What are whey protein and its health benefits?
Whether you’re an athlete, bodybuilder, fitness enthusiast, or simply someone looking to get more protein in their diet, you should consider trying whey protein.
This supplement is widely regarded as a protein staple because it helps with lean muscle growth, muscle recovery, and overall health and wellness.
To understand this protein and how it helps your body and wellbeing, please keep reading this comprehensive guide to learning everything you need to know including the various benefits it offers.
What Is Protein?
Protein is a macronutrient, like fat and carbohydrates that are used in every single cell of the body. Hair and nails are mostly made of protein and the body uses it to build and repair tissues.
It is also used to make hormones, enzymes, and other body chemicals.
Protein is an essential building block of muscles, bones, skin, cartilage, and blood. Unlike fat and carbohydrates, the body does not store protein to maintain an available reservoir, so it can only be obtained from food.
What is Whey Protein?
Whey protein is actually a term used to describe a group of globular proteins that can be separated from the whey.
To understand what whey protein is we must first unpack the meaning of “whey.” Whey is a term that describes milk serum, or the liquid by-product that is created when milk is curdling.
In animal milk, whey protein makes up nearly 20% of the protein content while the rest is roughly casein fractions.
In fact, whey proteins actually come in a variety of fractions like globulins, albumins, and more.
However, for the purposes of this article, whey protein will simply refer to the whole variety of specific fractions that are found in cow’s milk.
Whey Protein is derived from cow’s milk and is also a by-product of making cheese, which in the past was typically thrown out as a waste product.
We now know that Whey Protein is rich in amino acids essential for building muscle and overall good health.
Whey Protein is also naturally found in breast milk as well as some types of baby formula.
Although protein is also found in other foods such as meats and vegetables, Whey Protein is known to have the highest digestible levels of protein that the body can use.
Whey protein is also a complete protein source, which simply means that it provides all 9 essential amino acids, which are, in essence, the complete building blocks of life.
How Whey Protein is Made?
Whey protein can be produced from whey through a variety of different membrane filtration methods depending upon the desired protein content.
Some filtration methods include microfiltration and ultrafiltration. Once done, the whey protein is spray dried in give it the desired powdered consistency.
When cow’s milk is used to manufacture cheese, it also leads to the production of whey, which may or may not be discarded. It is a mixture of lactoglobulin, alpha lactalbumin, and serum albumin.
Similar to the protein found in egg white, whey protein can also be irreversibly changed by heat. When made part of the pasteurization process, it becomes less bio-active.
If not, whey protein naturally becomes bio-active which basically means it contains a high concentration of cysteine and consequently glutathione, an antioxidant that is essential to improved fitness and health.
Bioactive whey protein is an active source of protein but exposure to extreme heat can easily reduce the amount of cysteine in it without affecting its protein content and basic food value.
Benefits of Whey Protein and Why You Should Add it To Your Diet
Protein is one of the key ingredients in muscle growth, development, and wellness.
On the smallest scale, proteins are built up of amino acids which are needed for the construction of various bodily systems and tissues as well as other physiological functions.
These include neurotransmission, brain metabolism, immune system function and strength, cardiovascular function, and energy production.
Because of these dynamic building blocks, proteins then are important for building and maintaining strong muscles.
There are a number of benefits from consuming whey protein that is all directly linked to the biological roles and properties of essential amino acids.
Due to its high amount of L-leucine, whey protein is an important part of muscle protein production and other functions.
Whey Protein offers several other health benefits like a healthier immune system, stronger bones, weight loss, and just plain overall better well-being.
Whey Protein is also sometimes used to help speed the healing of wounds or burns.
Whey protein helps to detoxify the body by making the body’s production of endogenous glutathione greater.
This too helps to make your immune system stronger as well, and this is just another of the many advantages of whey protein.
Native Whey Protein – What Makes It Good for the Body
Because whey protein contains an inordinate amount of essential and non-essential acids, it frequently plays a prominent role in most low-carb and high-protein diets.
Another reason for this is because of its low content of fats and of course, carbohydrates.
Why Pregnant Mothers Love Whey Protein
A number of OBs have advised their gravid patients to increase their intake of whey protein because it will provide the basic amount of amino acids needed by the growing infants inside their bodies.
An increased intake of whey protein will naturally improve and speed up the development of the baby. Also, increased intake of whey protein will indirectly improve the immune system of the baby.
In its growing stages, it is highly vulnerable to different types of illnesses. With the help of whey protein, it grows faster and better and more equipped to defend itself against any health complication.
Whey Protein for Bodybuilding Enthusiasts
For bodybuilders, muscle growth is everything and that’s why they love whey protein so much. Studies have satisfactorily proven that whey protein can lead to the acceleration of muscle development.
This is welcomed news especially for bodybuilders who are only a few weeks away from the date of competition but is still in high need of muscle growth.
How it Helps Athletes Busy Recovering from Old Injuries
In this case, whey protein saves the day once more because it can be used to supplement diets of individuals who are suffering from compromised immune systems.
Basically, it helps athletes heal faster and feel better.
A Weapon Against Degenerative Diseases
Although you can’t truly say that any disease is less painful than the other if both have life-altering consequences, it is an inarguable fact however that degenerative diseases are one of the worst health complications to suffer from.
These illnesses tend to subject people to a protracted form of suffering and with symptoms with increasing levels of severity.
They commonly affect three systems in particular: the nervous system, the muscular system, and the skeletal system.
Although rarely curable, degenerative diseases can be treated with chemotherapy, surgical operations, and the proper diet.
Whey protein is often a part of this diet because of its rehabilitative benefits especially when it comes to muscle growth.
