Whey protein has gone through a number of phases over the years – from being used only by bodybuilders to now being used by athletes and casual exercisers at all levels.

This article will get to the core of what science says about whey protein powders. You will learn whether or not you should you use whey protein, the differences between the various types of whey protein, and how to make a smart purchase if you decide to use it.

What is Whey Protein?

Whey protein is a liquid byproduct of cheese production that is sold as a dietary supplement in protein powders and shakes. Whey protein used to be discarded by cheese manufacturers as a waste product.

Pouring curds and whey into a sieve. The whey is the yellow translucent liquid.

Whey protein is also a “complete protein” that is fast and easy to digest. Whenever we eat a protein source, our body uses the 20 amino acids (which are the individual components of “protein”) to repair our bones, muscles, organs and virtually every body part and tissue in the human body. When a source of protein has all 9 essential amino acids, which are amino acids your body needs to get from food, that food is said to be a complete protein. Foods like meats, dairy, eggs and rare vegetable proteins such as quinoa are complete proteins. On the other hand, most vegetables, rice and starches are not complete proteins because they are missing one or more of the essential amino acids.

Not only do foods have different amino acid profiles, but the rate at which the protein is absorbed by your body can vary. Of the different measures of protein absorption, one of the most popular is Biological Value (BV). Whey protein just so happens to have the highest score possible with a Biological Value of 100. This means that whey protein contains all the amino acids needed to make a complete protein and is very easily digested by your body.

Whey Protein Benefits

While no supplement can replace a diet of whole, natural, unprocessed foods, whey protein can be useful for people with a very busy, on-the-go lifestyle as a supplement to their normal diet.

The benefits of a high-quality whey protein supplement range from purely aesthetic to health preserving. Here’s a small list of 10 benefits that have been associated with whey protein supplementation:

  • Weight Loss
  • Assists in increasing in muscle mass
  • Assist in cancer treatment
  • Increase in glutathione levels (your body’s main water-based anti-oxidant)
  • Decrease in HIV symptoms
  • Decrease in triglycerides
  • Decrease in total cholesterol while increasing HDL (good cholesterol)
  • Increase in immune system function
  • Increase in power in sports
  • Decreased recovery time and symptoms of over-training
  • Specific amino acids are used by your body for specific reasons. For instance, whey protein is high in Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s), which are 3 of the 9 essential amino acids that are of special importance for muscle repair and preservation. In both exercise and in recovery of exercise, your body will break down a small amount of amino acids for fuel (1-5%) and the specific amino acids your body uses are the BCAA’s. Although this is a small percentage overall, your body will break down muscle in order to get those BCAA’s. By providing the body with a high amount of BCAA’s, your body preserves your muscle, while the specific amino acid leucine actually stimulates protein synthesis.

    This means is that leucine sends a signal to your body to increase its storage of amino acids and the way your body primarily does this is by adding muscle.

    So if you’re trying to put on muscle, having enough BCAA’s is essential to both help preserve the muscle, while also helping to stimulate additional muscle growth. If you’re in a hypo-caloric state (if you’re trying to lose weight and are cutting calories), preserving muscle becomes even more important and ensuring that you have enough BCAA’s helps to keep your body from losing muscle, while simultaneously helping you to lose fat.

    Another huge benefit of whey protein is that studies have indicated that glutathione production increases. Although you may have heard of Vitamin C or Vitamin E as being anti-oxidants, what your body mainly uses as an anti-oxidant to scavenge free radicals is glutathione, making it one of the most important substances in your body. Glutathione is made from three main amino acids; cysteine, glutamic acid and glycine. The rate-limiting amino acid (what limits production of glutathione) is usually the amino acid cysteine, and although the exact mechanism with whey protein intake is not known, it is theorized that the relatively high amount of cysteine in whey is what increases glutathione production.

    If you look at the list of benefits from up above (assistance with cancer, HIV, decreased recovery time, etc), most of those benefits are usually attributed to the increase in glutathione production.

    Whey Protein Risks?

    Generally, most of the complications associated with whey protein intake have to do with digestive issues, such as gas, bloating, headaches, cramps and fatigue. None of these are generally considered life-threatening, more so than annoying complications.

    Most of the literature has shown that if you’re experiencing any of have these symptoms, they are most likely due to either the lactose (found more in Whey Protein Concentrate) or sweeteners used more so than the whey protein itself. With that said, there are different methods of whey production, such as ion-exchanged that can influence how well your body can utilize the protein, leading to improper digestion of the whey itself.

    The biggest fear often expressed about whey protein intake is that too much protein is “bad for the kidneys.” Research though has shown this is not true at all in healthy individuals. For those with known kidney disease, high protein diets can exacerbate pre-existing conditions. Healthy individuals, without any underlying or unknown kidney disease have nothing to worry about with higher intakes of protein.

    What does occur with higher protein intakes is your body adapts to the increase in protein by increasing glomerular filtration rates (which means more fluid passes by your kidneys and there’s an increase in urine production).

    Whey Protein Types

    If you’ve ever gone to purchase a whey protein supplement, you may have felt a little confused by the different types out there and wonder why one brand may be so expensive and the other so “affordable.”
    This section will help filter through some of the main types of Whey protein.

    There are three main types of whey protein: (1) Whey Protein Concentrate, (2) Whey Protein Isolate and (3) Whey Protein Hydrolysate. The differences between these three come down to how processed the protein is and hence the amount of protein present without any of the other qualities of dairy products such as fat, lactose (milk sugar), and various immunoglobulins.

