What is whey protein concentrate?
All whey protein is a by-product of cheese manufacturing.
If you're interested in learning more about how whey protein is produced, please refer to the FAQ.
Whey protein concentrate (WPC) is the most popular protein supplement on the market, primarily for two reasons. Its highly bio-available "complete" amino acid profile is ideal to aid muscle recovery, and comparatively it is the most affordable form of protein that you can buy.
If you're savvy on how you shop, an average single serving of WPC protein (20-30 grams) should cost in the range of £0.20 - £0.40. You'll be hard pressed to find other food cheaper with such a rich amino profile.
Owing to these two factors, WPC features in all non-vegan protein shakes, whey blends, mixed blends, all-in-ones and weight gainers. Across the board, it's the most abundant ingredient in all muscle building and recovery formulas. Browsing any sports supplement site you'll notice all best-selling products contain WPC.
WPC as a standalone product is available flavoured and unflavoured. Flavoured variations typically cost marginally more due to the increased cost in production. They also have artificial flavours and sweeteners added to them. Adding the flavours also makes a dent on the nutritional profile, so you can expect to see a fractional decrease in the percentage of protein. The majority of unflavoured WPC products are 75-85% protein, although lower concentrations are for sale on several sites. These products offer an average of 50-60% protein and they’re ideal for those on a budget. For a flavoured product, you can expect to find a 4-7% reduction in protein content.
Unflavoured WPC tastes moderately creamy and has a texture like watered down milk. It's palatable, if a little bland. It won't make you gag like some supplements do in their natural state, but if taste is a factor, flavoured whey has improved a lot over the past decade. These days there are more exotic flavours like blueberry cheesecake and lemon shortcake, as well as the classic chocolate, strawberry and vanilla.
Essentially it comes down to a balance between taste, purity and cost. If you're on a tight budget and you don't mind a bland tasting shake, then a plain WPC is a great choice. Most of the bulk providers sell sample sachets, so try before you commit to a higher spend. If they don't have samples displayed on their site, email them to enquire. If you're picky with taste, sampling is a great way to find what works best for you and always read the reviews.
Would a WPC supplement suit me?
In short, WPC supplements can benefit anyone who isn't allergic to milk or lactose intolerant. The properties of whey protein across the board are beneficial to everyone, not just fitness enthusiasts. This is why WPC is a main ingredient in meal replacement powders and convalescent shakes in addition to sports supplements.
Whether you're a sports fanatic or someone who likes to maintain general health, supplementing WPC has proven time again through numerous studies to be a contributing factor in maintaining people's wellbeing. It has been linked to reducing heart disease, cancer and diabetes, while remaining the cornerstone of bodybuilding products.
All WPC has minimal carbohydrate and fat content. The carbohydrates make up the lactose present in milk. Most whey concentrates contain roughly 5% lactose. If you suffer from lactose intolerance, you could look at some of the whey protein isolates as an alternative. They contain minimal carbohydrates, and some isolates don't contain any lactose at all. Just be sure to read the product descriptions.
The bottom line
If you're a fitness enthusiast engaged in sport several times a week and you're not allergic to milk or lactose intolerant, then you should consider supplementing your protein intake, and a WPC is a great, affordable option. Out of all the different types of supplements to aid muscle recovery, WPC is by far the most economical in terms of the benefits offered.
If you're new to supplementation, take a look at some of the whey proteins offered by the bulk providers and keep updated with current deals and discount codes.
If you're still not sure, you can find a supplement that will suit your goals with our protein finder.