Let us first start by understanding what whey is… Whey is the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained. Whey protein is a mixture of globular proteins isolated from whey.
It is a 5% solution of lactose in water, with some minerals and lactalbumin. The fat is removed and then processed for human consumption.
Some amino acids are produced by the body’s cells, while others must be got from foods. The ones that we must get from foods are termed “essential” amino acids. Whey protein is a complete protein source, which means that it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids, which are absorbed quickly.
It is most often sold as a nutritional supplement and is widely used on a larger scale by gym- goers. This is where it gets interesting… Whey protein does so much more than just help as a supplement for people trying to get more muscular. The reason whey protein is so popular amongst the health conscious is because it helps to:
1. LOSE FAT AND PRESERVE MUSCLE: This is the most widely known fact. As with other forms of protein, consumption of whey protein shortly after vigorous exercise can boost muscle hypertrophy, i.e., the increase in its volume due to the enlargement of its component cells.
2. INCREASE SIZE AND STRENGTH: For this, it is recommended that you should consume whey one hour before and after exercising.
3. REDUCE HUNGER: Those who consume a beverage containing 50 grams of whey protein have significantly reduced levels of ghrelin (a hormone that tells your brain you’re hungry) up to four hours later. This is how it helps to stave off unnecessary hunger.
4. FIGHT CANCER: Various studies have concluded that whey protein may help in the fight against some common forms of cancer including prostate and colon. Whey can also help regulate and reduce spikes in blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes by increasing insulin secretion.
5. COPE WITH STRESS: Those who consume whey protein experience fewer symptoms of depression and are likely to be in a better mood than those who do not. This probably happens due to likely changes in the brain serotonin.
6. IMPROVE IMMUNE SYSTEM: Whey protein, due to its pH, may be one of the best vehicles for bringing probiotics to the gut while they are still intact. This, in turn, helps to keep our body’s level of immunity up.
There are four forms of whey protein:
- Concentrates: About 70-80% protein. Contains some lactose (milk sugar) and fat, and has the best flavour.
- Isolates: 90% protein, or higher. Contains less lactose and fat, and is missing a lot of the beneficial nutrients found in whey protein concentrate.
- Hydrolysates: Also known as hydrolysed 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.
- Native whey protein: The purest form of whey protein which has been extracted from skim milk and is not a byproduct of cheese production, produced as a concentrate and isolate.
Tips for taking whey protein powder:
a. 2g per kilo body weight is a good idea for the average gym-goer.
b. Take it straight as soon after a workout as possible for a quick hit of muscle-building nutrients.
c. It can and should be utilized whenever you are looking for a high-quality source of protein to add to your diet. That being said, it is indeed beneficial to ingest whey protein around your workout times so don’t neglect your pre/post-workout nutrition.
If you do have an urge to snack on something, try Happy Belly’s whey protein snacks like the Whey Too Good muffin found either as a party of the Nutrilicious healthy food subscription box or available on the snack box menu.