Whey protein is considered the purest form of protein and best supplement for muscle building. They are quite a rich source of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) and contain the highest known levels of any natural food source.
In this article, we’ll answer all the frequently asked questions related to Whey Protein Supplements.
- Does Natural Food contain Whey Protein?
- Types of Whey Proteins
- What is the purpose of Whey Protein?
- Biological value of Whey vs. other protein sources
- Who can benefit from use of Whey Protein supplements?
- Does Whey Protein have any side effects?
- Choosing the Right Whey Protein Supplement for You
- Pros and Cons of Whey Protein Isolate
- Pros and Cons of Whey Protein Concentrate
- Pros and Cons of Whey Protein Blends
- Frequently Asked Questions
Does Natural Food contain Whey Protein?
No natural foods contain whey protein as it is artificially extracted and purified to be made available in form of protein powders, protein bars and recovery drinks. However, many foods do contain high levels of protein like Lean red meat, Chicken/turkey, Fish, Eggs, Cheese, etc.
Proteins present in dairy products are of 2 types namely – Casein and Whey. After the milk has been curdled and strained, Whey Protein is extracted from the milk serum which was left as the by-product of manufacture of cheese.
Types of Whey Proteins
Whey Protein can be categorized into whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate.
- Whey Protein Concentrate – This one has low fat content and about 75% pure protein by weight
- Whey Protein Isolate – This is by far the purest form of protein with about 90% protein by weight.
When it comes to supplements with Whey protein content, concentrate powders are the cheapest but contain the highest levels of fat and lactose.
The isolate powders, on the contrary, come with the maximum amount of protein per serving and negligible content of carbs, lactose and fat. No wonder, they are priced higher than the concentrate form.
However, the third form of whey proteins, Protein Blends are by far the most popular among all the whey protein supplements available as they come with a perfect combination of isolate and concentrate qualities under an economic price tag.
What is the purpose of Whey Protein?
They are much superior to other forms of protein as they provide perfect amino acid requirements for muscle building, strength improvement and recovery to bodybuilders and athletes around the globe. They help them increase size and strength of muscles and also aid in faster recovery.
They get easily available where it’s required in body and play a vital role in post-workout nutrition. On one side they provide instant energy required by the body before workout and later when it needs a fast injection of protein to recover. Whey proteins, further are known for boosting body’s immune system.
To summarize, effects of Whey protein consumption:
- Substantially increased lean muscle mass
- Faster recovery time and better muscle repair
- Great reduction in post-workout muscle breakdown
Biological value of Whey vs. other protein sources
Biological value, or BV, is the measure of the efficiency of a nutrient and how readily it can be absorbed and utilized for growth – higher the BV number, higher the efficiency of nutrient. It’s a common term in bodybuilding and is used to classify whey protein as well.
In BV terms, egg protein scores a 100 while beef can be found around 75. With whey protein, however, BV can soar as high as 170.
Who can benefit from use of Whey Protein supplements?
As already said, Whey protein is popular among bodybuilders and athletes, but with advancement in research they have been found useful for many other purposes too which include weight loss, cancer treatment, infant health and wound healing. Now a days, every age group can benefit from whey protein supplementation in some way or the other.
It is seen in high regards by those bodybuilders, strength trainers, endurance athletes, people going through weight loss programs and newbies looking to bulk up, who are vegetarian, and thus, cannot depend on flesh source of proteins.
Does Whey Protein have any side effects?
No side effects have been observed so far associated with intake of Whey, unless the person suffers from dairy allergies. In case of an allergy, it is advised to consult a physician before going on a protein program.
Choosing the Right Whey Protein Supplement for You
Whey protein concentrate is not as filtered as the isolate, but is still very high quality and rich in amino acids. Having a little less filtered form means you will get slightly less protein per scoop of powder and often the calorie count will be higher. This might not matter for someone who is trying to gain weight, but for weight loss or someone who is trying to prepare for a competition this might matter. The difference, however, is usually about 2-5g of protein per scoop. For a 30g scoop whey protein isolate might have 25g of protein and 105 calories, while concentrate may have 21g and 130 calories.
To zero in on a supplement that’s appropriate for you, there are two aspects one must consider – budget and quality.
