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    Whey (Almost) Everthying You Need To Know

    Similar to the Creatine: (Everything You Need To Know) thread, I cover some of the most common Qs about whey so y'all can make educated decisions when purchasing whey

    Whey protein has become a staple nutritional supplement with both athletic populations requiring the highest possible quality protein to help recuperate from exercise, and those interested in the various health and disease fighting benefits of whey.


    However, whey is a complex protein which leads to various questions regarding this biologically active protein. Some of this confusion has stemmed from the marketing efforts of various companies competing for sales in a very competitive market. Some of the confusion stems from a simple misunderstanding of the science of whey.


    Q1:“What are the essential differences and advantages/disadvantages of each type of whey protein? Isolate, concentrates?”

    The essential differences between concentrate vs. isolate are:

    Advantages of Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC):

    • Cost effective source of whey protein and benefits of whey when compared to isolates
    • Approx 80% protein or higher
    • Higher levels of beneficial phospholipids and various bioactive lipids, such as: conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), phosphotidyl-serine (PS), phosphtidyl-choline (PC), and sphingomyelin vs. Whey Protein Isolate (WPI).

    Note: It’s essential to understand however that the actual doses of those beneficial lipids found in WPC are lower than the studies find needed for beneficial effects. For example, the benefits of CLA have been shown in various studies to require at least multi gram doses required for positive effects on fat mass (1) so the actual amounts of the lipids found in WPC will have minimal impact and should not be a major deciding factor in purchasing WPC per se…

    Potential Drawbacks of WPCs:

    • Compared to WPI, WPC contains higher levels of:
    •lactose (milk sugar) and may not be suitable for people that are lactose intolerant
    • fat\cholesterol

    Advantages of WPI:

    • >90% protein content
    • Lactose free
    • Non- fat.
    • Highest possible protein content per serving

    Potential Drawbacks:

    • Higher cost compared to WPC

    Q2: “Which forms of whey increases glutathione or improve immunity?”

    The major issue for whey to be effective at increasing glutathione (GSH), is that it’s processed correctly under low temperatures and using a filtration process that retain the important protein sub-fractions in their undenatured state (2). The essential issue is that the WPC or WPI is processed correctly. Correct processing along the entire supply chain from milk to finished product (WPC or WPI) is the core issue. If WPC and WPI are processed correctly from start to finish then they will be superior for increasing glutathione and supporting a healthy immune system.

    Q3: “How does hydrolyzed whey compare to ‘regular’ whey proteins?

    Hydrolyzed whey may be of benefit to some athletes looking for fastest possible absorption and simple protein replacement, but hydrolyzed whey may not be as effective for improving GSH due to the damage caused by breaking the whey down into smaller peptides/ protein fragments which produces hydrolyzed proteins. Data examining that are lacking however and it would depend on the type and level of hydrolysis of the whey

    Q4: “What are examples of marketing hype and terms in the whey industry that are meaningful vs. ones that are meaningless?”

    There are a number of claims being made regarding whey that have caused considerable confusion. Some of these claims have a kernel of truth (but may not actually apply directly to whey) . For example, claims such as ”grass fed” whey is the only form that’s effective or acceptable for use.

    In cattle, feeding them grass vs. grain does improve the lipid profiles of the meat, but it has no impact on the whey. It may slightly improve the CLA content of whey (see note above), but the difference is physiologically irrelevant and actual fat content ranges from a few grams per serving total for concentrates to fat free for isolates. There’s no difference in the quality of the protein between grass feed or grain feed between isolates and concentrates assuming either are correctly processed.

