Part 3: Why Whey?

protein powder blog (3)In our last post (Part 2) we talked about the different forms of protein powders: Whey, Casein, Soy, Pea and Rice. Today you are going to learn why whey is undoubtedly the most popular and for good reasons. It’s digested quickly, absorbed efficiently, and cost effective.

When you shop for whey protein you will notice some brands are selling for $10 per pound where others are more than $30 per pound. Why would supposedly homogenous products be priced so radically different? We will discuss below how to spot a high (and low) quality whey protein powder so you can enhance your diet with a protein punch!


Whey protein is particularly popular in the fitness world because of its strong amino acid profile. Whey is naturally high in leucine, which is a major player in initiating protein synthesis. Basically, the more leucine a protein has the faster it will be absorbed. Why is this important? As a bariatric patient absorption of nutrients is key. The faster or more efficiently something can be absorbed the better, wouldn’t you agree?

What’s more, this study evaluated 19 men and 21 women with a BMI of 28-50. It revealed that during a calorie restrictive diet muscle protein synthesis is better maintained compared to soy protein and carbohydrates.

But “whey protein” is really a general term. What I mean is that there are different kinds of whey protein. Keep reading to learn all you need to know about whey!

There are three forms of whey protein: Whey Concentrate, Isolate, and Hydrolysate.

Whey concentrate is the least processed form and cheapest to manufacture. It will normally contain some fat and lactose. Whey concentrate can have anywhere from 34%-82% protein by weight, depending on the quality.

Whey isolate has been processed a bit more to remove the fat and lactose. Whey isolates are normally 90%+ protein by weight. Whey isolates are more expensive to manufacture and for consumers to purchase when compared to whey concentrates.

Whey hydrolysate is considered a “predigested” form of whey protein. It is believed that by putting the whey through partial hydrolysis solubility and digestibility is improved. This extra process makes hydrolysate the most expensive form of protein.

As you can imagine, manufacturers are proud of their isolates and hydrolysates and promote them as superior, although there is not enough evidence out there to claim this definitively. As we said before you can get a high quality concentrate that is up to 82% protein by weight, but a lesser and cheaper concentrate could carry as low as 32%. What does this mean? 68% of that lesser concentrate is made up of something other than protein. What’s more unnerving is you will never know exactly what that 68% is.

Now if you look at a quality whey isolate you are getting 90%+ protein out of that scoop! What is also great about whey isolate is that the extra processing removes the fat and lactose. This means better digestibility and is better handled by our stomachs. A safe way to look at protein is: you get what you pay for.


Protein is extremely important in maintaining lean body mass during a time of calorie restrictive dieting, especially after bariatric surgery. Protein supplements are an amazing aid to help meet your daily protein needs. Most bariatric programs will recommend 60-80 grams of protein per day.

So how much protein should you be getting from supplements, and how much from whole food sources? This is an area that has not been determined by research; however, anecdotal evidence suggests getting at least 50% of your protein from whole food sources.

So if you have a daily protein target of 80 grams, get 40 grams from whole food sources and supplement your diet with a protein powder for the remaining 40 grams. The key word is supplement. Protein powder is NOT intended to be your entire source of dietary protein.


For athletes and bariatric patients alike, pure whey protein isolate is the strongest choice. It is absorbed quickly and because all of the lactose is removed through the process, it makes it easy on your stomach especially if you have an intolerance to lactose.

A common practice amongst protein manufacturers is to use chemicals and other additives to their products. This may help with taste, cost or both. Finding a product that is limited in potentially harmful additives can be difficult to come by.

Bari Life has developed a whey protein product that is 100% pure whey protein called Natural Whey. It is the ultimate protein supplement for bariatric patients for several reasons:
• Natural Whey is 100% whey protein isolate, not a “blend” of various forms of whey
• Natural Whey is derived from milk from cows that are free of recombinant bovine growth hormones (rBGH)
• Natural Whey is naturally sweetened using extract from the stevia plant
• Natural Whey is free of any harmful additives like MSG and food dyes
• Natural Whey is un-denatured and uses cross flow, ultra-cold micro filtration process so all proteins remain intact
• 24 grams of protein
• 1 gram of carbohydrate
• 0 grams of fat

Thank you so much for taking the time to read our Blog Series on protein! Be sure to check out Part 1: Scientific Reasons for a High Protein Diet and Part 2: The 411 on Protein Powders if you missed them! Please come back to the blog regularly, so you don’t miss out on important news and information!

To Your Health!
The Bari Life Team
Improving the health and wellness of bariatric patients around the world by providing the most complete bariatric vitamins & supplements that are highly effective and clinically proven.

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