Whey Protein: Benefits and Everything You Need to Know
With so many different protein sources, how do you choose which is best for you? See the benefits you can get from whey protein, how you can benefit from this source and find out these eight things you need to know about whey protein here!
Animal meats and plant-based proteins generally come to mind when thinking of protein sources. But you might be wondering, "What is whey protein?" Milk is divided into two proteins – casein protein (makes up 80 percent of milk) and whey protein (comprises the remaining 20 percent of milk).
Whey can be separated from casein and used in its own form, as you may have noticed solely "whey protein" products. So why detach whey from milk? What are the benefits of whey protein? Find out the eight things you need to know about whey protein here!
8 Things You Need to Know About Whey Protein
1. It Is a Complete Protein
Whey provides all essential amino acids – amino acids that must be obtained through the diet, as they cannot be produced in the body. Complete proteins aids in protein synthesis and promotes muscle growth.
Health experts consider whey to be an excellent protein source and studies further suggests its beneficial use in muscle maintenance in older individuals and women following a workout.
2. There Are Two Primary Forms
Whey protein is further broken into two primary subtypes:
• Whey Protein Concentrate: When the liquid portion of milk is extracted, whey protein is created. The dried product creates whey protein concentrate and contains between 30 to 80 percent of protein with varying amounts of fat and lactose (the carbohydrate naturally found in milk).
• Whey Protein Isolate: Whey protein concentrate is further purified into whey protein isolate. Though whey protein isolate is more expensive and undergoes additional processing, they may lose some of the healthful properties. However, isolates contain higher amounts of protein (normally over 90 percent) with rapid absorption.
3. Causes Potential Side Effects
Though the consumption of whey protein is generally considered safe, there may be side effects with high doses including increased bowel movements, fatigue, cramps and bloating, reduced appetite, and headaches.
Very importantly, whey protein (whey protein concentrate especially) should be avoided if allergic to cow's milk.
Benefits of Whey Protein
4. Aids in Weight Loss and Maintenance
Protein is a key component in a nutritious diet, as it helps to stimulate muscle growth and hinders hunger between meal times. Though slightly unclear, research has shown whey protein may further aid in weight loss compared to other milks. In a study comparing whey and soy milk, individuals who unknowingly consumed the whey protein naturally reduced carbohydrate intake and lost a few more pounds compared to individuals who did not consume the whey protein.
5. Acts as an Appetite Suppressant
Further running with the weight loss notion, whey protein drinkers also have shown lower levels of ghrelin, a hormone regulating food intake. High levels of ghrelin induce hunger and stimulates appetite while low levels can act as an appetite suppressant and reduces the risk of overeating.
6. Assists in Diabetes Management
Though individuals identify consistent and low-carb with diabetes care, protein sources have also shown to have a positive impact on blood sugars and insulin concentrations. Specifically, blood sugar reductions have been documented in both healthy individuals and those managing type 2 diabetes with whey protein intake.
7. Prevents Against Allergies
Specifically in children with a limited diet, whey protein has been studied to reduce allergic skin symptoms. Whey protein formulas may actually help reduce the risk of developing an allergy to cow's milk.
Though more evidence needs to further established, whey protein may be a cost effective means to reduce skin allergies in infants.
8. Boosts the Immune System
Whey concentrate may boost levels of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that may lessen following strenuous aerobic activity. Low glutathione levels could have a negative impact on the immune system.
However, research has demonstrated individuals (specific to men at this time) supplementing with whey protein can exhibit a lower reduction of glutathione levels.
Whey Protein. WebMD. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-833-whey%20protein.aspx?activeingredientid=833&.
Whey Protein Evidence. Mayo Clinic. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/whey-protein/evidence/hrb-20060532.