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Whey protein is basically a by-product of milk. It is a mixture of proteins (globular proteins) that are isolated from whey. In simple terms, whey is the watery substance of milk that separates from the curds during the process of coagulation when producing cheese.
Whey is processed by simply drying it or removing the lipids and other non-protein substances, thus increasing the protein content and making it fit for human consumption.
This protein is then marketed and ingested as a dietary supplement with various health benefits acclaimed to it. However, bodybuilders widely use it to help boost the protein levels in their body systems to boost their muscle development.
Is Whey Protein good for you?
Whey protein has various uses in the market. Most of them stem from the fact that it is a natural supplement (obtained from ordinary milk with fewer additives). Others base their claim due to it containing high levels of protein. Listed below are the most common and basic uses of this protein supplement. They are;
1. Boosting athletic performance
It is common to understand that in all athletes, their body metabolisms require some replenishment of proteins depending on the intensity of their workouts and training. Thus they take these supplements to aid in the repair of tissues ruptured whilst training.
2. Build muscles
Many bodybuilders use this supplement coupled with others to aid in the rapid growth of muscles.
3. Milk substitute
It has been well noted that whey protein can be used as an alternative to milk for people suffering from lactose intolerance and also can be used instead to supplement milk-based infant formulas.
4. Reverse Weight Loss
This supplement is also used in the medical platform to reverse weight loss and increaseglutathione (GSH)
levels in people who have HIV disease.
5. Other Medical Uses
In some cases, it is also prescribed to people suffering from asthma, high cholesterol, and late-stage cancer to prevent allergies in infants, obesity, protein allergy, and colon cancer, among others.
Whey has been noted as an excellent source ofbranched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)
, which assists in the stimulation of protein synthesis. Its positive effects are reducing the risks of getting diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and coronary diseases. It is utilized as a source of amino acids also adds to its benefits.
What are the different types of Whey Protein?
There are four main types of Protein as supplements: Concentrated, Isolated, and Hydrolyzed.
Whey Protein Concentrate is the most common form you’ll come across in stores. It typically contains 70-80% protein by weight, with the remaining 20-30% consisting of fats and carbohydrates in varying amounts depending on the brand. This type of whey protein is not as heavily processed, making it a more affordable option for those on a budget while still delivering significant nutritional value.
It contains a higher percentage of lactose and fat compared to its counterparts, making it slightly more calorie-dense. However, don’t let that deter you. The extra calories are still lower than what you’d find in many other processed foods and can easily fit into your daily caloric intake without much difficulty.
The taste and texture of whey protein concentrate tend to be creamier than other types due to the higher fat content. This makes it an ideal option for those who prefer a smoother consistency in their protein shakes or smoothies. Additionally, some studies suggest that this form retains more immune-boosting benefits because less processing means less loss of valuable nutrients.
Whey Protein Isolate is another popular form of whey protein that boasts a higher purity level. This type of whey protein undergoes an extra filtration process to remove most of the fat, lactose, and carbohydrates, resulting in a product with approximately 90% protein content.
Not only does this make Whey Protein Isolate a more concentrated source of protein, but it also makes it more suitable for those who may have lactose intolerance or sensitivity. The minimal lactose content means less risk of gastrointestinal discomfort and allows you to enjoy the benefits without worrying about digestive issues.
Though slightly more expensive than its counterpart – Whey Protein Concentrate – many women prefer Whey Protein Isolate due to its lower fat and carbohydrate content while providing high-quality proteins essential for muscle growth and recovery. Ultimately, choosing between these two types comes down to personal preference as well as any dietary restrictions or sensitivities one may have.
Whey protein hydrolysate is like the high-tech version of whey protein supplements. It undergoes a process called hydrolysis, which breaks down larger proteins into smaller ones through exposure to heat, acids, or enzymes. This results in a product that is even easier and faster for your body to absorb than its concentrate or isolate counterparts.
While it may sound fancy and advanced, whey protein hydrolysate also comes with a higher price tag due to the additional processing involved. However, if you’re looking for the most rapid absorption possible, this could be an ideal choice for post-workout recovery.
An added benefit of a whey protein hydrolysate is that it’s often less allergenic than other forms of whey protein. This could make it an excellent option if you have sensitivities or allergies related to dairy but still want to experience the benefits of consuming whey protein.