    There’s been a recent trend to claim that whey isolates are inferior to concentrates, yet there’s no scientific data to support these claims and studies using isolates or concentrates find benefits. Early research used concentrates, and more recent studies, have used isolates (3,4,5) and found benefits, so again, there’s potential benefits and drawbacks to WPC vs. WPI (listed above) but either can be an excellent source of whey and all studies to date support that conclusion. Those claiming otherwise are more interested in marketing perception vs. science…

    Another claim that’s been thrown about by some sellers of why concentrates is that proteins in “isolated form” cannot be assimilate by the human body. Considering the plethora of data that’s used various protein isolates (e.g., soy, whey, etc), including whey isolates, it’s a claim clearly not supported by the research nor even basic understanding of human physiology. Protein isolates, especially whey, are very easily digestive, absorbed, and assimilated. People seeing that claim by any companies selling whey, should be considered highly suspect.

    Q5: “What are the differences in absorption rates between the whey proteins?”

    Whey is considered a “fast” protein because of it’s rapid digestion and uptake (6). Whey is the highly soluble protein found in milk and it’s rapidly digested and absorbed in both isolate or concentrate form. Differences between absorption rates between one type of whey over another – assuming it’s an undenatured whey product – would be negligible. Due to it’s lactose and fat contents, concentrates would digest slightly slower than isolates, but differences would be negligible and of no biological importance.

    Q:6 “Are there Antibiotic and pesticide residues found in whey?”

    Several studies have found that in a small number of cases anti-biotic residues could be detected in commercial milk. This has caused some people to use organic non-treated milk. Major manufacturers of whey protein powders test constantly for anti biotic residues, as the milk industry in general does.

    The major whey manufacturer tests every single batch of incoming milk for anti-biotic residues and reject any batch that that’s found to be above acceptable limits, which are extremely low. After the milk goes through processing to high grade whey, anti-biotic residues are in the non-detectable (ND) range, which means if they exist at all, they are below the threshold of detectability of the testing method used, which is extremely sensitive and able to detect such compounds in the parts per billion (PPB) or trillion (PPT) range. However, some people may still prefer to use what’s considered “organic” whey which means produced from cows milk certified organic.

    Q7: “Does whey derived from cows that are treated with Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) pose a risk to humans?

    It’s essential to remember the data looking at this topic is on milk, not whey. Whey is a component of milk, but goes through considerable additional processing to become whey. Extensive amount of data does not find added risks to human beings ingesting milk from rBGH treated cows. For example,

    • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) looking at this issue stated “The composition and nutritional values of milk from bST-supplemented cows is essentially the same as milk from untreated cows… (M)eat and milk from rbST-treated cows are as safe as that from untreated cows.” (NIH Technology Assessment Conference Statement on Bovine somatotropin. JAMA. 1991:265:1423-1425).
    • The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) said on the issue “The FDA has answered all questions and concerns about the safety of milk from bST-supplemented cows…” (JAMA. 1990:264:1003-1005).
    • The journal Science stated “The data evaluated by the FDA documented the safety of food products from animals treated with rbGH.” (Bovine Growth Hormone: Human Food Safety Evaluation. Science. 1990:249:875-884.).
    • The World Health Organization, American Medical Association, American Dietetic Association, and the National Institute of Health have independently concluded that dairy products (and meats) from rBGH treated cows are safe for human consumption.

    The above does not mean rBGH is without ongoing controversy and continues to be a contentious topic for various reasons. Some of the reasons are unrelated to human health per se, but the health of the animals being treated with rBGH or other reasons. People can choose to use whey products derived from non- rBGH treated cows if they wish, but should be aware the evidence does not support a health risk to humans to date and similar to comments above regarding anti-biotic residues, what can be detected in milk does not always transfer to the final whey product due to extensive processing steps.

    Q8: “It’s said that during the process of producing hydrolyzed whey protein, it goes under a denaturing process. What exactly does the term ‘denature’ mean?”