    1. Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) is generally the cheapest of the three and has the lowest amount of protein per 100 grams of the three types. Despite having the lowest protein content, it still has a very high percentage typically ranging from 55-89%. The other 11-45% is made up of fat, lactose and contains higher amounts of various immune-enhancing peptides such as alpha-lactalbumin and immunoglobulins.

    2. Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) has on average 95% of its weight coming from protein, with minimal lactose and fat. This is more expensive than concentrate and there are varying methods of filtration that can keep many of the beneficial qualities of the concentrate, although this generally costs more.

    3. Whey Protein Hydrolysate (WPH) is a further degraded protein that digests very quickly in the body and has about 99% of its weight coming from protein. This is the most expensive of the three and generally the worst tasting.

    When To Use Whey Protein

    Since Whey Protein is quickly digested, the only time you would want to take whey protein alone is within 30 to 60 minutes after a strength-training based workout. At any other time, you would want to slow down the digestion of the protein by eating it with other foods. For example, if you want extra protein for breakfast, but don’t want eggs, you can add the whey protein powder to some oats, in various pancake recipes.

    If on the other hand, you’re looking for a quick snack at work, you can have a shake with some nuts or fish oil to slow down the digestion of the protein. The combination of the fat will help slow down the digestion of the protein, thereby allowing insulin levels to stay level, while also stimulating CCK, which is a hormone that helps tell your body that you’re full.

    What is The Best Whey Protein?

    There are various qualities people will look for when purchasing a whey protein supplement, which range from purity, to digestibility, to whether or not it’s from an organic source, to quite simply the taste of the protein itself. The key characteristics of the whey protein supplement is that it contains a high amount of protein, very little to no artificial sweeteners and/or hormones, all the beneficial components of the immunoglobulins, minimization of lactose, while being somewhat palatable.

    With all of those factors taken into consideration, whey protein isolate turns to being your top pick, as it meets all the criteria. Whey Protein Isolate has high amounts of protein, while minimizing the amount of lactose (found more in WPC). WPI is easily digested and if cold-filtered can contain most of the immunoglobulins, which the whey protein hydrolysate is typically lacking due to the extreme processing it goes through. Also, although WPC may taste a bit better, whey protein hydrolysate is not very palatable, whereas you can find WPI brands with minimal artificial sweeteners that still tastes good.

    Best Whey Protein:

    Here are the BuiltLean top picks for best whey protein powders:

    Blue Bonnet 100% Whey Protein Isolate

    Enhanced Life Extension Whey Protein

    Runner Up: Tera’s Whey

    The runner up to Blue Bonnet and Life Extension is Tera’s Whey Organic, which is a Whey Protein concentrate as opposed to an Isolate, but still of very high quality (and generally a bit more on the pricey side).

    If you have any additional questions, please feel free to leave a comment below. I know this was a long article, so thanks for reading!



    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Mar 16, 2012 - 10:02 #

      John – this is a huge and awesome article with tons of great information. Excellent work!

    2. profile avatar
      Farseer Mar 16, 2012 - 10:31 #

      Excellent article – very informative. Thanks!

      1. profile avatar
        John Leyva, CPT Mar 16, 2012 - 20:26 #

        @Farseer. Thanks. Hope you got some good information from the article.

    3. profile avatar
      Ray Mar 16, 2012 - 14:52 #

      Thanks for the well put article! I am a bit confused regarding protein though. See I read a consumers report stating how many protein powders/ shakes have harmful heavy metals and how the average person gets enough protein in a normal diet making them unnecessary.

      1. profile avatar
        John Leyva, CPT Mar 16, 2012 - 20:32 #

        @Ray – I actually read about the consumer reports article and a lot of the negative publicity was geared towards a different brand of protein supplements, which listed having high amounts of arsenic. With that said, the brands I recommend tend to be of much higher quality and more pure. As for the average person getting enough protein from a “normal diet,” there is a big difference between enough for maintenance and for optimal health and recovery, especially if you’re working out. If you’re the average sedentary individual, then you shouldn’t be using a protein shake.

        Remember, the article lists some of the best times to take a protein shake and why to use it. If you’re eating a healthy diet with good sources of protein and don’t need the extra protein, then a shake might not be good for you. For people that are busy who need that extra protein, it can definitely be beneficial. Hope that helps.

    4. profile avatar
      Darien Mar 16, 2012 - 16:13 #

      John – This article was extremely helpful. Previously, I would choose my whey protein powder based on the number of protein grams per serving, without looking at anything else. I would be curious to get your thoughts on protein powders that have both whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate. For an example, check out the Market Pantry whey protein powder sold at Target. I look forward to trying Blue Blonnet.

      1. profile avatar
        John Leyva, CPT Mar 16, 2012 - 20:46 #

        @Darien. Generally, the protein powders that have both WPC and WPI have a much higher percentage coming from the WP Concentrate as the WP Isolate is more expensive. There are many different reasons why people choose specific protein powders, and if you don’t have any digestive issues with the Market Pantry Whey (no excess gas, bloating, etc) then stick with it. In general, my recommendations are on the long-term sustainability of health of my clients. In other words, what would I give to someone with a “weak stomach” or my mom over the long-term and not necessarily on taste. The brands I recommend are ones that I would give to those individuals with confidence that they’ll be beneficial to them. If price is your main concern though and that brand works for you, go for it. Just stay aware if you start getting any digestive distress, in which case, I would switch up brands. If you have any other questions, let me know. Thanks.

    5. profile avatar
      Zeke Arter Mar 16, 2012 - 16:35 #

      Thank you for the article. I had been confused when I read many different articles that talked about protein being harmful to the kidneys in higher doses. My question remains, however. How much protein should a 165 lb. man take in while cutting body fat, and also how much should I take in while I’m trying to gain muscle mass?

