WPI Supplement 101
In this blog series, we look at popular supplement products and ingredients and ask what they are, what they do and why you should take them. Today we look at whey protein isolate (WPI).
Whey protein isolate is a form of whey protein, typically available as a powder (for mixing with water), a “RTD” (ready to drink) shake, or as one ingredient in a protein product with a blend of proteins.
WPI is considered an advanced type of whey, due to the way it’s processed. It is made using very low temperature cross-flow and micro-filtration methods to carefully protect the quality and quantity of active whey in the final product. Most of the fat and carbohydrates are removed, so you are left with a very high protein (around 85% protein content) but very low-fat and almost zero-carb protein powder.
For these reasons, it’s considered ideal (if not vital!) for that important post-workout window, when you need to take on a high-quality protein drink which will be digested very quickly and very easily, delivering nutrients and amino acids to your muscles without delay. Of course, if you want carbohydrates with this PWO protein, you can add them in from a carb supplement or even a whole food option like fruit, oats or rice cakes.
WPI also tends to taste more refreshing than other forms of whey, due to its thinner consistency and lower lactose content. A cold whey protein isolate drink just after training is a real treat, especially if you’re dieting and cutting!
Here’s the 101 on Whey Protein Isolate:
What is WPI?
An advanced form of whey, with most of the fat, carbs and lactose removed during a delicate low-heat processing system. Very high in protein and the accompanying aminos.
Health benefits of WPI:
Very high in protein for fast digestion and uptake. Minimal lactose, so unlikely to cause any digestion or allergen issues.
How it differs to a whey protein concentrate:
Higher protein levels, lower carbohydrates, lower fats, less lactose. Digested and absorbed more quickly.
How to use WPI:
Best taken after training as a post-workout protein as it is so quickly absorbed and so high in available protein. Not recommended for nighttime, as it’s unlikely to keep you feeling full for 6-8 hours.
Why use WPI:
If you choose to add one type of whey to your existing stack, and you train hard and want to build muscle mass or retain muscle whilst dieting, add a quality WPI. It is the post-workout choice of serious bodybuilders and physique athletes.
Tips for smarter use:
1) Take your WPI after training
2) Try blending it in a bullet blender before transferring to your shaker (it will mix better)
3) Refrigerate before drinking (or before putting it in your kit bag) – cold WPI is so refreshing!
4) Add carbs from a carbohydrate supplement (dextrose, maltodextrin) or whole food (fruit, oats, rice cakes) to suit your personal macro requirements.
5) Don’t add fats – the main benefit of WPI is in how quickly it’s absorbed, and fats will slow this process down.