Everything You Need To Know About Whey Protein
Whey is the by-product of milk and cheese and has been promoted for its health benefits as early as 420 B.C. Whey protein is the perfect health supplement for bodybuilders, high-intensity and strength trainers, and athletes, and even those who are struggling with type-2 diabetes or obesity.
Most people think of it as a strength-building supplement, something that builds muscles. That’s true, but it does more than just that. Whey protein enhances muscle recovery and growth and also improves the nutrient content of the diet. Moreover, numerous studies have shown that it also has effects on the immune system as well.
Whey is more than just protein. This milk-derived peptide contains many other concentrated essential minerals, some with effective biological outcomes.
Whey Protein Can Help Increase your Protein and BCAA Intake
Proteins are the building blocks of the human body. They help build skin, organs, tendons, as well as neurotransmitters, enzymes, hormones, various molecules, and other vital things in the body.
They are also a fundamental part of the contractile elements in the muscles. Whey protein is loaded with all the nine essential amino acids that help with muscle growth. It is high in branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) such as leucine and cysteine. Leucine is considered the most anabolic (growth-promoting) amino acid, whereas cysteine helps boost the levels of the cellular antioxidant glutathione.
Whey Protein Types
There are generally numerous types of whey protein, and they are distinguished based on how they are processed.
Hydrolysate: It is commonly known as hydrolyzed whey. Hydrolysate is pre-digested, making it easier to absorb when consumed. However, it tends to cause a more significant spike in the insulin levels. Hence, you are advised to take it only after consulting it from your trainer or doctor.
Isolate: Isolate is 90% protein or may be higher and tastes better than hydrolysate. It contains less fat and lactose and lacks some beneficial nutrients as well. It is usually preferred by the bodybuilders for building lean muscle.
Concentrate: Concentrate contains fat, carbs, and lactose in high content but is about 70-80% protein. This type has the best taste and is recommended for all the individuals who follow diet lacking in protein. It preserves most of the valuable naturally found nutrients in whey.
If you have trouble tolerating (digesting) whey concentrate or you want to emphasize protein without the fat and carbs, then hydrolyzed whey or even whey protein isolate is a better option.
Effects of Whey Protein Supplementation on Strength and Muscle Mass
Whey protein has been used over the years to increase strength and muscle mass. It is popular among fitness models, bodybuilders, and athletes, including those who want to enhance their performance in the gym.
Whey protein affects different parts of the body differently. It promotes strength and muscle gain through:
Leucine: Leucine is a growth-promoting amino acid that stimulates the muscle protein synthesis at the genetic and molecular levels to build lean muscles in the body.
Hormones: Whey protein helps in releasing the anabolic hormones, such as insulin that stimulates muscle growth.
Fast Absorption: Unlike other types of protein, whey is easily absorbed and utilized very quickly in the body.Building Blocks: Whey protein provides amino acids that serve as building blocks for improved muscle growth.
Whey protein has been proven effective at enhancing muscle growth when consumed during, after, or right before a workout. However, experts recommend consuming after a workout as muscle protein synthesis is maximized after training.
But when it comes to muscle growth, it depends on the total daily protein intake. So it doesn’t matter whether it is consumed before or after a workout. Whey protein may promote weight loss by triggering satiety and is considered the most satiating macronutrient of all, and hence, can help reduce weight.
In addition to increasing energy expenditure by 90-100 calories per day while also triggering the feeling of being full and satisfied, reducing the number of calories consumed per day by up to 400. Several studies have found that replacing calorie sources with whey protein, coupled with regular exercise (weightlifting) can help lose up to 3.5 kilograms while increasing lean muscle mass.
Beyond just leanness, strength, and muscle, whey protein offers numerous other health benefits such as reducing the symptoms of depression and stress, lowering blood sugar and blood pressure levels.