      1. profile avatar
        John Leyva, CPT Mar 16, 2012 - 20:50 #

        @Zeke – The standard 1 gram per pound of Lean body mass or weight seems to work for most individuals. In a hypocaloric state (on a diet), your protein needs are actually increased and so the 1 gram per pound of bodyweight should be the rule. When trying to gain mass, you’re generally in a hyper caloric state (you’re taking in an excess of calories) and therefore, protein needs should drop a little as carbs act as a potent anti-catabolic stimulus (carbs help preserve muscle). The 1 gram per pound of lean body mass (Weight – pounds from body fat) should suffice when trying to gain muscle mass. Let me know if you have any other questions.

    6. profile avatar
      dave Mar 17, 2012 - 09:36 #

      Great article. This answered a lot of questions I had in the back of my mind about whey. Should I assume that whey is superior to soy?

      1. profile avatar
        John Leyva, CPT Mar 18, 2012 - 21:08 #

        @Dave – It really depends on what your goal is. The research has been mixed in studies comparing soy and whey, with some studies showing a slight edge with whey and other studies showing no differences. Personally, I’m not a big fan of soy and if whey doesn’t bother you, I would stick with that if you’re using protein powder. Hope that helps.

        1. profile avatar
          Dave Mar 21, 2012 - 13:55 #

          thanks John

    7. profile avatar
      kon Mar 18, 2012 - 17:34 #

      nice info but no protein supplement can go above 91% in protein everything claiming to be more than 91% is a scamm and many of the proteins that claim even 90% protein in their supplements present false labels to the public.

      1. profile avatar
        John Leyva, CPT Mar 18, 2012 - 21:15 #

        @kon – I think there might be a misunderstanding, as protein powders, by weight, can be higher than 91%. By calories, unless you’re purchasing individual amino acids, you may be correct, where protein powders don’t go over 91%. I couldn’t find a reputable source for your comment, but even with the protein powders I suggest, they only get to 89.5% by calories. If you have a good source for that information, I’d genuinely like to take a look at it. Thanks for the comment.

        1. profile avatar
          kon Mar 19, 2012 - 10:33 #

          i have read some articles on the net about the filtration methods and the way they make high protein percentages(sry for my english if something is wrong its not my main language)but i forgot to keep bibliography as im not into this professionaly.However there is a very good youtube channel named rickmartis1 very very informative and educational explains a lot about supplements has a lot of videos on proteins and reveals the way large companies scamm the public into believing in huge protein percentages.This guy im telling u about has been selling supplements in the US for like 22 years and is being very honest selling good products at the lowest possible prices while revealing big companyy scamms to the public.A short-not very scientific answer- is take a look at the label where it states other ingredients.If it has like 10 or more ingredients(other than the protein and the protein peptides) and they sell it to u saying its 91% or more then 99.9% of the time they are lying.Take a look at http://www.physicaladdictions.com/ and check a protein named Magic WPI to see waht im talking about its the best protein u can find.Check this sources and reply to me.THANKS

    8. profile avatar
      josh Mar 18, 2012 - 22:13 #

      do excessive amounts of protein cause high blood pressure? not only coming from powders shakes but from regular foods eggs, chicken, fish and red meats. i noticed it because at the end of the day or the next day i develop Hemorrhoids. so when that happens i decrease my protein intake and it goes away. I haven’t found research about this symptom when it comes to protein, and i haven’t actually talked to my doctor about this because i feel embarrassing about it. In most cases its when I’m a low carb or no carb diet to lean down. Im around the 145’s lbs 5’5. Overall your article is very informative. if i understood right Isolate protein will be much fast digestible than concentrate right John ? i take my regular protein shake isolates during the day and a last protein shake before bedtime Elite XT exteded released to make it through the nite for the next day.

      1. profile avatar
        John Leyva Mar 20, 2012 - 07:01 #

        @Josh-Very high amounts of protein will effect fluid balance, generally causing dehydration symptoms, especially when combined with low carbs as carbs in general will tell your body to hold onto more water. For example, for every molecule of glycogen, there’s 4 water molecules (this is why people will drop water weight quickly on a low carb diet). With that said, if you’re having symptoms of high blood pressure from protein intake, you might want to see your doctor and see about the health of your kidneys. Generally hemorrhoids aren’t from high blood pressure, but other reasons (dehydration being one of the reasons) with that said, again, I would recommend you talk to your doctor about it.
        As for your question, yes, WP Isolate will be digested a little quicker than concentrate.
        Besides those points, there are two other quick things you should think about: 1 – It sounds like you’re taking in a lot of protein from shakes, with the extended release being from casein. A lot of people that can handle whey don’t do so well with casein protein shakes from a digestion stand-point. 2 – Hypocaloric states tend to ramp down your metabolism and that includes the transit time through the digestive system. If you’re in a hypocaloric state (on a diet or low carb), and not taking in a lot of fiber and enough water, you might have digestive issues. So make sure you’re taking in enough water and fiber. Hope that helps and am interested in what your Dr has to say.

    9. profile avatar
      Ravi Mar 19, 2012 - 05:32 #

      Great article – to the average person, concentrate, isolate, and hydrosylate all sound the same. Thanks for clearing up the major differences.

    10. profile avatar
      Soji Mar 19, 2012 - 06:04 #

      Extremely informative and well written article John!

      1. profile avatar
        John Leyva, CPT Mar 19, 2012 - 10:47 #

        Thanks Soji.

