from the higher fat content and taking more time to be fully absorbed, raw whey protein concentrate is completely 100% natural and safe to consume.