What's The Deal With Hydrolyzed Whey

What’s The Deal With Hydrolyzed Whey

Whey protein can be a confusing discussion. A lot of factors go into finding a quality whey protein that’s going digest well, taste good, and of course, fit your budget. Whey protein used today typically ranges from 34% purity to 90% purity. The 90% is considered Whey Protein Isolate and the 34%-80% is considered Whey Protein Concentrate. When you see whey protein concentrate on a label, unless it’s disclosed you don’t exactly know what percentage or purity it’s going to be. Since the days of counting macros have taken over the industry, Whey Protein Isolate has become increasingly more popular. It provides the most amount of protein with just a little bit of fat and carbohydrates. Being slim on the energy calories allows more flexibility for the foods you’re eating throughout the day. Whey Protein Isolate also tends to be the best “post workout” protein for after training. Again, due to its lack of carbohydrates and fats the amino acids from the protein is absorbed quicker into the bloodstream to initiate the recovery process.

Unfortunately it’s difficult to rate a quality of a protein based on whether it’s an 80% pure concentrate or a 90% pure isolate. Based on that alone, we may want to migrate towards the isolate but there is a lot more that goes into protein manufacturing. The source of the protein, the temperature it’s cooked at, what’s being added to the protein (sweetener, texture ingredients, etc), whether or not it’s hydrolyzed, etc. One way to help sort a lot of those questions out is to determine what the true use of the powder is. Is it simply to keep protein amounts higher on a daily basis? Are you taking it post workout to fuel recovery and potential muscle growth? Are you baking with it to make macro-conscious foods?

A lot of people still consume protein post workout (as do we) and for that reason Whey Protein Isolate tends to be the leader. Many Whey Protein Isolates claim that their protein is hydrolyzed and unfortunately this leads to another debate. How much of that protein is hydrolyzed and to what degree. No company really discloses that or if hydrolyzed protein is any better than regular whey protein. It has been shown that hydrolyzed protein can decrease recovery times (1) so it’s probably time to dive into why that can happen. Hydrolyzed protein can come in concentrate, casein, and isolate but for our conversation here today we’ll try to keep it as similar as possible and compare whey protein isolate and hydrolyzed whey protein isolate. Hydrolysis partially breaks down the protein to increase the rate of digestion and absorption. It’s also been noted that hydrolyzed protein can decrease negative side effects of digestion. Due to the rapid absorption of the amino acids, it’s believed that hydrolyzed whey protein can have a thermogenic effect and positively contribute towards fat loss.

Hydrolyzed protein may not be for everyone and it may not always be necessary to consume in comparison to another form of quality whey protein, but if you’re an athlete looking for the best recovery, a bodybuilder looking to utilize rapid absorption post workout, or simply want to switch to see if it has any impact of fat loss it may be worth it. We’ve even seen people create intra-workout concoctions during a bulk phase that includes hydrolyzed whey protein for immediate absorption. If you do decide to give a hydrolyzed whey protein a try, make sure you know how much hydrolyzed whey protein is in it and if you can find out to what degree it was hydrolyzed, even better!


Supplementation with a whey protein hydrolysate enhances recovery of muscle force-generating capacity following eccentric exercise

Buckley, Jonathan D. et al.
Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport , Volume 13 , Issue 1 , 178 - 181