    11. profile avatar
      Chuck Mar 19, 2012 - 09:15 #

      My research has led me to believe the best types of whey, are the type that most successfully raise ones Glutathione levels and the most minimally processed, which appear to be concentrates. I believe another important consideration when choosing a whey product is what the cows have been eating. There are whey products derived from 100% grass fed cows, that have never been given hormones or antibiotics and that would seem to me to be very important. Please check out Defense Nutrition Warrior Whey, and Well Wisdom’s Vital Whey. I also follow Dr. Mercola who OEM’s Defense Nutrition’s concentrate, and advocates concentrate over isolate. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on the science behind their products. They are expensive, but if what they say has merit, we are after all putting this in our bodies.

      1. profile avatar
        John Leyva Mar 20, 2012 - 06:56 #

        @Chuck-Gluthathione levels should increase with any whey shake, as the three amino acids glutamine, glycine and cysteine is what forms the foundation of gluthathione. As stated in the article though, cysteine seems to be rate-limiting amino acid although how exactly glutathione levels are increased is still not known for sure. With that said, the amino acid profiles of whey protein isolate tend to be better from a BCAA standpoint (muscle building and recovery) than concentrates, while also having not having an appreciable difference from the cysteine standpoint. I’ve looked at the brands you listed and they are more expensive than I can recommend. The Warrior Whey (a protein I will try out someday as the raw milk part intrigues me) is something I have looked at, but at close to $2.40 a serving, the question of what you’re trying to achieve comes into play. Am I trying to be healthier from the Whey or gain muscle while maintaining (possibly increasing) my health? For me, it’s the latter answer and that’s where the Tera’s whey which is organic, grass-fed and the Blue Bonnet cows are not given any hormones (also grass-fed) come into play. With that said, how much of a difference does that make when the protein is a highly processed food? I’m not sure, but overall, I agree that the more pure, the better, but at some point price should also play into consideration, especially if they’re grass-fed, hormone/anti-biotic free. Also, the concentrates have a lot of the immunoglobulins, but so does cold-filtrated isolates, which is why I like them.

        In the end though, these are brands I recommend. If other brands work for you and you like them/believe in them, stick with them. I’m not trying to convert you to a different brand, just giving you information on why whey protein can be beneficial for people who need extra protein or have busy lifestyles. Thanks for the comment.

      2. profile avatar
        J.B. Jun 04, 2012 - 18:28 #

        Chuck, your question is a good one and something I have given some thought to as well. One thing you should be aware of is that there is now a lawsuit against Ori Hofmekler/Defense Nutrition about false claims they make on the whey in their products. I found something about online at
        Here is copy from that post…
        The charges against Defense Nutrition include: falsely claiming that the milk it uses is hormone-treatment free (only a small percentage of cows in the United States are, the complaint says), not using 100% grass-fed cows as claimed (and not being able to substantiate such claims), misrepresenting its whey’s concentration of the key dairy component lactoferrin, and falsely claiming higher concentrations of certain amino acids, including highly desirable cysteine (and copying the amino acid profile of another company’s product, Salibra, by Glandia Foods).
        Defense Nutrition has strong ties to Mercola. They make some of his whey products and their name is on the Mercola labels. Dr. Mercola has his own history of credibility issues. Until I learn that they can be trusted, I will not be buying any Defense Nutrition products.

    12. profile avatar
      Jay Mar 19, 2012 - 10:42 #

      Could you elaborate on why those three powders are your top choices? What about them makes them better than others?

      1. profile avatar
        John Leyva, CPT Mar 19, 2012 - 11:07 #

        @Jay – In choosing a whey protein supplement, what’s most important for me is the purity or amount of ingredients in the bottle, while not having it cost a fortune. The two WPI’s I recommend are my favorite because they mix easily and really only has whey protein isolate, no artificial sweetners, and is affordable. This should make it easily digestible for most people, with minimal lactose and fat. The processing for both are cold-filtered, which helps the proteins maintain many of their immunoglobulins and other beneficial components that whey protein concentrate has. The vanilla is for taste purposes, as that’s very low on my list, but I know a lot of people choose their protein powders on taste, which isn’t big on my list. Those are my main reasons. The Tera’s Whey is mainly for the same reasons listed above (purity, digestibility, no artificial sweetners, maintains immune enhancing aspects), as I will occassionally switch up brands/types because it’s been beneficial for me from a digestibility stand point over the long haul. Let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks.

    13. profile avatar
      John Leyva, CPT Mar 19, 2012 - 11:16 #

      @kon- Thanks for responding. I checked out the sites and feel that we’re on the same page. The brands I recommend don’t have a lot of ingredients and I try to choose brands based on their purity. I’ve never heard of the all natural sweetener LoHanGoa, which is found in the Magic WPI and so, personally, I would stay away from it. Besides that ingredient though, it looks like the same basic structure of the brands recommended, cold-filtration, WPI with minimal ingredients. Thanks again.

      1. profile avatar
        kon Mar 19, 2012 - 11:46 #

        i replied to u in one of the comments just forgot to press the reply on ur image.oops

    14. profile avatar
      alec Mar 25, 2012 - 12:45 #

      John, Marc:

      Great article! A few questions:

      1) Is there a preferred method of mixing protein powder for ingestion? IE, water or milk, added fruits, etc.

      2) Is there a preferred non-whey protein powder and would you consider doing a similar post for non-whey protein?


