Last Updated on March 22, 2021 by Filip Poutintsev
Whey proteins are commonly marketed as a dietary supplement generally mixed in the beverages and typically sold in powdered form. Taking whey protein is a convenient way to add protein on top of our daily intake.
Whey protein is a mixture of some proteins that get isolated from whey, which is basically liquid part of milk that gets separated during production of cheese.
Milk has two kinds of proteins, whey (20%) and casein (80%)
Whey is generally found in the watery portion of milk, the fatty parts of the milk coagulate and the whey is separated from it as a byproduct when the cheese gets produced. The liquid that floats atop of yoghurt is hey. Earlier Cheesemakers used to rebuke it until they discovered its commercial value.
After being separated during cheese production, whey goes through various processing steps to become what people generally recognize as whey protein. a powder that is added to shakes, meal replacements and protein bars.
Chocolate, vanilla and strawberry-flavourings are added because whey protein doesn’t taste very good on its own. Likewise, some protein powders contain added sugars and high calorie contents, which is why it is important to see the key ingredients before buying it.
This can be crucial for bodybuilders and gym enthusiasts, as well as people who are keen to lose their weight or are simply lacking protein in their diet.
Most of the flavoured whey are delicious and can be used to add taste to other healthy recopies.
Whey is generally well tolerated by most of the people, though people with less tolerance of lactose need to be extra careful. Similarly, some people may even be allergic to it.
Types of Whey Protein
Concentrate: Contains lactose and fat and has a nice flavour and is made up of around 70-80% of protein.
Isolate: It Contains less lactose and fat and lacks the beneficial nutrients found in whey protein concentrate. It contains 90% protein or higher.
Hydrolysate: Also known as hydrolyzed whey, this type has been pre-digested so that it gets absorbed faster. It causes a 28–43% greater spike in insulin levels than isolate.
Pros of Whey Protein
1. Increases Muscle Mass and Strength
Whey protein is popular among athletes, bodybuilders, fitness models, as well as people looking to improve their performance in the gym. It provides protein and amino acids, which serve as building blocks for increased muscle growth. It increases the release of anabolic hormones that can stimulate muscle growth.
The amount of amino acid leucine is high in whey protein, which stimulates muscle protein synthesis at the molecular and genetic level.
2. High Quality Protein Source
The proteins in whey are of very high quality. They’re loaded with essential amino acids, including leucine and cysteine. Similarly, Whey protein is absorbed and utilized very quickly compared to other types of protein. Furthermore, it is one of the most researched supplement.
3. Easy Availability
Whey proteins are widely used and can be found easily in supermarkets and convenient stores. Likewise, there is a diverse range of flavourings, quantities and brands of these powders available. Optimum Nutrition, Transparent Labs, MuscleTech Nitrotech are some of the popular brands producing whey protein.
4. May Promote Weight Loss
By boosting metabolism, protein has been shown to aid weight loss. Whey protein can help increase fat loss while retaining lean muscle mass.
According to studies, replacing other sources of calories with whey protein, combined with weight lifting, can cause weight loss of about 3.5 kg increasing lean muscle mass alongside.
5. Other Health Benefits
Whey is high in essential amino acids and other healthy nutrients. It also contains a plethora of amino acid cysteine, cause a rise in the level of the antioxidant glutathione and leads to many health gains, which may include lowering blood pressure, blood sugar and reducing symptoms of stress and depression.
Cons of Whey Protein
1. Likeliness of Overdose
The evidence of whey protein on muscle and strength is mixed, and the results may vary greatly between individuals. If we are already eating plenty of meat, fish, eggs and dairy, all high in quality protein, the benefits of adding whey will probably be minimal. In fact, many of the consumers are victim to over-intake of whey, which may negatively harm their immune and digestive system.
2. Limited Data on Long Term Health Effect
Protein powders are relatively new players in bodybuilding scenes and thus there is very limited data on its long term health effect. According to dietitians “There are limited data on the possible side effects of high protein intake from supplements”.
3. May Cause Digestive Distress
In some cases, whey proteins are known to cause digestive distress. People with dairy allergies or trouble digesting lactose are known to experience gastrointestinal discomfort if they use a milk-based protein powder.
4. High in Added Sugar and Calories
Many protein powders are very high in added sugars and calories, Some powders have little added sugar, and others have a lot. Some protein powders turn a glass of milk into a drink with more than 1,200 calories which places the consumers to high risk of weight gain and an unhealthy spike in blood sugar.
5. Recent Findings and Toxins
By Research, 134 products for 130 types of toxins and found that many protein powders contained harmful heavy metals (mercury, lead, arsenic and cadmium) alongside Bisphenol-A (BPA, which is used to make plastic, pesticides, or other contaminants with links to cancer and other health conditions) similarly, the amount of BPA in one of the powder exceeded the limits 25 times.
Whey proteins are an exceptionally good source of protein to add to our diet. It’s a quality protein source that is absorbed and utilized efficiently by the human body and is exceptionally good for bodybuilding and athletes. However, unless the diet is already lacking in protein, supplementing with whey protein is unlikely to have a significant effect on the results and our bodies may even react negatively to all those extra proteins.