    Whole proteins (such as whey) are three-dimensional molecules, and their ‘functionality’ often dependent on that three-dimensional shape. When a protein is “denatured” by various methods; heat, chemical, mechanical, etc, it loses its “native” three dimensional shape and no longer has biological activity. This does not mean all denatured protein is bad; some proteins are improved by denaturing (such as eggs) but proteins such as whey need to be processed correctly as to not lose their “native” three dimensional shape to be biologically active (i.e. increase glutathione), enhance immunity, , and other beneficial effects of whey. It needs to be emphasized that the proper three dimensional shape of a protein is vital to its activity and improper processing (such as high temperature) will cause a loss of that critically important three dimensional shape of the protein and thus its activity. This fact is why a low temperature microfiltration processing technique is essential for creating the best whey protein product containing high levels of undenatured whey protein in their active three dimensional shape.

    Citations and Source: http://www.brinkzone.com/articles/whey-qa/
    Last edited by WillBrink; 12-29-2017 at 07:51 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Will always at it with the great posts
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    INDUSTRY INSIDER WillBrink's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Rob1882 View Post
    Will always at it with the great posts
    Thanx brah
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    Excellent post! Great job Will





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    INDUSTRY INSIDER WillBrink's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Big_Spaz View Post
    Excellent post! Great job Will

    -Spaz
    Glad you enjoyed it. I'm a tad biased but I'd think this and the creatine post would me useful stickies for members here.
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    Good job, Will. Finally some common sense on Whey so folks can look for the best price over marketing gimmicks.
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    INDUSTRY INSIDER WillBrink's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ElvisCaprice View Post
    Good job, Will. Finally some common sense on Whey so folks can look for the best price over marketing gimmicks.
    Cutting through the BS to help people make informed decisions since before some miscer brahs were born
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    Originally Posted by WillBrink View Post
    Cutting through the BS to help people make informed decisions since before some miscer brahs were born
    Always appreciate these types of posts.
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    This would be a nice thread to sticky.
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    Originally Posted by WillBrink View Post

    Q1:“What are the essential differences and advantages/disadvantages of each type of whey protein? Isolate, concentrates?”

    The essential differences between concentrate vs. isolate are:

    Advantages of Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC):

    • Cost effective source of whey protein and benefits of whey when compared to isolates
    • Approx 80% protein or higher
    • Higher levels of beneficial phospholipids and various bioactive lipids, such as: conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), phosphotidyl-serine (PS), phosphtidyl-choline (PC), and sphingomyelin vs. Whey Protein Isolate (WPI).
    WPC is not over 80% purity always. It can range as low as 34% protein.
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    INDUSTRY INSIDER WillBrink's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by extrabeef View Post
    WPC is not over 80% purity always. It can range as low as 34% protein.
    Not the typical whey commercially sold on the market for sports nutri and health found on store shelves by major re sellers. Obviously what I'm talking about there. Assuming their labels are accurate of course....
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    Originally Posted by WillBrink View Post
    Not the typical whey commercially sold on the market for sports nutri and health found on store shelves by major re sellers. Obviously what I'm talking about there. Assuming their labels are accurate of course....
    Of course brands won't solely use WPC34, they blend it with various purities to bring down the price point.
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    INDUSTRY INSIDER WillBrink's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by extrabeef View Post
    Of course brands won't solely use WPC34, they blend it with various purities to bring down the price point.
    Yet still get to a typical P% per serving. What ever they are blending, it's not say WPC34 with another low P% WPC or they wouldn't be competitive in terms of g per serving. If you have a specific label/brand in mind you feel illiterates the point, happy to take a look as reference. The major dairy/whey producing companies I have done consulting work for, sold WPC that was +/- 80% as their standard WPC that would be used mass market human consumption.
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    Originally Posted by WillBrink View Post
    Not the typical whey commercially sold on the market for sports nutri and health found on store shelves by major re sellers. Obviously what I'm talking about there. Assuming their labels are accurate of course....
    Hey Will, very well written and researched piece on WPC vs. WPI. One of the most informative that I’ve seen to date. Much respect!!!

