Wheying the Options

Despite somewhat more Paleo-friendly options on the market, whey protein powders remain the athlete’s top choice.

Look, there’s really nothing you can do to make whey protein Paleo. But given that protein powder in general isn’t particularly Paleo, you might as well stick with the kind that most athletes use, and make sure you get the best whey for you.

There are basically three different types of whey protein powder, depending on how the whey is processed. Concentrate is the least pure and contains around 80 percent protein (carbs and fat make up the rest), then comes isolate, in which whey protein is, well, isolated from other non-protein components in an additional processing step, yielding a more pure protein product, about 92 percent protein. The third type is hydrolysate, which refers to protein that’s been hydrolyzed, which is the process of exposing the protein to heat, acid or enzymes that basically chew apart (predigest) the protein’s amino-acid chains. The resulting free amino acids allow for even more rapid absorption than concentrate and isolate. When choosing a whey supplement, consider your current fitness and goals as well as additional factors such as quality, composition, absorption rate, and price. Isolates are the purest, hydrolyzed proteins absorb the quickest, and concentrates are the least processed (offering more of a natural formulation), and from a cost perspective, isolates and hydrolysates tend to be more expensive than concentrates. Try one of these for starters.

See Also Picking The Perfect Protein

Stronger.Faster.Healthier (SFH) Pure Whey Concentrate

SFH’s Pure Whey formula contains 82 to 84 percent pure, non-denatured whey protein from free-range, grass-fed cows. It’s free of additives and preservatives, containing only Stevia for sweetening, and is available in four flavors: natural, chocolate, peach mango and vanilla. The protein content per serving ranges from 23 to 25 grams and is accompanied by 1-2 grams of fat and 2-3 grams of carbohydrate. The benefits of protein powders from grass-fed cows are most pronounced in whey concentrates, which offer more fat than isolates and hydrolysates. SFH Pure Whey is reportedly

Atomic Strength Nutrition FuelX30 Whey Isolate

Fuel X30 contains 28 grams of protein per serving, which is the highest fat- and carbohydrate-free concentration the company can achieve with its cross-flow filtering technology. The purity of Fuel X30 is achieved by triple filtering through ceramic membrane filters to eliminate fat, carbs, sugar and lactose — resulting in a lactose-, sugar-, carb-free whey isolate. If you’ve experienced stomach discomfort or bloating with whey concentrates, perhaps it’s worth seeing if you respond better to a lactose-free whey isolate. Fuel X30 is available in four sucralose-sweetened flavors: chocolate, cinnamon swirl, vanilla nut and homemade ice cream.

3Fu3l Whey Hydrolysate

3Fu3l is a grass-fed whey hydrolysate that offers 20 grams of rapid-absorbing protein per serving. It is non-GMO, free of gluten, artificial flavors and sweeteners, and contains only 1 gram of sugar per serving. 3Fu3l is unique among protein supplements in both its formulation — providing not only protein, but also 20 grams of hydroxypropyl distarch-phosphate waxy maize (ThermiCarb or 3CARB) and 5 grams of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) per serving — and intended use, for preworkout (and in some cases intraworkout) consumption. 3Fu3l creators wanted to balance protein, carbs and fat to facilitate the body’s natural shift from one fuel source to another throughout varying activity. So the idea is that the MCTs will provide immediate energy, 3CARB offers sustained energy through fat-burning, and hydrolyzed whey provides readily-available amino acids to fuel recovery. 3Fu3l Whey is available in chocolate, vanilla and coffee (caffeinated) flavors.


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About the Author

Elke S. Nelson, Ph.D, CFL-1

Elke S. Nelson, Ph.D, CFL-1

Elke Nelson has a B.S. in Biotechnology and a Ph.D. in Molecular & Cellular Biology. She currently works fulltime as an assistant manager of a clinical writing group, producing and reviewing reports that discuss medical technologies (e.g., drugs, devices, procedures) under investigation in late-stage clinical trials. Elke is a Level 1 certified coach at CrossFit Conshohocken. Elke specializes in Paleo nutrition, particularly why and how to implement the diet into everyday living; meal design; and CrossFit training.