Everything You Need to Know about Whey Protein

Everything You Need to Know about Whey Protein

All proteins are not created equal. Some of them, such as whey, is actually better than the others. Whey proteins consist of an unbelievable range of amino acids essential for health.

Whey protein can help you gain muscle, increase strength, and accelerate fat loss.

Unlike its name, whey is much more than just a protein. It consists of many other nutrients, some with strong biological benefits. In fact, it would not be wrong to call it the best-studied supplements across the world.

This article will discuss whey protein in general. It will highlight different forms, mechanisms, and dosages regarding this supplement.

What is Whey Protein?

Why protein refers to a mixture of proteins coming from whey. Whey is the liquid part of milk that separates during the production of cheese.

There are two main types of protein in milk. 80 percent of the milk has casein whereas whey forms the rest of the 20 percent.

Whey is mainly present in the watery portion of the milk. During cheese production, the fatty part of the milk undergoes coagulation. This is when you can separate why as a byproduct.

If you ever open a yogurt container and see a liquid floating on top, that is whey. Cheesemakers discarded this liquid before realizing its true worth.

Once whey separates from cheese, it undergoes different steps of processing. These steps transform it into its final form that you recognize as whey protein. This whey protein is a powder that you may add to protein bars, meal replacements, or shakes.

On its own, whey protein does not have a pleasant taste. This is why manufacturers prefer adding a flavor to it. Some popular flavors of whey protein include vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry.

Whey Protein may Boost your BCCA and Protein Intake

You already know that proteins are the building blocks of the human body. They are responsible for producing various structures. Some of them may include organs, tendons, and skin. Proteins are also a part of neurotransmitters, enzymes, and other molecules.

Everything You Need to Know about Whey Protein
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Proteins are also the building blocks of all the contractile elements in muscles.

Proteins come from joining of amino acids, small molecules which link together like a string.

Your body produces some of these amino acids on its own. The others come from the food you eat. The ones you have to take from external food sources are the essential amino acids.

Proteins sources that supply you with all nine essential amino acids are the best. Luckily, whey protein is one of them.

It is especially high in branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) such as cysteine. Additionally, it also has a high quantity of leucine.

Studies indicate the leucine is a growth promoting amino acids. Cysteine, on the other hand, increases the amount of cellular antioxidant glutathione.

Whey protein seems to be especially effective in boosting growth in humans. Human breast milk has 60 percent of whey as compared to 20 percent in cow’s milk.

Various Types Whey Protein

Whey protein exists in various different types. The main difference lies in their processing method.

The top three forms include:

  • Concentrate: Approximately 70 to 0 percent It also contains some fat and milk sugar and has the best taste.
  • Isolate: Contains 90 percent of protein or sometimes even higher. It has fewer quantities of fat and lactose. It also lacks some beneficial nutrients which are present in concentrate form.
  • Hydrolysate: This type is able to predigest itself. This makes it easier and faster to absorb. It can cause a 28 to 43 percent more spike in insulin levels than isolate.

Overall speaking, the concentrate form seems to be the most suitable option. It is the cheapest of all and has the largest amount of beneficial nutrients existing in whey. A lot of people also prefer it because of its pleasant taste. This taste comes from the presence of fat and lactose.

If you are unable to tolerate concentrate or focusing on protein while limiting carbs or fats, try isolate. Even hydrolysate can be a more suitable option in such circumstances.

Despite the fact that people usually use concentrate more, most studies use isolate form.

Effects of Whey Supplementation on Strength and Muscle Mass

Probably the best use of whey protein is for increasing muscles strength and mass.

Whey protein is quite popular among fitness models, bodybuilders, and athletes. People wishing to improve their gym performance also rely on it.

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But how does this protein promote muscle gain and strength? The mechanisms include:

  1. Building blocks: it provides your body with amino acids and proteins. These agents are essential for building new muscle.
  2. Hormones: It enhances the release of anabolic hormone which then stimulates muscle growth.
  3. Leucine: It is high in amino acid leucine which can stimulate the synthesis of muscle protein.
  4. Fast absorption: Whey proteins can absorb and break down more quickly as compared to other types of protein.

Whey protein can be particularly effective in increasing the growth of muscle. This is true if you consume it before, after or during an exercise session. Note that muscle protein synthesis reaches its fastest level after a workout.

A recent review of the evidence, however, said that the total daily intake of protein is linked with muscle growth. Whether you consume protein before or after a work does not seem to matter much.

Everything You Need to Know about Whey Protein
Image by Protein Supplements in the Air Force

Whey protein also seems to perform a bit better than other types of protein such as soy protein.

Dosage and Side Effects

Experts advise people to take 1 to 2 scoops of this protein per day, preferably after exercise. This means around 25 to 50 grams of whey protein is sufficient to gain benefits on a daily basis.

It is also wise to search the packaging of the product for serving instructions.

Bear in mind that if you are already consuming a high protein, whey protein may be useless.

The rising concerns about proteins leading to kidney damage and osteoporosis are not confirmed. In fact, protein works to protect your body from osteoporosis. At the same time, it has no impact on healthy kidneys.

However, people with a pre-existing liver or kidney issue must avoid this. It is better to consult with a medical professional before taking it as well.

If you take too much of whey protein, it may lead to digestive issues. These may include diarrhea, flatulence, cramping, and pain. Some people may develop allergies due to it.

If you are unable to tolerate whey protein concentrate on a regular basis, don’t worry. You may switch to hydrolysate or isolate forms. Alternatively, you may quit using this product and try using protein-rich foods instead.

Overall speaking, the safety profile of whey protein is excellent. Most of the people can consume it without experiencing problems.

The Bottom Line

Whey protein is an extremely healthy way to add more protein to your diet. It is a high-quality protein source that absorbs quickly and works efficiently. IT is particularly beneficial for bodybuilders, athletes, or people who wish to gain muscle.

When it comes to fat loss and muscle gain, protein seems to be the king of all nutrients. Whey protein, on the other hand, is even better than some forms of quality protein.


Nancy Walker

Nancy holds a Medicine degree and a Masters of Science MS in Infectious Disease and Global Health (MS-IDGH) from Tufts University. She worked as a lecturer for three years before she turned towards medical writing. Her area of interest are infectious diseases; causes, mechanism, diagnosis, treatments and prevention strategies. Most of her writings ensure an easy understanding of uncommon diseases.

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