    15. profile avatar
      John Leyva Mar 26, 2012 - 09:18 #

      @Alec – Two good questions you have there.
      1 – There is no clear-cut rules with what to mix it with, but here are some guidelines:
      A – If you’re sensitive to dairy, then avoid dairy and for taste, you can mix it with other milk substitutes, such as almond milk, rice milk, etc.
      B – If you’re taking the shake post-workout, you want the protein to be used as quickly as possible, which means don’t have a full-fat milk as that would slow digestion and skim milk or water might be better at that point. If you’re taking it as a meal replacement during the day, you can have it with some full fat milk (calories still count) to slow down the digestion.
      C – I prefer to have the shakes with water, but at the end of the day, this is an individual preference, so experiment with what works best for you.

      2 – There are a lot of non-whey protein powders from casein, eggs, beef, soy, and other vegan protein powders. This is a large area, and personally think for a protein shake, when it comes to muscle building and health, whey is really the best out there. Good for everyone except for vegans. With that said, my preferred vegan protein powder is Plant Fusion, which is soy/dairy/animal free. The way the manufacturers made the protein, was smart as they ensured high levels of BCAA’s from hypoallergenic plant sources.

    16. profile avatar
      Tims Mar 27, 2012 - 04:48 #

      Am a begginner in gym and hav gud amount of fats in my body specially upper body. I want to get in shape with muscle toning as my primary objective which includes gettin rid of excessive fats. Which protein wud u recommend? Also tel abt the dosage and wen to take the protein drink??

      1. profile avatar
        John Leyva Mar 29, 2012 - 05:59 #

        @Tims – Any of the recommended proteins in the article should suffice, while if you’re trying to lose fat, you can do one of two things in terms of when to take the protein:
        1 – You can either take it as a meal replacement for one of your meals (although I would have a good source of dietary fat such as nuts or 1/4 of an avocado with it to slow down the digestion of the shake).
        2 – Right after your workout, I would take a serving of protein.
        As for the dosage, just take one serving as the scoops that come with the shakes will give you that amount. Thanks for the comment.

    17. profile avatar
      Chuck Warner Mar 27, 2012 - 13:38 #


      Just circling back to thank you for our thoughtful response to my comments on Whey concedntrates, Warrior Whey, Vital Whey, grass fed etc. which I made on March 19. The more information we all have the better decsions we can make.


    18. profile avatar
      John Phung Apr 01, 2012 - 07:17 #

      What are your thoughts about adding whey protein to coffee? I hear people talking about caffeine affecting the absorption of protein, but couldn’t find any concrete proof.

      This is the only way I take my whey protein. I normally add milk to my coffee to cool it down first, then add about 1/3 – 1/2 scoop of whey. I find that if I add it to coffee without cooling it down first, the whey protein curdles up. I drink coffee this way about 3-4/day.

    19. profile avatar
      John Leyva, CPT Apr 03, 2012 - 09:17 #

      @John Phung – Good question and from what I’ve read and seen over the years is that the whey protein with coffee should be fine, especially as you describe mixing it with the milk first. Just bear in mind, there might be some mechanisms from caffeine and coffee that may affect absorption, such as the release of catecholamines, polyphenols, etc, but these things would be so small, they wouldn’t be of any large concern.

      Just note that if you’re taking WPC or cold-filtered WPI, the heat from the coffee may denature some of the immunoglobulins but should leave the protein itself pretty much intact. Thanks for the comment.

    20. profile avatar
      raven Apr 18, 2012 - 08:39 #

      hey john ur article is realy helpful. bt i have jst got a question for ya wondring if u can help me out . i have jst started a gym 4 weeks ago motive is too loose fat an built up lil bit of muscles an get into a proper shape . so if u can help me wid which whey protien will be helpfull to me according to my situation (WPC) ,(WPI) ,(WPH).

    21. profile avatar
      Oscar May 24, 2012 - 13:10 #

      Hello, Great article!!! I am currently taking Carnivor Protein Powder Beef Protein, is it good or bad? Also if I can consume my weight in protein 155g daily from food, I guess I don’t need to use any kind of supplement, is that right? I workout twice per week and 2 or 3 HIITS per week and eat very healthy.
      Thank you

      1. profile avatar
        John Leyva Jul 10, 2012 - 23:04 #

        @Oscar – Generally, if you’re getting enough protein from food, then you might not need the extra protein from a shake. As for the Beef Protein powder, I’m not too familiar with, but should still be high in the BCAA’s and therefore beneficial from a maintenance or building of muscle point of view, but probably won’t have the same health benefits of whey. Thanks for the comment.

    22. profile avatar
      steve Jun 05, 2012 - 01:30 #

      Hey John, thxs for the article on Whey powders.

      My question is: l can buy 20kg’s of food grade WPC (nothing else added) from a whey distributor for about $280.00.

      WPI is about double that which is a lot cheaper than buying some of the big name producers but what benefits am l missing out on by not buying the expensive brands l understand some have added carbs more amino acids added etc etc, but why couldn’t l add my own carbs and extra amino acids, which are available over the net.

      Thanks in advance.

      1. profile avatar
        John Leyva Jul 10, 2012 - 23:01 #

        @Steve – If Whey Protein Concentrate, nor the overall quality of the WPC is an issue for you and price is your main concern, then I would go with it. Just make sure that if you’re taking it multiple times per day, for months on end, be sure to check in on how you end up feeling after you take the shake. If you ever start to feel worse off from it, I would switch up the type of protein for a little bit.

    23. profile avatar
      Tom Jun 10, 2012 - 17:46 #

      Wow John!

      This is a very popular article. I bought Bluebonnet protein, but wasn’t using it correctly till I re-read this article. I’m glad I did. A lot of people are interested in this article because it’s all about fat reduction and muscle gain using the right protein supplement at the right times of day.


