You might have come across the terms WPC and WPI on a protein product before and confused about what they mean. Whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate might be marketed as a supplement to help you with your gains. However, they have stark differences.
Firstly, what is whey protein? It is a byproduct of cheese and milk production. When manufacturers separate the whey from milk, you get all those gain shakes. Once the fresh milk is pasteurized, manufacturers will then add enzymes into the material, which allows the liquid to separate into two layers.
The bottom part is where you get the milk and cheese. The upper, liquidy substance would otherwise be discarded. However, the byproduct is sent to a manufacturing plant to isolate the protein and process it into a powdered form.
The global whey protein market is predicted to hit $13.5 billion by the end of 2020, up from $9.2 billion in 2015. The industry has a compound annual growth rate of 6.5% for the forecast period.
Differences between WPC and WPI
Generally, both the WPC and WPI contain branched-chain amino acids or BCAAs. The supplements are the best source of protein, which is the essential building block for muscle gain and recovery. Each of the products, for example, contains 20 amino acids.
But the two variants are also quite different:
1- WPC is micro-filtered to form concentrated whey protein. Meanwhile, WPI will undergo another process to isolate the protein further.
2- The WPC contains from 75 to 80% of protein per weight. In contrast, you will get 90% or higher protein per weight from WPI.
3- WPC has higher levels of amino acids compared to WPI. The reduced filtration means that WPC contains more essential nutrients compared to WPI. However, the latter features more protein content by weight.
4- Your system will also slowly absorb WPC compared to WPI. So, it is better to take in WPC protein in small amounts throughout the day to meet your desired intake. In comparison, WPI protein is best taken after a workout because it can be digested quicker.
5- WPI is the better choice if you are trying to shed some fat or gain extra pounds. The protein product is specially designed for weight management.
6- WPC is also more affordable compared to WPI since the latter undergoes another microfiltration process.
Both WPC and WPI are extracted from the same dairy source. However, the processing method is different, which produces varying results.
Bodybuilders and athletes use whey protein for muscle gain and quicker recovery. But make sure you order only from legitimate sources so that you do not get unadulterated ingredients. Despite the misconception, the protein shake does not contain anabolics. It is a supplement that should help your journey toward a leaner or bigger body. However, you still have to do the grind.
If you want a supplement that you can take after your workout, you go with WPI. The product is also recommended for weight management or those who are lactose intolerant. Meanwhile, you take WPC whey protein to fill your stomach if you feel hungry. It is also the more economical option since your stomach feels full for more extended periods.