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If you ever searched for a protein product in the web, you would get flooded with advertisements for protein powders, protein bar or any product with the name ‘protein’ in it. The problem today is not the existence or non-existence of good products. The identification of the same.

One possible way customers can safeguard themselves is to acquire knowledge and make the choices suitable to them.

Do you need protein on a daily basis? If so, what be your source of protein? And what type of proteins are suitable? When should we consume the same?

Building a good healthy lifestyle, takes effort. We can choose not to take that effort and pay a heavy price later in life. Protein is made up of amino acids. Human body requires 21 amino acids. Any protein that is made up of 21 amino acids is called a complete protein.

We need protein for growth as well as to maintain muscle mass. In short, we need protein for survival. This is a very important stuff. But are we getting enough?

First, an average adult requires about 56 grams of protein in any given day. This is as per the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) guidelines. Are we getting that on a daily basis? A typical average Indian may get up to 30g per day (there are exceptions) even if the food habit is healthy. Even for a non-vegetarian, the numbers are not going to shoot up dramatically.

Therefore, supplementing protein is definitely a good idea. While fat (good or bad) and carbohydrates are available in plenty, getting daily requirement of protein through regular diet is a challenge.

What is Whey Protein?
Whey is a product of milk. Let us take a simple example of milk getting converted to curd. If you leave it overnight, solid part and water gets separated. The almost clear water on top is called Whey water. Whey water is “Protein”. The solids in the bottom contain different type of protein called casein protein.

Casein protein is what you get from eating Cheese /Paneer.

Whey water is dried to the powder form. The powdered whey water is called whey protein concentrate. Whey protein is a complete protein with all the amino acids.

What is Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC)?
Whey Protein Concentrate is the product of dried whey water. It is typically 80% protein and rest of the 20% are mostly ‘impurities’ such as lactose, fat and carbohydrate.

What is Whey Isolate (WPI)?
Let us take Whey Protein Concentrate and purify it by removing the impurities such as lactose, fat and carb as much as possible. The output is Whey Protein Isolate. This gives anywhere from 90 to 95% protein. Lot of us are lactose intolerant. Whey Isolate is best fit for those with such issues. Whey Isolate is expensive. It is the purest form of Whey Protein available.

What is Whey Hydrolysate (WPH)?
WPC as well as WPI are both needs to be digested after consuming. WPH is a special form of protein which is already in the digested form (it smells kind of bad – its natural odor). The absorption is much faster. It is not uncommon for doctors to prescribe this to patients who are compromised in their digestive capabilities for various reasons.

What is Bio - Availability?
Bio availability means the ability of our body to absorb the nutrients. Nutrient in this case is protein. For example, 100g of Almond would have about ~20g of protein. Fact that you have consumed 100g of almond does not necessarily mean your body got 20g of protein. Not all the protein is available for the body to absorb.

At best, 12 to 15g of protein will be absorbed and the rest will be wasted. This is called bio availability

Whey Protein has highest bio availability possible. It means, if you consume 20g of Whey Protein, your body will be able to absorb all the 20g of protein. This makes Whey a very efficient protein for everyone including athletes. It helps them to recover after hard work out.

Who can consume protein supplements?
Most of us require protein in the form of supplements. It is very hard to achieve daily protein requirement through our regular diet. Supplementing protein through protein bar or protein powder is a good idea. While at it, drink a lot of fluids.

For sports people, it is ideal to consume post workout. The absorption level is at optimum level for your muscles after the swim, or run or gym activity. Protein helps to heal the muscle tears and, in that process, helps build strong muscles.

Next job is to identify good products from bad ones.

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