How to use Whey Protein
As with all supplements, there are directions for proper use whereby if used properly, you will attain your goals to the fullest. Whey protein doesn’t fall short of getting the best results.
This supplement is normally found in powder form, so it is taken orally through liquids or meals. Many people neglect to read the instructions in the package and thus tend to emulate what others did not know that there is a measure as to how much is required in the body.
If you copied someone else’s dose, there may be various outcomes and most of which would not be favorable to you. The right dosage is usually 1.2 – 1.5 grams per kg if you aim to build your muscle mass.
This would translate to; an average man of 72kg would take an average of 86.4 – 108 grams of protein supplements a day before and after workouts. However, most bodybuilders take a higher amount though it raises the risks of overdosing.
If you are taking the protein supplements for medical or health reasons, please ensure to contact your physician for directions of use or read the instructions carefully that accompany the package to reduce the chances of getting the side effects.
Whey Protein side effects
Though Whey protein is a natural supplement with no additives, it may cause some side effects to the body if taken in large quantities. Here is a brief list of some of the side effects that might arise from the excessive consumption of this supplement:
1. Lactose intolerance
Due to it being a by-product of milk, excessive use of this would cause lactose intolerance, and thus, you would be advised to take whey protein isolate because it contains less than 1% lactose.
2. Kidney complications
It is said that protein, if taken in large amounts, can be harmful to kidneys. This may come because of the high protein, low carbs diet and would manifest in the form of kidney stones or failure.
According to Harvard Medical School, a high intake of animal protein can increase uric acid levels and reduce the levels of citrate in urine. Citrate helps in preventing kidney stones from forming in the kidney.
On the other hand, the higher the uric acid levels, the more chances you’ll have for developing kidney stones. But this would be only in the worst-case scenario where protein consumption surpassed other nutrients in the daily diet.
In 2000, in one of the first studies conducted on the effects of high protein intake, it was suggested that excess protein was harmful to the kidneys. This study examined bodybuilders and other well-trained athletes with high and medium protein consumption.
While those who followed a high-protein diet had higher plasma concentrations of uric acid and calcium, bodybuilders had a normal renal removal of creatinine and urea waste products. The research concluded that protein consumption below 2.8 g / kg did not affect well-trained athletes’ kidney function.
The University of Connecticut conducted a study demonstrating that there is no relationship between a diet with high amounts of whey protein and kidney damage. The study showed that people taking high amounts of whey protein for both weight loss and gaining muscle mass have nothing to worry about.
There is currently no evidence that a diet high in whey protein causes kidney damage. A myriad of Studies supports that high-protein intake does not have adverse effects on kidney function except in cases of acute renal failure or people suffering from chronic kidney disease.
3. Digestive Problems
Other side effects due to elevated protein levels in the body comprise bloating, nausea, increased bowel movements, and cramps, among others. Most of the side effects are not the result of the reaction to the protein itself but the low level of purity of the lactose used to manufacture it and other low-quality ingredients to give the shakes a better taste and texture. Please ensure to read the instructions carefully or consult a physician so as to avoid complications.
Consuming whey protein is an excellent way to increase your protein levels. Not only will it help you increase muscle mass more quickly, but it will also improve many aspects of your overall health.
In conclusion, whey protein has garnered significant attention in recent years due to its numerous benefits. From improving muscle growth and strength to supporting weight loss and immune function, it is not surprising that this supplement has become a staple for many fitness enthusiasts.
However, it’s essential to keep in mind that while whey protein offers several advantages, potential side effects should also be considered. Some individuals may experience digestive issues or allergies related to the consumption of whey protein. Furthermore, over-reliance on supplements might lead to an imbalance in nutrient intake.
Considering these factors, it is crucial to consult a medical professional before incorporating whey protein into your diet. By understanding your individual needs and ensuring you use the supplement responsibly, you can reap the benefits of whey protein while minimizing any potential risks.
No matter what stage you are at in your fitness journey or dietary preferences, taking the time to understand how different supplements could impact you will ultimately help improve overall health and performance. With diligence and dedication – along with balanced nutrition – anyone can enjoy the transformative power of proper supplementation like whey protein for a healthy lifestyle.