    Let me throw in my 2 cents on the WPC topic: As a manufacturer for 17 years, I can tell you first hand that that WPC34/45/60 are commonly blended with WPC80 without being declared on the label. It’s what I call the “WPC bait & Switch” scam. The technique is used to get the finished product to a desired protein/cost ratio. Unfortunately, the consumer never knows because the industry has taken a stance that the term “whey protein concentrate” on the supp facts panel covers any grade of WPC, worse yet, any blend of multiple grades of WPCs. So the real ingredients are hidden from the consumer: it’s deceiving but legal because the USDA defines WPC to have a protein ratio ranging from 25% to 89.9%.

    Not to say that all brands are doing this, but it is a widespread industry standard. Many brand owners don’t even realize that lower grade WPC is in their product because their manufacturers don’t disclose it on the label or regulatory docs. It only appears on the BPR (batch production record) which is rarely disclosed.

    Here’s a common formula that I have seen used HUNDREDS of times, it combines two scams: WPC Bait & Switch and prop blends: The label’s ingredient statement lists a prop blend that reads: (whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, micellar casein). The WPC is 99% of the overall blend which consists of a sub-blend of WPC34 and WPC80. The WPI and MC total 1%, added only for window dressing. The WPC34/WPC80 ratio is manipulated to get the overall protein ratio to match the target price and consumer compliance. You mentioned protein ratio; well this is one of the reasons we see protein powders on store shelves varying in protein ratio from 46% to 80% even though their ingredients are similar. This scam is not used just by small brands it's the bread and butter of the entire industry.
    Last edited by MarkGlazier; 01-03-2018 at 11:40 AM.
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    INDUSTRY INSIDER WillBrink's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MarkGlazier View Post
    Hey Will, very well written and researched piece on WPC vs. WPI. One of the most informative that I’ve seen to date. Much respect!!!
    Thanx man. I was the first person to write on the various med/health benefits of whey, pre internet in the pages of MMI, MM2k, etc. Was a friend of the man we all owe the whey market to, Dr. Bounous, and have done some consulting work for whey producers, some of whom I believe you source from, as well as major supp companies who produce whey supplement products. None of them I personally did work for (and in the bbing biz, that was a while ago granted...) used anything but WPC 80 in their blends.

    Originally Posted by MarkGlazier View Post
    Let me throw in my 2 cents on the WPC topic: As a manufacturer for 17 years, I can tell you first hand that that WPC34/45/60 are commonly blended with WPC80 without being declared on the label. It’s what I call the “WPC bait & Switch” scam. The technique is used to get the finished product to a desired protein/cost ratio. Unfortunately, the consumer never knows because the industry has taken a stance that the term “whey protein concentrate” on the supp facts panel covers any grade of WPC, worse yet, any blend of multiple grades of WPCs. So the real ingredients are hidden from the consumer: it’s deceiving but legal because the USDA defines WPC to have a protein ratio ranging from 25% to 89.9%.

    Not to say that all brands are doing this, but it is a widespread industry standard. Many brand owners don’t even realize that lower grade WPC is in their product because their manufacturers don’t disclose it on the label or regulatory docs. It only appears on the BPR (batch production record) which is rarely disclosed.

    Here’s a common formula that I have seen used HUNDREDS of times, it combines two scams: WPC Bait & Switch and prop blends: The label’s ingredient statement lists a prop blend that reads: (whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, micellar casein). The WPC is 99% of the overall blend which consists of a sub-blend of WPC34 and WPC80. The WPI and MC total 1%, added only for window dressing. The WPC34/WPC80 ratio is manipulated to get the overall protein ratio to match the target price and consumer compliance. You mentioned protein ratio; well this is one of the reasons we see protein powders on store shelves varying in protein ratio from 46% to 80% even though their ingredients are similar. This scam is not used just by small brands it's the bread and butter of the entire industry.
    Thanx Mark. I am well aware of those strategies, but I do view it as a slightly different issue. I have also written and done vids on the topic of good old "proprietary blends" (1) of which this is another example of bait and switch. However, I do think an edit is warranted to my OP to simply say quality companies that give a damn will tend to use WPC80 in their blends and per usual, beware of proprietary blends. Unfortunately, the time frame for edits of my OP is passed, so can't add that comment. Hopefully people will read this thread and get get learned up on that fact.