Cancer, diabetes, and AIDS have symptoms that cause muscle strength and growth to deteriorate – an undesirable effect that can be combated with increased intake of whey protein.
The following are some of the whey protein’s main benefits:
It can provide anti-catabolic properties during extended periods of aerobic activities
It is quickly and easily absorbed and digested
It boosts insulin sensitivity which can in turn boost metabolism and result in weight loss
Improves and enhances the immune system (especially for physically active individuals)
Help maintain muscle mass/prevent muscular loss as a result of aging
Whey protein can be found as a powdered supplement but it is also present in some dairy foods. This includes:
Bread, crackers, cookies (other baked goods that use whey in production)
Dairy, Butters, and Creams
Animal Milk (goat and cow)
The best way to find out if a certain food naturally contains whey protein is to read the label!
If you do not want to purchase powders or other whey protein supplements, you can easily add these foods to your everyday diet.
It is important to remember, however, that too much dairy can result in some gastrointestinal problems (bloating, constipation, etc.), so remember to eat these foods in moderation.
Are there risks or side effects?
Since Whey Protein is derived from food it doesn’t have any of the risks associated with man-made supplements.
However, you can even have too much of a good thing if you’re not careful. Extreme high use can be more than your liver can handle. Moderation is always best.
For those who are lactose intolerant, there is Whey Protein Isolate which has less than 1% lactose.
Choosing The Right Whey Protein Powder
When you start looking for a whey protein supplement, you will most likely consider a whey protein powder because these are typically less expensive than other types of whey protein.
Whey protein powder can be just as effective as other types of whey protein products, but it is essential that you choose a quality whey protein powder.
Unfortunately, when you walk into your local health food store to purchase a whey protein powder, you will probably be expecting a qualified sales person who knows all about the products on the shelf.
What you will actually – most likely – encounter is a teenager who doesn’t know the first thing about bodybuilding, much less the products on the shelf in the store where he or she works.
They are just there for the minimum wage paycheck. Even if the sales person is qualified to answer your questions, they represent their company – not you – and will suggest the product that nets them the highest profit, instead of the product that is going to net you the most benefit.
The first step is to know your protein and to realize that whey protein isolate is the best choice.
Whey protein isolate is sold in whey protein powder form.
Learn to read labels carefully to ensure that you are getting the right product – the one that contains everything you want, as well as the one that uses a manufacturing process that doesn’t filter out or reduce the beneficial nutrients of the product.
Educate yourself, and you won’t have to depend on a sales clerk knowing what you need….you will know, and you will know how to examine labels to find what you do need.
The next step is to ignore the prices listed for those whey protein powders.
If you are making your selections based first on price, the chances are really good that you won’t be getting a good product, and of course, there is no need to ask a sales person or to take the time to educate yourself.
Your decision is already made, based on price. Don’t make this mistake.
Next, look for the whey protein powders that are pure. This means that they do not include carbohydrates, and again, whey protein isolate is what you should be looking for.
If you look simply for whey protein isolate, the choices become way less confusing.
Otherwise, your eyes and senses will be assaulted with too many choices. You will see whey protein powder with other proteins. You will see whey protein powder with Casein.
You will see whey protein powder with Soy. The choices go on and on, and in the end, all you really need is a whey protein isolate powder.
Again, it cannot be said enough, it is vital that you educate yourself concerning whey protein powder before you start buying.
Otherwise, you will find that you are wasting a ton of money on products that are not giving you the maximum benefits.
Whey protein powder is important to bodybuilding, but it only counts if you use a quality whey protein powder.
A Warning to Remember
Whey protein is good for the body – no doubt about it – but too much consumption of anything is never beneficial. Too much intake of whey protein can lead to unnecessary complications of your liver.
And need we remind you that the liver is the next most important organ in the body? Lastly, lactose intolerant individuals must consume whey protein isolate rather than the normal variety as the former has less lactose content.
Now that you have a basic understanding of what whey protein is and why it’s good for you, you may be motivated to add it to your diet.
In addition to this power-protein, you may want to begin exercising and practicing other methods of self-care that can help bring your body and health into a new realm of well-being.
By combining the consumption of whey protein with proper eating habits, regular exercise, and getting enough sleep, you could begin to see the lean, healthy body you’ve always dreamed of forming in no time.
POINTS TO REMEMBER
Protein is a macronutrient used in every single cell of the body.
Protein is an essential building block of muscles, bones, skin, cartilage, and blood.
Whey is a term that describes milk serum, or the liquid by-product that is created when milk is curdling.
Whey protein refer to the whole variety of specific fractions found in cow’s milk.
It is a complete protein source.
How whey protein is made?
- Some filtration methods like microfiltration and ultrafiltration. Then, spray dried to the desired powder consistency
- It is a mixture of lactoglobulin, alpha lactalbumin, and serum albumin.
- Bioactive whey protein is an active source of protein but exposure to extreme heat can easily reduce the amount of cysteine in it without affecting its protein content and basic food value.
Benefits of Whey Protein and why you should add it to your diet?
- Whey protein is an important part of muscle protein production and other functions.
- Whey Protein offers several other health benefits like a healthier immune system, stronger bones, weight loss, and just plain overall better wellbeing.
- Whey protein is good for pregnant mothers
- Whey protein for bodybuilding enthusiasts
- It helps athletes recover from old injuries
- It is a weapon against degenerative diseases
Choose the right whey protein powder
Whey protein isolate is the best choice
Warning to Remember
- Too much intake can lead to unnecessary complications of your liver
- Lactose intolerant must consume whey protein isolate rather than the normal variety
– Are you consuming whey protein?
– What health benefits of whey protein motivates you to drink some?
– What other health benefits of whey protein you know?
– Do you have any special recipe of taking whey protein?
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