Is whey protein powder good for you?
From ice-cream, ricotta to cottage cheese and even infant formula, you can find whey protein powder in every other food item. Whey protein powder is used as a common supplement that is known to have several health benefits. It contains a wide range of essential amino acids that are quickly absorbed by the body which is why it can offer some incredible health benefits.
Previous studies have shown that whey protein powder can help in reducing body fat while retaining lean muscles and increasing the strength of the body. However, that way it is not just a protein but an excellent supplement with a high nutritional value and potent biological effects.
Here is everything you need to know about whey protein.
What is whey protein powder?
Milk is made up of two main types of proteins called casein and whey. The cheese-making process separates casein and from whey and it contains 9 essential amino acids and insignificant lactose content. Milk contains only 20% of whey protein which is found in the watery portion of the milk.
Before becoming powdery whey protein, it undergoes a wide range of processes until it is ready to be used in protein shakes or replacement. The protein powder itself does not taste very good but it is usually offered in different flavors such as vanilla, strawberry or chocolate which makes it delicious and easy to use. It is a great supplement for people who are trying to lose weight or have been on a protein-deficient diet for a long time.
Types of whey protein powder
There are different types of whey protein powders available in the market and the main difference lies in the way they have been processed before hitting the market. The three most popular types of whey proteins powders are:
Whey Protein concentrates: Whey concentrate has the best flavor with 70 to 80% protein along with some lactose and fat content which is why they are known as the best whey protein powders.
Whey Protein isolate: Isolate contains 90% or even more protein with an insignificant quantity of fat or lactose.
It also lacks any other beneficial nutrients that are usually found in the whey protein concentrate.
Whey Protein hydrolysate: It is also called the hydrolyzed whey known for its super quick absorption as it is available in the pre-digested form. It has a higher quantity of sugar than whey isolate.
Most people prefer whey protein powder concentrates which offer other nutritional elements and are available at affordable prices. They are also preferred for their taste which is usually created by the lactose and fat content.
These types can be divided into grass-fed whey or regular whey powder.
- Grass-fed whey protein powder
This type of whey protein powder comes from the cows that feed on organic naturals plant-based diets. It contains greater concentrations of beneficial Lactoferrin, Immunoglobulins, Beta-lactoglobulin, Alpha-lactalbumin, Glycomacropeptides and Serum albumin.
- Regular whey protein powder
This type of whey comes from cows fed on soy and corn diets in the conventional feedlots. The nutritional content of regular whey is less than grass-fed whey.
Benefits of whey protein powder
Whey protein powder is an excellent combination of alpha lactalbumin, beta-lactoglobulin, bovine serum albumin and several immunoglobulins. All these chemical compounds work together to produce some incredible health benefits associated with consuming the whey protein powder.
More researches are being carried out to know more about the therapeutic properties of this implausible by-product of milk.
- Whey protein powder aids weight loss
Being a great source of macronutrients, research suggests that whey protein can also aid in weight loss. Proteins can boost the energy expenditure of our body up to 100 calories per day and can also reduce cravings by 60%. Whey is a great source of readily available protein that can be easily combined with weight lifting as it can increase the lean muscle mass but help in burning the fat content.
If you are also trying to lose weight, adding a whey protein supplement to your daily diet is one of the best ideas.
It should be noted that the exact effect of this protein depends upon the way it is used. It can prevent the loss of lean muscles and increase the burning of access fat in the body. However, it would be too early to say if it can help in reducing obesity or weight especially if it is not being used with the workout.
- Whey as an ideal supplement
Undoubtedly whey is one of the most famous and healthy protein supplements available in the market that can be used to increase muscle mass and strength. It helps the body in several ways such as:
- Providing essential amino acids that are the building blocks for muscle growth
- Improves the production of anabolic hormones such as insulin which stimulate muscle growth.
- Leucine is one of the most popular amino acids that is involved in stability and the production of muscle protein synthesis at both genetic and molecular levels.
Since whey protein is absorbed and utilized very quickly as compared to other types of proteins, it is generally consumed before or during the workout. Research has shown that muscle protein synthesis is usually at its peak after the training period.
- Anticancer properties of whey protein powder
Even though we need more research on this concept, however preliminary research has shown that whey protein powder also possesses anti-cancer properties that can help in the treatment of different types of cancer.
- Decreased cholesterol in the body
A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition shows that whey protein powder can also help in reducing the level of bad cholesterol in the blood. It works effectively as compared to the casein protein. If you are also interested in benefiting from the whey protein, it is recommended to use it for a few weeks to experience the results.
- Improves immunity
Whey concentrates contains a number of different beneficial chemical compounds that can help in boosting the overall immunity of the body which helps us in fighting off different internal and external harmful stimuli.
- Other health benefits of whey protein powder
Being a beneficial compound whey protein powder provides other medicinal benefits apart from being a great nutrient option and source of protein. It can help in lowering blood pressure and stabilizing blood sugar levels. Various researchers have shown that it can also reduce the symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress. It can also reduce the symptoms of hepatitis along with an increase in bone mineral density.
Whey protein has also been shown to improve the immunity of patients suffering from HIV as it is a rich source of cysteine which can help in increasing the level of glutathione, the main antioxidant in our cells. A balanced level of glutathione also mediates several other positive impacts on the body.
Preliminary research has shown that whey protein powder could also be helpful in reducing age-related muscle loss or sarcopenia.
Studies also indicate that whey protein powder can also improve our cognitive function including memory and thinking skills. It could be quite helpful in improving the memory of older adults.
Ever since whey protein powder became an essential part of workout and bodybuilding, scientists have started to find out how it can help in reducing muscle damage caused by exercise and intense workouts. Even though it may not seem to be working for everyone but it can improve and speed up recovery from exercise by reducing inflammation.
Side effects of taking whey protein powder
If your regular diet contains a higher quantity of protein and you are also taking a whey protein supplement, it may be unnecessary and may cause several side effects. Excess protein intake can cause kidney damage and may also contribute to the onset of osteoporosis. Even if the whey protein is completely safe and does not cause any harmful impact on the healthy kidney but excess intake can cause inconvenience.
Taking too much whey protein may also lead to digestive issues such as nausea, diarrhoea, pain and cramping. It's quite possible that you may not be able to tolerate whey protein concentrate. In this case, we always have the option to switch to whey isolate or hydrolysate that is easy to digest.
Whey protein powder has emerged as a phenomenal source of healthy protein and nutritional supplements.
Research shows that it can effectively help in weight loss serving lean muscle and increases strength. Its exact effect in the body depends upon individual body chemistry and tolerance. However, it would be best to keep whey protein powder in your diet for a few weeks to make sure it has enough time to induce changes in the body. If you are facing any unwanted side effects for a long time, stop taking the supplement and consult your healthcare practitioner immediately.
Want to learn more about the best whey protein powder?
Check out our Ultimate guide to Whey Protein here => https://www.iconnutrition.com/blogs/articles-and-guest-blog/protein-shakers-everything-you-need-to-know-about-whey-protein-shakes