    (1) http://www.brinkzone.com/?s=proprietary+blends
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    Originally Posted by MarkGlazier View Post
    The WPC34/WPC80 ratio is manipulated to get the overall protein ratio to match the target price and consumer compliance. You mentioned protein ratio; well this is one of the reasons we see protein powders on store shelves varying in protein ratio from 46% to 80% even though their ingredients are similar. This scam is not used just by small brands it's the bread and butter of the entire industry.
    I still don't see the point. Other than marketing or glossing over of the product, which also happens outside of the actual contents of the product. Never go by the WPC claims. It's the amount of protein contained in the product percentages and you can't use much of a low protein percentage Whey to achieve a proper high number.

    The fact is, that it's up to the buyer to read the actual ingredient content and most importantly the amount of protein percentage of the product from it's official ingredient disclosure. Other than this, there are many marketing gimmicks being used besides actual Whey Concentrate.

    What products are putting out 46% protein amount? That is ridiculously low.
    Last edited by ElvisCaprice; 01-03-2018 at 12:43 PM.
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    Originally Posted by ElvisCaprice View Post
    I still don't see the point. Other than marketing or glossing over of the product, which also happens outside of the actual contents of the product. Never go by the WPC claims. It's the amount of protein contained in the product percentages and you can't use much of a low protein percentage Whey to achieve a proper high number.

    The fact is, that it's up to the buyer to read the actual ingredient content and most importantly the amount of protein percentage of the product from it's official ingredient disclosure. Other than this, there are many marketing gimmicks being used besides actual Whey Concentrate.

    What products are putting out 46% protein amount? That is ridiculously low.
    I wouldn't be the least bit surprised that on testing, a product was found to contain 46% P from a label claim of approx 80%, but that's another issue.
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    Originally Posted by WillBrink View Post
    I wouldn't be the least bit surprised that on testing, a product was found to contain 46% P from a label claim of approx 80%, but that's another issue.
    Yes, I would agree with that and pricing would not be a good indicator of which companies are possible being fraudulent. Smart to stick with a well established name with some user history of at least a few years.
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    [QUOTE=WillBrink;1539407531]Thanx man. I was the first person to write on the various med/health benefits of whey, pre internet in the pages of MMI, MM2k, etc. Was a friend of the man we all owe the whey market to, Dr. Bounous, and have done some consulting work for whey producers, some of whom I believe you source from, as well as major supp companies who produce whey supplement products. None of them I personally did work for (and in the bbing biz, that was a while ago granted...) used anything but WPC 80 in their blends.



    Thanx Mark. I am well aware of those strategies, but I do view it as a slightly different issue. I have also written and done vids on the topic of good old "proprietary blends" (1) of which this is another example of bait and switch. However, I do think an edit is warranted to my OP to simply say quality companies that give a damn will tend to use WPC80 in their blends and per usual, beware of proprietary blends. Unfortunately, the time frame for edits of my OP is passed, so can't add that comment. Hopefully people will read this thread and get get learned up on that fact.


    I agree with you about the quality brands. The problem is that general consumers have no way of gauging who the quality brands are. The legacy brands that consumers trust are often the worst culprits of scams, as we saw in the protein spiking lawsuits. We need to push the industry towards more transparent protein labels by having brands disclose both the source and yield amounts of each protein and reveal the grade of WPC used. The brands that provide clean, transparent labels are the future of this industry.
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    Originally Posted by ElvisCaprice View Post
    I still don't see the point. Other than marketing or glossing over of the product, which also happens outside of the actual contents of the product. Never go by the WPC claims. It's the amount of protein contained in the product percentages and you can't use much of a low protein percentage Whey to achieve a proper high number.

