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Aug 15, 2012

Whey Protein: The Way to Go

There is a lot of confusion about protein in general and about whey protein in particular. You can read about different protein types (soy, whey, casein) in an earlier blog and watch a short video overview.

What Is Whey Protein?
Whey protein is the highest quality dietary protein source and is used in most protein supplement  shakes.  Whey is a dairy protein that is a by-product of cheese production. It has a high biological value (BV), meaning that the amino acid ratio is perfectly proportioned to be used by the body and in building/maintaining muscle. In particular, whey protein is very high in the amino acid Leucine, which serves as an important signal for both protein synthesis in the muscles (building and maintaining lean muscle tissue) and appetite control in the brain. There are many different versions of whey protein that are used in products today, each with its own purpose and its own price tag. In its raw state, whey contains substantial amounts of fat and lactose, which can be reduced or removed using a variety of filtration techniques.

Concentrates and Isolates and Hydrolysates—Oh My!
Whey can be filtered and concentrated to varying degrees to remove more or less fat/sugar. Higher degrees of filtration and purification can yield a “concentrate” (typically 70%–80% protein) or an “isolate” (typically 90%–95% protein). Whey Protein Isolates (WPI) are more pure (and more expensive) sources of protein. WPI is often considered to be a “cleaner” source of protein because it is almost pure protein, allowing formulators to add as much or as little additional fat and carbohydrates as they wish to achieve specific nutrient targets. 

Whey Protein Concentrates (WPC) are still excellent sources of protein, but because they are less purified compared to the isolates, they often contain appreciable amounts of lactose and fat. Whey Protein Hydrolysate (WPH) is an isolate (WPI) that has been “hydrolyzed”—a process that uses enzymes to split the proteins into smaller chains of amino acids (peptides). This hydrolysis process mimics our own digestive actions, so it can be said that hydrolyzed protein is “pre-digested” for more rapid absorption than native non-hydrolyzed proteins.

Sometimes Speed Makes a Difference
In essence, hydrolyzed whey protein isolate (WPH) is the “fastest” source of high-quality protein available today; however, do you always need the “speed” of WPH? Sometimes yes and sometimes no.

For example, numerous studies have shown that whey protein (whether provided as WPC, WPI, or WPH) exerts satiating effects (controls appetite), maintains muscle mass, and reduces body fat more effectively than other sources of protein. Part of the appetite-controlling benefits of whey protein is due to an enhanced secretion of gut neuropeptides including cholecystokinin (CCK) and glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1).

Research has shown that an “extensively-hydrolyzed” whey protein (providing 30%–40% as di- and tri-peptides) can reach the bloodstream within 15–30 minutes. Because WPH is digested and absorbed faster from the gastrointestinal system, and reaches the bloodstream, muscles, and brain faster than any other protein source, it makes sense to focus on WPH as your source of whey protein when you need fast delivery—such as during workouts (for muscle benefits) and between meals (for appetite control).

RVL HDH Pro 10 Protein Bar
The new MonaVie RVL HDH Pro 10 protein bar contains 10 grams of extensively hydrolyzed whey protein. The “HDH” designation refers to a “high-degree of hydrolysis” which yields an industry-leading degree of di- and tri-peptides (up to 40%) for the fastest speed of absorption. This means that when you need a high quality fast-absorbing protein, you have it at your fingertips in the form of convenient, great-tasting, science-based RVL HDH Pro 10 bars.

The optimal time to use this type of protein is before exercise or between meals. Consuming a RVL HDH Pro 10 bar before, during, or after exercise will quickly stimulate protein synthesis and provide the nutrients your body needs to properly recover, rebuild, and progress.  Eating a bar as a between-meal snack will help control appetite and allow you to curb cravings from one meal to the next. The RVL Nutrition System provides the right type of protein—at the right time—so you can move in the right direction toward your goals.


About the Authors: Jeff Later is MonaVie’s Manager of Product Discovery and an avid national-level bodybuilder. Shawn Talbott is MonaVie’s Vice President of Product Innovation & Education and an avid ultramarathoner and Ironman triathlete. They both use MonaVie’s RVL HDH Pro 10 bars as a regular part of their workouts and nutrition regimens.

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