With so many variations of proteins on the market these days it is important to know all the information on the different types so that you can make the right informed decision to move forward with your fitness goals.
Getting the correct amount of protein for your diet is crucial especially for people that are looking to build lean muscle mass, but also in anyone that could be trying to lose fat as well.
Whey protein is a high-quality protein that is one of two proteins that comes from milk. Whey protein is considered a high-quality protein as it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids.
While there are many benefits of whey protein powder, many people still associate protein with building muscle and getting bigger and it is important to know that protein is crucial to your overall health and not only meant for bodybuilders. Although it is commonly associated with promoting lean muscle mass it is not the only benefit of using it.
Let’s take a look at the many benefits of taking whey protein powder:
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How is Whey Protein Made?
As I mentioned above, whey protein is one of two proteins that comes directly from cow’s milk. The milk is taken to a cheese processing facility and the milk goes through the pasteurization process.
The pasteurization process removes all the harmful bacteria that could be potentially life-threatening to humans. During the pasteurization process, the milk is heated until its boiling point and then instantly cooled at 4 degrees C.
After the pasteurization process, the milk that is left is 20% whey and 80% casein.
After the pasteurization process, the milk is subjected to enzymes that separate the whey from the casein. Casein is used to process many variants of cheeses. What is left is a liquid whey that still has fats, carbohydrates, water and minerals in it.
After that, the liquid whey goes through a filtering process that filters out the fats, carbohydrates, and minerals and what is left is a whey protein concentrate.
The last step is this liquid whey protein concentrate goes through a drying process in which removes the rest of the water and what is left is a powder that is roughly around 90% whey powder.
Why Should You Take Whey Protein?
Whey protein powder is only one source of protein that you could add to your diet. You can get protein from many sources and mainly from your food.
But taking protein powder is a quick way to supplement your diet with a boost of protein so you can make sure that you are getting the correct amount of protein per day.
The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) suggest that you take 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, which translates into 0.36 grams of protein per pound.
Now, this is the minimum amount of protein your body needs to keep up with your daily needs, but if you do any type of exercise routine then you should be taking more than the DRI is recommending.
Types of Whey Protein
- Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) – After the pasteurized milk is subjected to those enzymes to separate the whey from the casein, the liquid that is left over is whey protein concentrate. Whey protein concentrate has a protein content of around 80%
- Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) – Whey protein isolate is the results after the liquid protein concentrate is processed further to separate the liquids from the solids and the resulting powder has a protein content of around 90% protein content. Isolate is made with longer processing times or additional processing techniques.
- Whey Protein Hydrolysate (WPH) – Whey protein hydrolysate is the most processed of the three types of protein. Whey protein hydrolysate basically puts the whey protein in a predigested form making it easier for your body to utilize this protein. The Hydrolysis process breaks down the protein into a predigested form, making it the best type of protein powder for your workouts.
If you are purchasing protein powder be sure to check your ingredient label, many proteins manufacture mix two or more of these types of whey protein to make their products. Therefore, you can actually get the benefit of multiple types of whey protein all in one type of powder.
Benefits of Whey Protein
Everyone knows that taking whey protein increases helps promote protein synthesis and helps you build your muscle mass, but there are many other benefits of taking whey protein. Let us dive in and take a look at some of the benefits:
- Increased Muscle Mass – There is a lot of evidence out there that shows whey protein increases muscle mass. The studies show that whey protein is great at stimulating muscle protein synthesis. Whey protein is also a complete protein, therefore it has all 9 of the essential amino acids that your body needs. Whey is also quick to digest and absorb into your bloodstream to head to your muscle tissue to start the protein synthesis process.
- Helps Burn Fat – Some studies have shown that protein could cause you to have an increased metabolic effect that even lasted during sleep. Getting the correct amount of protein would help maintain your lean muscle mass which in turn would help you burn more fat as well.
- Muscle Recovery and Maintenance – Increasing your daily protein intake could help maintain your lean body mass, especially if you are trying to lose fat. Whey protein could help you lose body fat instead of your precious lean muscle mass. Having enough protein is crucial to the protein synthesis process so your body has enough protein so it doesn’t start breaking down its own muscle mass to create the nutrients it needs.
- Controls Blood Sugar Levels – Whey protein is known to be able to stimulate the production of GLP-1, which is what triggers the production of insulin. Studies have shown that if you take whey protein shortly before breakfast it could reduce the post-meal blood sugar levels in some type 2 diabetic patients.
- Lowers Cholesterol – Some studies have shown that protein could be beneficial in reducing the bad cholesterol in your body. One studied showed a significant reduction in total and LDL cholesterol in overweight individuals. More evidence is needed before we can be absolutely sure, but the results so far are promising.
- Whey Protein is Filling – Whey protein out of other protein types is one of the most satiating proteins. Which means it makes you feel like your fuller. Feeling full would help you not have those random cravings that could add unnecessary calories to your diet.
- Lowers Blood Pressure – There have been studies that show that taking whey protein lowers blood pressure. During the study, the participants took 56g of protein for 8 weeks and showed improvements in vascular reactivity, biomarkers of endothelial function, and lipid factors. Which means adding some whey protein to your diet could improve your systolic and diastolic points.
- Boost Immunity – Whey protein has shown to be able to promote the production of the immune system antioxidant known as glutathione. Glutathione is naturally produced by the liver but you are able to get it from your diet as well. Glutathione supports many functions of your body and helps repairs your body from various amount of things including infection, aging, injury, pollution and much more.
- Could Help Prevent Cancer – Due to the boost in glutathione, which is something that is thought to fight cancer getting your daily dose of whey protein could help with that. The studies show that increasing whey protein could inhibit cancer cells from growing due to the boost in glutathione. These effects are not seen with other proteins.
- Gives You Energy – Not exactly what you think due to the fact that amino acids take longer to convert into energy so you have a slower source of energy than if you were to get your energy from carbs. Amino acids have nitrogen which is removed during digestion, and it is this extra step that causes amino acids to take longer to break down to provide energy.
How Much Whey Protein Should You Take?
The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) Suggest for 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. That translate to 0.36 grams of protein per pound.
While this is the recommended intake by the DRI this is a baseline recommendation and should be the bare minimum protein you should be consuming in one day. Not from only protein shakes but this should be your total overall protein intake from all sources including your diet.
For someone whose goal is to maintain muscle while losing fat to get that “toned” look, increasing strength and overall look then most people you ask would say to get up to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
If you don’t really want to mess with uneven measurements the old standard recommendation that has been around the fitness scene forever is 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.
Side Effects of Whey Protein
While it is rare some people do get some weird side effects to whey protein. People who are allergic to cow’s milk should avoid using whey protein.
Side effects are rare with whey protein however here are some things that you could experience:
- Increased Bowel Movement
- Reduced Appetite
- A headache
Even though the side effects are rare if you experience any of these symptoms stop using whey protein immediately and consult with your physician.
Whey protein powder can have many benefits when added to your daily diet. It is a complete protein source that contains all 9 amino acids that your body can not produce naturally on its own.
Ultimately the amount of protein that is needed by each person will vary from person to person and it depends on a number of factors including but not limited to your age, health, current weight and many other factors.
Whey protein seems to perform better than other types of proteins when it comes to gaining muscle and fat loss.
Personally, I enjoy my protein in the morning as a smoothie for a quick breakfast and another one after my workout. The rest of my protein comes from my diet.
How do you enjoy your protein? Let me know below, as always if you have any comments, questions or concerns leave them in the comments below and I will get back to you.