It’s 2018—you aren’t still wearing parachute pants with a beeper and listening to Milli Vanilli…so why in the hell are you drinking a protein shake that is formulated with 1980s technology? In most industries, with time comes innovation. However, in sports nutrition, the leading brand’s whey protein has gone unchanged for 15 years! Over the past 10 years, there have been several advancements in whey protein manufacturing that can supercharge your results in the gym. Before I get to the good stuff, let me first explain the basics of whey protein.
The different levels of whey protein are similar to gasoline’s octane rating. 85/89/91 Octane (the more refined = higher performance). After cow’s milk is pasteurized whey and casein can be separated by several means:
Only contains about 30%–40% of its contents as protein. The remaining 60%–70% of sweet whey is predominantly lactose sugar and fat. (Basic food/bakery grade whey).
Is available in strengths ranging from 50%–78%. Microfiltration and other purification processes concentrate the whey to provide higher amounts of protein and yield fewer carbs. WPC 80 is what the majority of supplement brands use in their formulas (due to cost) and averages between 74%–78% protein.
Contains 90% + protein content through ultra-filtration, which removes the majority of lactose and even further reduces fat and sugar.
Is whey protein isolate that is hydrolyzed (broken down) into smaller peptides (di- and tripeptides) that are rapidly absorbed. Regardless of the level of concentrate or isolate, all of these forms of whey are still composed of extremely large peptide structures. These large peptides must first be broken down into smaller di- and tripeptides in order to be absorbed through the stomach and intestinal wall and pass into the bloodstream to be used as muscle-building fuel. To be effective, whey protein must be broken down into a smaller particle size within approximately 90 minutes of consumption; otherwise, the protein goes undigested and is excreted from the body. An individual who does not make enough natural enzymes to break down dietary protein molecules may experience discomfort, gas, stomach cramps, and/or bloating after consuming protein-rich foods.
All right, now that you understand the basics of whey protein, I am going to give you an overview of the popular slow release protein sources.
Micellar Casein contains approximately 90% undenatured protein and is a rich source of BCAAs and glutamine. Micellar Casein is created when casein protein is separated from whey, fat, and lactose in milk. This is the slowest digesting form of casein making it ideal to use before bed as it slowly releases amino acids over 6–8 hours.
Milk Protein Isolate contains the two portions of protein found in milk, whey, and casein. These are found in a 20% to 80% ratio.
Milk Protein Isolate is considered to be a slow release protein and should be consumed before bed as it slowly releases amino acids over a period of 4–6 hours. Protein Blends are the BEST… ONLY if you are stuck in the ’80s In the late 1980s and early ’90s, MET-Rx and EAS were the leading sports nutrition companies. Both brands’ flagship products were slow release protein blends, which made sense back then because whey protein by itself was not absorbed within 90 minutes, and up to 70% was excreted in urine. A more recent study that suggests a protein blend is better than whey alone was funded by the soy protein isolate manufacturer in the study. A few months after the study was released their company was sold. Since the study was released not one top sports nutrition company formulated a protein powder with this specific protein blend because they know the study was B.S. Some experts have taken this B.S. study and added some broscience by saying that their protein blend is even better because it doesn’t contain soy protein isolate… yet they have no studies to prove this!
When compared to casein protein, whey shows higher levels of serum BCAAs and muscle protein synthesis at the same dose for the 1–6 hours following exercise, (1) and drastically elevated levels of muscle protein synthesis at both rest and post-exercise when measured within an hour (2). Hydrolyzed whey protein has been shown to result in a higher rate of MPS post-exercise relative to other protein sources (2). This is due to superior digestion and absorption kinetics and higher protein quality with a greater proportion of EAA, and in particular leucine. Leucine is a key stimulator of muscle protein synthesis. The right protein source at the right time is critical for performance athletes. During the day you want to eat meals consisting of 20–30 grams of a complete protein source every 3 hours to increase muscle protein synthesis (MPS). MPS is a cycle lasting only up to 3 hours after a meal that contains adequate protein, so it’s important to eat frequently and not go 4–6 hours between meals. Bodybuilders and athletes should be eating every 3 hours…so why would you drink a protein blend/slow release protein that lasts 6–8 hours during the day? Now that you are armed with the basics of the top fast and slow protein sources, let’s discuss the optimal times to consume each. Fast-acting hydrolyzed whey is best to use during the day and post workout when your body needs lighting fast delivery aminos every 3 hours to maximize MPS. Slow release casein and milk protein isolate are best to use before bed since they release aminos over a 6–8-hour period.
Hydrolyzed whey protein is more easily absorbed than intact whey protein because it has already been broken down, or ‘pre-digested’, into amino acids and small peptides. Studies have shown that these amino acids and peptides are more readily absorbed than the intact proteins normally found in food. They are absorbed directly and rapidly into the blood and this may enhance the recovery process (3, 4). Figure 1 below illustrates the more rapid absorption of whey protein hydrolysate into the bloodstream in comparison to a standard whey protein. Plasma branched-chain amino acids concentration is higher and increases faster with whey protein hydrolysate than a standard whey protein. In one study, where athletes were taking whey protein hydrolysates, the results indicated that they could recover their full peak power and eliminate muscle soreness after just six hours, compared to several days in the case of intact protein (6).
Achieve higher performance with optimal concentrations of di- and tripeptides and amino acids transported to the bloodstream.
Helps replenish lost energy faster through insulin-mediated glycogen synthesis to enhance recovery.
Restores muscle function post exercise, due to greater bioavailability of essential and branched-chain amino acids.
Whey protein hydrolysates have been shown to support higher glycogen resynthesis rates than carbohydrates alone. During the 60-minute post-workout recovery window, whey protein hydrolysates boost glycogen synthesis activity through an insulin-mediated response. This increased rate of glycogen synthesis replenishes energy stores in the muscle. These energy stores are critical to fuel subsequent high-intensity exercise sessions.
Anyone that has followed me for years knows that my physique has evolved year after year. Many so-called experts and CEOs of supplement companies look the same now as they did 10, 15, even 20 years ago… How do you train intensely, eat clean, and take supplements for all those years and not change? Over the past year I have taken my physique to the next level by eliminating foods that were causing inflammation, taking high-quality pharmaceutical-grade supplements that allowed me to recover faster, and using new training principles to accelerate my muscle growth and definition. While other brands recycle outdated science from the ’80s, Kaged Muscle chooses to carve our own path in our pursuit of innovation.
That’s why Kaged Muscle’s RE-KAGED and our Micropure Whey Protein Isolate has set the standard in protein quality and bioavailability. Both are high-quality whey protein isolates that are hydrolyzed into tiny peptide sequences (di- and tripeptides) of amino acids that are rapidly absorbed and delivered to your muscles in a matter of minutes. Other brands’ proteins can take 1–2 hours—just long enough to miss the 60-minute peak post-workout window. If after reading all this research you’re still not convinced that hydrolyzed whey protein is the best for during the day and post-workout…then take a look at my B&A photos from the 12-week Mass Trainer. RE-KAGED was one of the secret weapons that allowed him to pack on 20 lbs of muscle in 12 weeks. “I was able to absorb more protein and recover faster than in the past with RE-KAGED.”
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