Updated 06 February 2016

Which whey is best for you?

The fitness supplement market is flooded with so many different types of whey protein powders it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Here is how to pick one to suit your goals.


From Chocolate Fudge to Strawberries and Cream, whey protein powders come in dozens of different flavours, not to mention other options such as whey isolate and whey blends. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the choices available.

Read: What is whey protein?

At the end of the day however, is there really much of a difference between them? Do some types digest faster or aid muscle recovery more? Will they really help you reach your fitness and nutrition goals faster?

According to Cape Town based Strength and Nutrition coach David Cross, it all depends on your personal goals with regard to your training.

What is whey?

Whey protein is the most popular and common protein powder available and is found at most supermarkets, pharmacies, health shops and sport supplement stores.

Some of the benefits of whey protein include:

  • It’s a complete protein source
  • It is rapidly absorbed and digested
  • It’s very convenient as it’s in flavoured powder form
  • It has been shown to increase one’s anabolic response to resistance training
  • Helps maintain muscle mass
  • Helps afford anti-catabolic properties during prolonged cardio workout

It is a dairy-based product commonly used post-workout to help repair muscle damage caused by exercise, and to increase muscle strength if taken soon after your workout.

Sounds simple enough right? There are a few different types of whey protein powders you need to consider before you buy the cheapest or ‘tastiest’ on the shelf.

Whey isolate: “Whey Isolate is the purest of whey’s, and is great for people who have lactose intolerance issues, it is more expensive though,” says Cross.

Whey concentrate: “This is still a very high quality protein, and is cheaper to buy. Provided you have no digestive issues, this is generally more than enough for most people’s needs.”

When to take whey

Despite much controversy around the right time to take a supplement post-workout, most experts generally agree that the sooner whey protein is ingested after a workout the sooner the body will reap the benefits.

Cross advises that using it after training if you can’t stomach something whole right away is good, and will start the recovery process.

Read more:

Your guide to legal substances

Protein quality really does matter

How to choose the best sport supplements


David Cross; Strength and Nutrition Coach:

Effect of protein/essential amino acids and resistance training on skeletal muscle hypertrophy: A case for whey protein:

Muscle and Strength:


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