    24. profile avatar
      Thomas Jun 13, 2012 - 00:50 #

      J. B., Chuck and Joe,
      So Defense Nutrition which is Ori Hofmekler and his Warrior Whey is now being sued for false whey claims. The ingredient whey which goes into most of the Mercola Whey products is from Defense Nutrition. False claims about being 100% grass-fed, hormone-treatment-free. Those are the main qualities that determine what whey I purchase. Not good news for a lot of consumers. I learned a while ago one has to get certification on claims from every company you buy from to make sure they are honest. I am staying with known companies that answer, in writing, all my questions. I am using Vital Whey with Proserum.

      1. profile avatar
        Lisa Jun 16, 2012 - 00:01 #

        I really like Progressive Whey Protein. It’s made entirely from certified organic, non-GMO ingredients. The protein is derived from organically farmed cattle that are raised without steroids, antibiotics or rBGH.

    25. profile avatar
      Nate Jun 21, 2012 - 19:44 #


      Thanks for writing this article. I had no idea there were different qualities of protein powder. If I do a 45 minute weight workout followed by 20 minutes of cardio, when is the best time to have my post-workout protein shake, before or after the cardio?

      1. profile avatar
        John Leyva Jul 10, 2012 - 22:56 #

        @Nate – Glad you learned something from the article. As for your question, it really depends on your goal. For fat loss, you would be best served to have it immediately after your cardio.

    26. profile avatar
      Andy Jul 27, 2012 - 14:10 #

      John–Really appreciate this article! Straightforward and to the point, but with enough science to make me feel like I understand much better what I am putting into my body.

    27. profile avatar
      Vee Jul 29, 2012 - 19:50 #

      John – This article was extremely helpful and through! I now have a far better understanding of Whey Protein and its benefits.

    28. profile avatar
      Rita Oct 13, 2012 - 14:10 #

      Thanks for the article. I’m interested in taking whey right after I strength train or on the days I do cardio. I’m interested in the bluebonnet brand. However, I noticed that it contains soybeans. I have read that soy can and can’t be good for you. I have read that it may disrupt a woman’s estrogen levels and could even be cancer causing. I’m a little confused with the whole soy issue. I want the best and purest whey protein. However, I get concerned when I read negative articles on soy.

      1. profile avatar
        John Leyva, CSCS, CPT Oct 16, 2012 - 14:23 #

        @Rita – The soy in the BlueBonnet is soy lechitin. Many of the issues with soy are due to the possible allergic effects of soy, which is usually found in the protein portion of soy or it’s estrogenic properties, which would show up in the phytoestrogens. The soy lechitin contains neither of these components and therefore should not cause any concern from those two standpoints. With that said, the fear of soy lechitin has become so widespread due to mis-information that a lot of companies are now using sunflower lechitin as a replacement. Thus far I have not seen any protein manufacturer’s switch over to sunflower lechitin.

    29. profile avatar
      Frank Oct 14, 2012 - 20:31 #

      Hi John,

      Very interesting article!

      I am just shy of 6 foot tall and about 210 pounds (lots of body fat to lose!). I am trying to lose body fat while keeping muscle so I try to take about 200 grs of protein / day. As I can’t get it all from whole food, I have bought Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard whey as protein supplement.
      The thing is that when taking it, I don’t follow the usage advise (1 scoop of whey) as that’s only 24 g. of protein which is clearly not enough to get my daily dose of protein. I put 3-4 scoops instead and have a single protein shake per day after the workout. Due to my job, I have to work out at the evening (8-9 PM) and my protein shake actually replaces my dinner as well (as I try to keep the kcals in check). During the day I have a breakfast plus a single whole meal per day for lunch.

      So my questions are:
      – Do you have any opinion on the Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard whey? They don’t sell the brand you advise where I live.
      – Am I taking too much protein at once? Is it a waste? It might be like flushing money down the toilet… quite literally… In short, is there any downside in taking such dose at once?
      – Any advise on how to take the protein in an efficient way? I often read things like having one between each meal but it is just not possible for me due to my job. Maybe I can take one as a pre-workout snack (like around 1 hour before the workout)?

      Your site is really great by the way, thanks to bring your knowledge to the masses so that we can all be healthier and fitter!

      1. profile avatar
        John Leyva, CSCS, CPT Oct 16, 2012 - 14:33 #

        @Frank – Glad you found the article interesting.
        As for your questions:
        1 – If you don’t have any issues (ie, bloating, gas, etc) with ON Gold Standard Whey, then I would continue to use it. The recommendations I made were for the majority of people and I know a number of people who do not properly digest certain brands of Whey.
        2 – That seems like an excessive amount of protein at one time. Most estimates at the high-end of protein utilization at any one point would be 40-60 grams, where anything over that amount is really not utilized by the body and generally being converted to other things. 1 -2 scoops, at max, should suffice, and that would really depend on the veracity of your workout. The downside is your not utilizing that protein and causing it to be converted to other substances that were not your original intentions.
        3 – It would be better to take pre-workout (at least an hour before) and possibly post-workout. A better option would be to take 1-2 scoops pre-workout and eat a meal post-workout or vice versa. Only you know your schedule, but most of your protein should come in the form of food if you’re trying to lose weight as it should help with hunger better than the liquid shakes.

        Hope that helps.