    The fact is, that it's up to the buyer to read the actual ingredient content and most importantly the amount of protein percentage of the product from it's official ingredient disclosure. Other than this, there are many marketing gimmicks being used besides actual Whey Concentrate.

    What products are putting out 46% protein amount? That is ridiculously low.
    I agree which is why I encourage consumers to calculate protein ratio before purchasing a protein powder. The problem is the majority of consumers don’t understand this so the brands take advantage of them.

    I agree with you on marketing gimmicks as well. Here is a real-life case where multiple scams were used: A product had a label claim of 25G of protein from a 35G serving size with a prop blend of (WPC, WPI). The manufacture spiked the protein with 4G creatine mono/serving. Based on the Kjeldahl method with a Jones factor of 6.35 for converting nitrogen, the creatine yielded a false protein claim of 10.8G, so there was only 14.2G of real protein per serving.

    The manufacturer had two problems: First, the creatine gave the powder a gritty mouth feel. Second, WPC80 & WPI could not be used because at most they yielded a serving size 21.75G ((14.2/0.8)+4) --- suspicious since the serving size was less than the protein claim.

    WPC34 to the rescue!!! They solved it by using 4G Creatine, 23.5G WPC34 & 7.75G WPC80 which yielded a serving size 35.25G and a protein claim of 25G. The cheap WPC34 solved both problems: its creamy texture countered he gritty creatine giving it a better mouthfeel and its low protein value allowed a larger non-suspicious serving size. The WPI was fairy dusted in at 30mg, so it had no cost factor or effect on the formula.

    The label claimed 71% protein ratio and 25G protein, when in truth the ratio was 40% with 14G of protein. The consumer got ripped off, while the manufacturer saved about 40% off the cost of the product. Five scams were used: WPC Bait & Switch, prop blends, protein spiking, ingredient cloaking, fairy dusting.
    Last edited by MarkGlazier; 01-03-2018 at 07:20 PM.
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    Sorry but I did not find about caseine whey, is it really good before bed time? thank you!
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    Originally Posted by EnesFalco View Post
    Sorry but I did not find about caseine whey, is it really good before bed time? thank you!
    As casein is a slow acting protein, probably the better choice pre bed, but not personally convinced it really matters long term.
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    iso is my favorite thanks for all the information
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    Great post! Thanks for all the info
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    MIlk Whey

    Hi, I am in Wisconsin and have heard talk about the whey that is left over after cheese production. Is that by-product as good as or could it be used?
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    Appreciate it.

    New to the forum; this is super helpful. Moving on to the Creatine thread next.
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    great thread thanks
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    Great read! Great info. Much appreciated for the research.

    For the past yr i've been using Muscle Pharm's Combat protein. I thought of using Isolates but too chicken to step out of my comfort zone to try it thinking Isolate my kill my physique. Would you recommend staying with what I've been using or make a jump and go Isolate. My goal is to maintain mass and not lose physique. Or maybe i dont know what i am talking about.
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    Originally Posted by Drew720 View Post
    Great read! Great info. Much appreciated for the research.

    For the past yr i've been using Muscle Pharm's Combat protein. I thought of using Isolates but too chicken to step out of my comfort zone to try it thinking Isolate my kill my physique. Would you recommend staying with what I've been using or make a jump and go Isolate. My goal is to maintain mass and not lose physique. Or maybe i dont know what i am talking about.
    You really thinking changing any protein, much less from a whey concentrate to an isolate can "kill" your physique? The pros/cons of those forms are fully covered in the OP and that's really all you need to know to in terms of making decisions on which to take.
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    Originally Posted by WillBrink View Post
    You really thinking changing any protein, much less from a whey concentrate to an isolate can "kill" your physique? The pros/cons of those forms are fully covered in the OP and that's really all you need to know to in terms of making decisions on which to take.

    understood!
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