Inside Whey Protein Concentrate

In light of so much attention being focused on whey protein isolates (WPI), let's take a brief look at its predecessor whey protein concentrate (WPC) and why athletes may want to consider making WPC a part of their daily routine.

When used to produce WPC, crude whey (sweet dairy whey) goes through an ultrafiltration process, which decreases it to just 20% of its original volume. The concentrated whey liquid is then diafiltered at low temperatures to remove large quantities of fat, lactose, and cholesterol. The resulting solution is then carefully dried to create a powder yielding between 34% and 89% protein by dry weight. This finished product, commonly known as whey protein concentrate, is the major protein contributor in many commercial whey protein supplements.

WPC is the richest whey protein source of naturally occurring, bioactive microfractions. Of the numerous fractions identified, beta-lactoglobulin is generally the most abundant, followed by alpha-lactalbumin, glycomacropeptides, bovine serum albumen, immunoglobulins, along with smaller fractions such as lactoferrin and lactoperoxidase.

Of note to athletes, a growing body of scientific evidence indicates that these protein fractions may play a key role in appetite regulation, immune function, neutralizing free radicals, and numerous other health-promoting functions within the body.

The Bigger Picture: Athletes, and in particular bodybuilders and strength-based athletes, typically put a very high level of stress on their bodies through training and dieting. Incorporating a protein rich in WPC affords the hard training athlete the benefits inherent in the WPCs native microfractions that they may not derive from other protein sources. What's more, if cost is an issue during this time of rising dairy prices, WPC is typically a bit more affordable than more highly processed whey protein isolates.
Leave a Comment