        1. profile avatar
          Harsha Aug 01, 2016 - 19:50 #

          Hi John

          I went through your article and all the comments made by different individuals with regard to the different proteins they use and your recommendations.I would like to thank you for the informative recomendations provided in the article and your comments and I do find them really helpfull.
          I have a question to ask from you with regard to a protein I used and about the muscle growth.
          I used a Hard gainer while ago and had a digestive issue where it was never absorbed to my body and every time I used it ,it gave me a lose stomach and never increased the muscle growth.Is there a reason behind this?.I stopped using proteins for a while and now I’m thinking of going for whey protein cause with the busy schedules I find it hard to gain the necessary nutrition only from food.Could you be able to recommend me a whey protein that would help me to increase the muscle mass which also would not cause any digestive issues as before.
          Thank you.

        2. profile avatar
          Kristin Aug 02, 2016 - 13:17 #

          Hi Harsha,

          We recommend using a 100% grassfed, organic whey protein isolate (such as Naked Whey). Avoid whey proteins that contain a lot of fillers and artificial ingredients. Naked Whey contains zero additives, making it a good, clean source of easily digestible protein.

          If you continue to have trouble digesting whey protein, it’s possible that you have a food allergy/sensitivity. In that case, you might want to consider trying an egg-based or plant-based protein powder. My favorite plant-based protein is Vega Sport Performance. It contains 30g of complete protein and 150 calories in one scoop. Hope that helps!

          -Kristin, BuiltLean Coach & Managing Editor

    30. profile avatar
      Kaushal Das Aug 02, 2016 - 09:40 #

      Dear John- I am 21 and I have joined gym for 3 months. Is it suitable for me to take Whey?

    31. profile avatar
      Samantha Aug 04, 2016 - 11:03 #

      I think I am experiencing an accelerated heart rate now that I am taking some whey protein. Do you know why it could be and could you tell me please if this could be dangerous? many thanks! Sam

      1. profile avatar
        Kristin Aug 04, 2016 - 15:53 #

        Hi Sam,

        It sounds like you might have a food sensitivity or allergy to whey, casein, lactose, or something else in the protein supplement. Make sure you’re using a grass-fed, organic whey protein with no added chemicals or fillers. If that still causes you to have an accelerated heart rate. I would recommend trying an egg- or plant-based protein instead of whey. Try that out, and let me know how it goes!

        -Kristin, BuiltLean Coach & Managing Editor

    32. profile avatar
      Ramya Aug 06, 2016 - 01:19 #

      I am a 31 year old woman with 5’3″ height and 55kg weight. I seem to have less muscle mass and 32% fat. My limbs are weaker and trunk seem to be bit over on the fat concentration. Being a vegetarian I have to look for protein supplements. I lead am active life with running and yoga at least 5 days a week. Any suggestions on what whey to take, how frequently and in what quantity?

      1. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Aug 06, 2016 - 16:42 #

        Hey Ramya, if you are a vegetarian, you can consider other protein powder sources like Plant Fusion of Sun Warrior, and Vega is another brand. When typically has less ingredients, but they are an option. In terms of how much to take and in what quantity, that’s really the job of a nutritionist. From my perspective, if you are getting about half of your bodyweight in protein grams per day, that should be sufficient. In addition, if you are focused on losing fat, controlling calories is more important than worrying about macronutrients. My philosophy is to eat filling foods that don’t provide many calories – a whole foods diet. It makes losing fat much easier. And big congrats on staying healthy with yoga and running, that’s awesome!

    33. profile avatar
      ken davenport Aug 07, 2016 - 18:06 #

      i have read your report on whey protein and found it really helpful, however I have not taken it for a while now and am trying to get back into training and rebuild myself back up ,as i have lost loads of weight and size. one main reason is i have an eating disorder and do not eat meet and on eat very few things. i am finding it very concerning in my weight loss and size which is making me very low . can you suggest any reading or articles through the internet that can help me through panic attacks and food disorders . regards ken

    34. profile avatar
      Jawad Oct 20, 2016 - 11:44 #

      Hey guys plz tell me i m 18 yrs old and my weight is less than 50 I want to u gain my weight guys which proteins I needed and normal excersize which one and whey proteins which one How can use and I want to gain a weight plz tell me which protein and exercise I needed

      1. profile avatar
        Kristin Rooke, CPT Oct 20, 2016 - 15:08 #

        If your goal is to gain weight and build muscle, you’re going to have to eat MORE calories than you burn while following a muscle building strength program. A general recommendation is to eat your bodyweight (lbs) in grams of protein daily. If you’re currently 50kg, that means you’re 110lbs. You’ll want to get at least 110g of protein per day (if not slightly more, like 130g daily). Check out this article to learn more: Are You Eating Enough Protein To Build Muscle?.

        As for strength training, you’ll want to do a combination of low rep heavy lifting, and higher rep moderate weight lifting. You need to apply enough stress and damage to the muscle tissue to encourage your muscles to grow.

        If you’re interested in following a workout and nutrition program specifically designed for muscle building, you should get on the launch list for BuiltLean Muscle.

        Hope that gives you some direction! If you have more questions, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].

        -Kristin, BuiltLean Coach & Managing Editor

    35. profile avatar
      Shyam Oct 24, 2016 - 15:20 #

      Hi, I’m looking to build an athletic physique and would like to know if using muscletech nitro tech whey is good for me. Will it help me achieve my target? In addition to whey isolate, it has 3g of creatine monohydrate and 6.9 g of BCAAS. Also, can I use some other brand of whey like OPTIMUM NUTRITION on some other intermediate days? If I can use it, how should I use it and on what timings? If I should not, what are the reasons?
      Please help me. Thank you.

    36. profile avatar
      Partha S Dutta Nov 20, 2016 - 07:08 #

      Hi John,

      Elliott’s Fine Nutrition Store lists Warning for Bluebonnet Whey Protein Isolate that this product contains natural or other ingredients, one or more of which is listed by the state of California as a carcinogen and/ or reproductive toxicant.

