Is it Good or Bad?
As one of the most popular supplements on the market, it begs the question, what is whey protein powder? Many take it without knowing the reactions or results that come with the supplement.
In this article, we will go over just about everything that has to do with whey protein and how safe it actually is to consume.
What is “Whey” Protein?
Whey, as labeled on many protein supplements, is derived from milk. Your milk makes up the two famous proteins; casein and whey.
Both proteins are extracted during cheese production and formulated into their own consumable beneficial products. [Milk is 80% casein and 20% whey (liquid)
Since whey contains all nine essentials amino acids, it is considered a complete protein. Not only does it contain protein, but it contains other powerful nutrients as well.
After extraction from cheese production and following several other processing steps, it is turned into the whey protein we all know and love.
The whey in this state, a powdered state, is used to make protein powders, bars, protein shakes, etc.
However, taking whey protein comes with a handful of great benefits but also a handful of risks. We will discuss both and give you the research’s opinion on the matter.
The Three Wise Whey
In the protein supplement world, there are three types of whey protein. We will be looking at them individually to see what they got in store.
They all offer different attributes that are worth addressing. Their respective abilities may help certain people reach certain goals, while another may be for a broad consumer audience.
Whey Protein Isolate (WPI)
As on the most processed whey proteins, WPI contains the highest amount of protein, ranging at around 90% or higher.
The lactose and fat of whey are extracted along with the potential benefits of the nutrients. Not to mention, the flavor is not very tasty. Therefore flavors give to the whey, which may spark sugar levels.
Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC)
Only containing 70%-80% protein, WPC does not contain as much protein as WPI. In exchange, however, WPC does contain more lactose and fat, producing benefits from the nutrients and a much better flavor.
Whey Protein Hydrolysate (WPH)
This whey protein has gone through hydrolysis, making it predigested, meant for faster absorption. WPH is commonly found in medical protein supplements and infant formulas due to its greater ability to digest.
The Good Stuff
To begin, there are several ways in which whey protein powder can benefit your body. Here is a list of the main benefits and a couple of bonuses.
Muscle Mass / Strength
The main benefit, the obvious one, is muscle growth. Combining a solid whey protein powder along with a just as solid resistance training workout plan is a recipe for building muscle.
Most popular among athletes, bodybuilders, and even fitness models, whey protein contains properties that promote muscle building, these include:
Leucine: An amino acid that stimulates muscle protein synthesis.
Creating Building Blocks: Since proteins are the building blocks of the body, and whey protein powder is packed with protein, they go hand in hand to create muscle.
Quick Absorption: Unlike other proteins, like casein, whey is absorbed for protein synthesis much faster. That is why in order to maximize your workouts, you should consume whey protein powder right after.
Not known by many, whey protein powder can spark weight loss in your body. There are two ways whey enables weight loss, boosting metabolism and satiate hunger.
The protein you consume can enhance energy expenditure by up to 100 calories per day; along with daily exercise, calories will burn like wildfire.
Also, whey protein powder can cut cravings up to 60%.
However, when people want to lose “weight”, they most certainly mean lose “fat.” Whey protein not only melts fat but helps you keep and build lean muscle mass instead of losing it.
Muscle building and weight loss are the main benefits of consuming whey protein.
However, there are lesser-known benefits that protein could have on your body due to the high amount of cystine.
Cysteine is an amino acid that is important for protein synthesis, detoxification, and diverse metabolic functions. The health benefits include:
- Reducing symptoms of stress/depression
- Lowering Blood Pressure
- Reduces symptoms of hepatitis
- Protects against cancer
- Improve the immune response in children with asthma
- Improves immune function in HIV patients
The benefits of whey protein powder are obviously in abundance, it seems like the protein should be consumed by every person on the planet.
What’s The Catch?
Like many things that seem too good to be true, there is a catch when consuming whey protein powder. This catch, however, depends on the person; it may seem very inconvenient for some but very minimal for many.
It is proven that foods high in protein can and may accelerate damage to people who have kidney disease. It is advisable to stay away from whey if there is an issue with your kidney,
For the healthy liver, however, there should be no effects at all.
There is a connection with breakouts on the skin when consistently consuming high dosages of whey protein.
Studies had shown that when on a high protein diet, acne increased when adding whey but soon cleared up after cutting the protein.
While the reason for this may be unknown, it is suggested that since whey is technically a dairy product, it comes from milk, it has a correlation with acne.
So if you wonder where your newly developed acne may be coming from, try cutting whey and see if it may be the culprit.
Since some people are allergic to milk, they may also be allergic to whey. If unsure of having allergies to whey, symptoms include:
This is only a concise list of the total amount of allergies a person can experience when dealing with an allergen like whey.
Coverage on some of the code-red allergic reactions that require using an epinephrine pen or an EpiPen has been left out. These kinds of allergic reactions are called anaphylaxis reactions and could potentially lead to the death of a person.
These side effects are avoidable, as these symptoms arise if whey protein is taken in high dosages. Some of these symptoms may include:
- Stomach pains
- Reduced Appetite
There is a handful of risks that may emerge when taking whey protein powder. As mentioned before, many individuals should not have a problem consuming the protein.
As for the others who do have problems with any of the categories mentioned above, they may want to keep a keen eye overall on the supplement.
After discussing the pros and cons, along with the varying types of whey protein, does the good outweigh the bad. That is up to you to decide.
Every person is different, including their needs and conditions for supplementation such as whey. Feel free to leave a comment down below on your opinion about the matter or any burning question you might have on whey protein powder.