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WPI Vs Blended Whey Protein: What's The Difference?

You’re doing all the right things… training hard, taking your protein shakes, eating right, getting enough rest. You should be growing, getting stronger, leaner, and moving closer to your goals – right? What if it’s not happening for you? Did you realise your choice of protein could be the thing that’s holding you back?

Understanding What You're Buying

To understand why, we need to go back and look at a bit of basic protein biochemistry. Most protein supplements are made from dairy, or more specifically from milk. And in milk there are two main proteins; Whey and Casein. What manufacturers do is extract these two proteins from milk and use them as the basis for making protein powders. But it’s a bit more complex than that because, for example, there’s plain Casein, Micellar Casein, Calcium Caseinate, Beta Casein, A1 Casein, A2 Casein, Kappa Casein, the list goes on – and that’s just the Caseins! Whey proteins are equally complex. The thing with all these dairy proteins is they all have varying properties, biological effects, and different rates of digestion and absorption. Isolating one specific type of protein can also isolate out a specific beneficial effect. For example – highly purified Whey Protein Isolate is fast digesting and absorbing so is excellent for taking after training when your muscle need protein quickly to maximise recovery. And for many years the supplement industry has been singling out proteins and prescribing them for specific functions – fast whey proteins after training, slow casein proteins before bed. To a point this has worked well, but recent studies have revealed that single proteins are not really the ideal solution for most trainers. In fact, nature had it right all along – blended proteins actually offer superior benefits to just one single protein. In fact the science tells us that the ideal protein for most trainers combines a fast absorbing, medium absorbing and a slower absorbing combination. Several studies have demonstrated superior longer term muscle growth when blended proteins are used in preference to a single protein. What does this mean in practise?

Whey Protein

Well first of all, let’s look at the most popular protein in use today – Whey protein. There’s no doubt that this dairy protein is a great muscle builder. In fact if you are a serious weight trainer it should still be your number one choice. Studies show a serving of Whey protein immediately after weight training will spike your blood amino acid levels quickly and stimulate recovery and muscle growth. The fastest acting Whey is a Hydrolysed Whey Peptide protein. This type of protein has been treated with enzymes that have already done much of the digestion so your body can absorb it almost immediately. The downside is that it will only last in your system for a short time, less than an hour or so, and unless you get another dose of protein then your recovery will stall.

Whey Protein Blends

But if you combine Hydrolysed Whey with Whey Protein Isolate, you will get a longer time window, up to about 90 minutes of usable protein to keep you growing. Add Whey Protein Concentrate, yet another, slower absorbing form of Whey, and you push this window out to about 3 hours. So you can start to see the benefit of combining these 3 forms of Whey, you get a fast and then sustained release of anabolic nutrients for up to 3 hours to keep your muscles recovering and growing. As long as you get another protein meal within this 3 hour time window your muscles will remain nitrogen positive and you will keep growing. This is the principle behind MAX’S 100% Pure Whey. It uses a blend of Hydrolysed Whey Peptides, Cross Flow Micro and Ultra-Filtered Whey Protein Isolate (the best form of WPI) and Cross Flow Micro-Filtered Whey Protein Concentrate (the best form of WPC). So your take home message from all this is if you want to use a Whey Protein, don’t use a single Whey product, like just a WPI, or just a Hydrolysed Whey, use a blended Whey that combines different types of Whey to get the maximum benefits and longer growth window.

Next Level Blended Proteins

We’ve talked about Whey blends, but taking this a step further, combining Whey proteins with other protein sources has greater potential benefits that can lead to even bigger gains. Several studies have investigated a blend of faster (Whey) and slower (Casein) protein verses a single Whey Protein and concluded the blended protein to be superior. A new study, reported in the Journal of Applied Physiology from the University of Texas, found a blend of Whey, Soy and Casein produced superior muscle building results to Whey alone. The study went on to conclude that the slower digesting proteins elongated the anabolic window, allowing muscles to continue recovering and growing for up to 6 hours, much longer than is possible on just Whey. Opinions on Soy protein are divided, but the key message here is that a blend of fast medium and slow protein offers most trainers an anabolic advantage. Taking this even further, the slowest digesting form of Casein, known as Micellar Casein, can drip feed muscles for up to 7 – 8 hours, making this a good addition to any sustained release formula. The case for using blended proteins has certainly strengthened in the last few years with some key supplement manufactures moving more to these types of formulas as the science continues to reinforce the benefits. MAX’S Premium Protein range has embraced the blended protein philosophy. Our recent trials with athletes has confirmed excellent results and you will find all of our proteins now use protein blend exclusively. If you’re the type of trainer who leaves no stone unturned in your pursuit of your training goals then you should consider incorporating blended proteins into your nutritional plan.
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