As stated above, there are 3 main types of whey protein available:
- Whey protein isolate – the purest form of whey protein
- Whey protein concentrate – not as pure as isolate with slightly higher fat & lactose content
- Whey protein blend – a pertinent mixture of isolate and concentrate
The more pure and high quality the product, the higher the price. So, you see its a trade-off between price and quality. Although, spending some bucks on a better product is not a bad idea after all.
Pros and Cons of Whey Protein Isolate
- Purest form of whey protein available
- Fat free, lactose free, carb free
- Excellent amino acid profile
- More protein per serving
- Ideal for both muscle building & fat loss
- More expensive than concentrate & blends
Pros and Cons of Whey Protein Concentrate
- Well priced, with 5lbs starting at under $30
- High in amino acids
- Great for muscle building
- Higher in fat and carbs than whey protein isolate
- More calories per serving coming from fat
Pros and Cons of Whey Protein Blends
By now if you’re thinking the choice is black and white, quality protein for a higher price, or lower quality protein at a low price, then take of breath of relief. There is some middle ground in form of Whey protein blends.
Not all protein blends are created equal though. Some have more isolate than concentrate, and vice versa. The way to you can tell this is by looking at the ingredients. The protein source listed first in the ingredients is the primary protein source. This is good to know when you’re researching on what protein powder to buy.
- Good mix of isolate and concentrate protein sources
- Great value for money
- Excellent amino acid profile
- Less fat/carbs/lactose than whey protein concentrate
- Loads of brands to choose from
- More fat/carbs/lactose than whey protein isolate
- Some blends contain a lot of whey protein concentrate
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I mix whey protein with other supplements?
Yes, of course. Whey protein blends well with other supplements. Also, uptake of protein can be improved by mixing it with high GI carbohydrates.
How much protein should I take?
No two people are the same. Bodybuilders generally consume between 1 and 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day.
When is the best time to take whey protein?
It actually depends on your goals. Whey protein is fast digesting, so it’s ideal for a time when you need it for a quick absorption. It is usually consumed as the first thing in the morning, after sport or training and before exercise. Furthermore, it can also be mixed with casein protein and taken between meals as a meal replacement.
Will whey protein help me lose weight?
Good supplements help you lose weight and build muscle. Adding whey protein to the diet is a great way to jump-start a weight loss program. It is a key ingredient in numerous weight loss products and whey protein isolate (with no fat and carbohydrate) is often the preferred choice.
Studies have found that individuals who combine diets with leucine rich protein foods, like whey protein, and exercise, have more lean muscle tissue and they lose more body fat. Eventually, as they lose fat their metabolic rate increases and they naturally start to burn more calories each day.
Another way that whey protein helps manage weight is by promoting satiety, or a feeling of fullness.
What is better, whey or casein protein?
Whey protein has the highest BV number, and is the richest source of BCAAs of any protein. This means it is far superior to any other type of protein for muscle building, weight loss and general health. Casein protein has its own place though. Casein protein is absorbed much slower by the body (up to about 7 hours). This means it’s ideal for a “night time” supplement, taken before bed. Bodybuilders and professional athletes have used casein for decades as a slow release protein to repair muscle tissue during sleep.
Is whey protein OKAY for vegetarians?
Absolutely. Whey protein is an ideal protein source for vegetarians who include dairy products in their diet.
Is whey protein easy to digest?
Whey protein is a soluble, very easy to digest protein. It quickly enters the body to provide the important essential amino acids needed to nourish muscles and other body tissues. This is one of the reasons, it is a common ingredient in infant formula and protein supplements for medical use.
Can whey protein harm my kidneys?
Bodybuilders frequently consume up to 500g of protein per day for months and even years. There is no scientific evidence that this high protein intake causes kidney problems. Adding further, other studies on animals with high protein intakes for more than half their lifetime has never shown signs of kidney damage.
However, high protein intake may be hazardous for individuals with abnormal kidney function or kidney disease. For a disease-free individual, the most serious concern with high protein intake is dehydration, because it takes a lot of water to metabolize protein. This is avoided by drinking 8 or more 8 oz. glasses of water a day.
A new study looked at the effects of a high protein intake on markers of safety in 20 healthy resistance-trained males. The subjects were taking 1.3 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight 3.6 times greater amount than that recommended by the RDI. After 28 days the researchers concluded that the daily high protein intake had no untoward or negative effects on the immune system, renal and hepatic function nor did it induce ketosis or dehydration, thus it appears safe for short term daily intake.
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