      Would you kindly research and provide your expert comment?

      1. profile avatar
        Kristin Nov 21, 2016 - 18:32 #

        Hi Partha – I did some investigating into Bluebonnet, as well as natural flavors. While I didn’t come across any information specifically regarding Bluebonnet, since you’re concerned about the safety of consuming natural flavors, I would recommend using a whey protein that is unflavored without a lot of added ingredients.

        A few brands that I recommend checking out are: Tera’s Whey, Naked Whey, and Source Whey Protein. All of these brands are grass-fed, non-GMO, hormone-free, processed without acid or bleach, and cold processed. They are also free of sweeteners, chemicals, preservatives, colors, or flavors.

        Give one of those a try, and let us know what you think!
        -Kristin, BuiltLean Coach & Managing Editor

    37. profile avatar
      Partha S Dutta Nov 23, 2016 - 03:21 #

      Hi Kristin,

      Thanks for your prompt reply.

      This is the first time I am using a protein supplement and chose the Bluebonnet brand based on recommendation of the local nutrition store. I came across the Warning while browsing the web later which made me concerned about its safe usage.

      My basic queries are-
      a) should I continue using this brand of whey protein isolate or switch over to another brand recommended by you, without natural flavors/ added ingredients?
      b) how would I know from the composition label if a product contains natural flavors/ added ingredients which are potential health risks? There is no such warning in the label of the product that I bought.

      Would appreciate your specific and considered response to above queries as this brand is listed the top pick in your website.

    38. profile avatar
      Mhmd Thoushif Dec 02, 2016 - 15:02 #

      Really good & useful article…… Your cleared my awhey protein doubts…. So Really very tnx…..

      1. profile avatar
        Kristin Dec 02, 2016 - 15:48 #

        You’re very welcome! Glad you found it helpful.
        -Kristin, BuiltLean Coach & Managing Editor

    39. profile avatar
      GurPiyar Dec 05, 2016 - 05:48 #

      This article is very helpful! I actually want to gain muscles and I bought ON Gold Standard Whey Protein.
      Please tell me if it will help me muscle gain or not?

      1. profile avatar
        Kristin Dec 05, 2016 - 16:56 #

        Glad you found the article helpful! If your goal is to gain muscle, you’ll want to follow a muscle-building workout program while eating enough protein and slightly more calories than you burn. The combination of strategic exercise with proper nutrition is what leads to muscle growth and development. Whey protein alone won’t cause you to build muscle, but it can help you meet your calorie and protein goals. Hope that helps!
        -Kristin, BuiltLean Coach & Managing Editor

    40. profile avatar
      Saurabh kaushik Dec 06, 2016 - 15:34 #

      Hi guys,
      First of all thanks for this awesome article. I am 27 years old & recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I know its very unusual to have type 2 in such an early age. I have reduced my weight from 88 to 76 kg using weight training and running after diagnosis, my height is about 5.11 feet. I have talked to many doctors (experts in diabetes not in sports nutrition) here but they are not sure about effect of consumption of whey protein on me. U guys seems to have expertise in this domain, so please tell me is it safe for me to take whey protein suppliment.for your reference my hba1c is about 5.8 mg/dl right now and average blood glucose is 120. Is there any possibility of negative or bad impact of whey protein intake for a person like me..? I am a vegetarian, i tried every combination but it is not possible for me to have sufficient protein intake from natural food due to weak diagestion syatem, infact my doctor says more calorie intake can increase my insulin resistance, kindly advise

      1. profile avatar
        Kristin Dec 07, 2016 - 18:08 #

        Hey Saurabh – It’s great that you’re taking your health into your own hands and investigating what does and does not work for your body. That said, because we’re not medical professionals, we’re not allowed to make recommendations on whether a supplement will work for you.

        That being said, there is an article on science daily that discusses the impact of whey protein in people with type 2 diabetes. It says that having a whey protein shake for breakfast can help type 2 diabetics lose weight and improve glucose regulation.

        Another article discusses how to incorporate whey into your diet to optimize the benefits of whey in your diet and help balance your blood sugar.

        I would still recommend checking in with your primary care doctor before taking any new supplement. Hope that helps!

        -Kristin, BuiltLean Coach & Managing Editor

    41. profile avatar
      GurPiyar Dec 07, 2016 - 07:43 #

      Ma’am what other nutrients along with protein whey is required for muscle building.Eg Carbs, Vitamins etc
      Which is most essential with Protein

      My age is 18 and my weight is 50,is gold standard whey is right for me……
      Some guys say that excessive protein may cause kidney failure like problems, Is it true?

    42. profile avatar
      Keva Overpeck Dec 10, 2016 - 07:20 #

      Cool article.

      1. profile avatar
        Kristin Rooke, CPT Dec 10, 2016 - 11:46 #

        Glad you enjoyed it!
        -Kristin, BuiltLean Coach & Managing Editor

    43. profile avatar
      Martin Kaufmann Dec 15, 2016 - 14:13 #

      Well many people drink it, and as every supplement, it has it’s ups and down’s, but is is still very helpful. Here is another article on whey proteins that is worth reading if you have a few minutes to spare http://www.supplementscience.net/whey-concentrate-isolate-hydrolysate/ I found it very educational.

      1. profile avatar
        Kristin Dec 15, 2016 - 15:38 #

        It’s true – every supplement has pros and cons. Thanks for sharing that article! I’ll be sure to check it out.
        -Kristin, BuiltLean Coach & Managing Editor

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