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Guide to Whey Protein

Protein is an essential part of all Track Cyclists' training regime so we thought we'd give you a guide to the best form of protein for Track Cyclists, Whey Protein. Before we go into too much detail it's a good idea to understand where whey protein comes from and how it's manufactured

Using the latest dairy technology, sweet dairy whey, a product from cheese manufacturing, is passed through a complicated series of filters (ultra/cross micro filtration). As the sweet dairy whey passes through the filters fat and lactose are removed to leave a concentrated protein in liquid suspension.

The liquid concentrate is then dried and instantised with lecithin for easy mixing.

The whole process is carried out without the use of excess heat which helps prevent any damage occurring to the protein. You may have heard of another method of manufacture which is called ion-exchange whey.

In this process sweet dairy whey is combined with a chemical resin in large reaction vessels. The vessels are charged with electricity and the resin bonds to selected protein. The resin and protein are then removed from the vessels and the charge is reversed to leave only the protein.

The process yields a very high protein percentage but unfortunately the harsh process leaves behind many beneficial protein fractions. The process is therefore inferior and to be avoided when compared to ultra or cross micro filtration.

Finally we have hydrolysed, sometimes spelt hydrolyzed, or pre-digested whey protein that has been treated with enzymes to break the protein down into smaller peptides and amino acids.

All hydrolysed protein generally tastes bitter, the bitter taste comes from the high percentage of peptides and amino acids. The degree of hydrolysis varies from about 5%-30%. The higher the percentage the more hydrolysis that has taken place and the bitterer it will taste, it is also the most expensive form of any whey protein.

In sports nutrition hydrolysed whey protein is used for the sole purpose of flooding the body with peptides and amino acids in a very short time with the aim of stimulating protein synthesis

Protein Powder



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Why is Whey Protein better for Muscle Building/Power Training?

Whey protein has long been considered the gold standard of protein for serious athletes who work hard to develop and sustain a lean, strong and well-defined physique. Whey protein contains all the essential amino acids required in the daily diet.

These amino acids help improve body composition and enhance athletic performance and since it's easy to digest, it's quick to provide nourishment to muscles.

You can obviously get protein from other sources such as fish, eggs and meat, but since whey protein is such an excellent, highly convenient, source of amino acids and is easily digestible, it has become massively popular with athletes and body builders


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Frequently Asked Questions

Is it easy on the stomach?

Most Whey Protein is easily absorbed by the body because it is highly soluble, high quality protein manufacturers add digestive enzymes and pro-biotics for a superior product instead of sugar based artificial flavours, colours and sweeteners.

What is the pH of whey?

It has a pH of approximately 6.5.

Can I take whey if I'm lactose intolerant?

Yes and no. You should avoid products that contain concentrate. These will typically contain anywhere from 5-15% lactose. The good news is that you can benefit from taking products that contain pure isolate, which usually only contain a maximum of 0.5-1% lactose.

Look out for protein drinks that only contain pure isolate as this is ideal if you are lactose intolerant.

Can I take it if I'm a vegetarian?

Yes. It is a very good source of essential amino acids and branch chain amino acids - some vegetables lack these vital amino acids; it can help address any shortfall in your diet.


Is it safe for drug tested athletes?

Most protein products will not cause a positive test for banned drugs however some have been known to cause issues, it is best to check the manufacturers background and accordance with ISO:9001 and ISO:17025 procedures if you are worried about the possibility of failing a test.

What are the protein fractions I commonly see listed in ingredients?

Fractions are the different types of proteins that make whey as a whole. A typical high quality product will be made up of the following fractions.

Beta-Lactoglobulin  (approximate percentage 43%)
The largest single protein found in whey which is largely responsible for the very high percentage of BCAAs.

Alpha-Lactalbumin  (approximate percentage 15%)
This is actually the most abundant type of protein found in human milk. It plays a vital role in the absorption of calcium via its ability to bind to various forms of calcium; it is also high in BCAAs and essential amino acids.

Glycomacropeptide  (approximate percentage 18%)
Research has shown that Glycomacropeptide stimulates synthesis and release of the hormone cholecystokinin in the duodenum. CCK triggers the release of pancreatic enzymes and bile. These are critical for the complete digestion of fats, proteins and carbohydrates and therefore full nutritional realisation of food.

Immunoglobulin  (approximate percentage 5%)
Bovine Immunoglobulins have been shown to have potential for utilisation in the immunological supplementation of foods including infant formulae. Research has shown that bovine IGG can act against Salmonella and EColi.

Bovine Serum Albumin  (approximate percentage 3%)
Is a very good source of all 9 essential amino acids. Research has shown that BSA helps infection fighting white T cells, it also has fat binding properties.

Lactoferrin (approximate percentage 1%)
Binds to iron in the small intestine promoting absorption of iron by the human body whilst also inhibiting the growth of bacteria like Ecoli and Salmonella.

Lactoperoxidase (approximate percentage 0.5%)
Works in similar whey to Lactoferrin.

Lysozyme (approximate percentage 0.1%)
Linked with immune function.

Protein - Side Affects

In the majority of people there are no side affects, it is usually the training that the protein is used to supplement that causes issue.

The only possible side effects would come if you are allergic to milk sugar or lactose. In which case you'd need to take a pure whey isolate which is virtually free from lactose.

In very rare circumstances some people can be allergic to some of the protein fractions found in whey, like Beta-Lactoglobulin, however such cases are very isolated and are usually associated with infants. This is one of the reasons why there are hyrdolysed protein products - the process of hydrolysation breaks the potentially allergic fractions down into hypoallergenic peptides.

If you have stomach problems after taking protein try switching to a higher quality protein that contains digestive enzymes and pro-biotics for a superior product instead of sugar based artificial flavours, colours and sweeteners that will be the issue.