When it comes to weight loss and building muscle you must consume lots of protein.
While eating chicken breast, turkey, tuna and eggs is critical for your dieting success, in order to get the best outcomes you should be consuming whey protein.
Time out! Isn’t whey protein what all those bodybuilders and athletes eat? Yes. Don’t worry. I know you don’t want to bulk up like a football player. Relax.
Whey protein won’t do that to you. So what will whey protein do for a woman like you? It will make you leaner, stronger and sexier!
What is Whey Protein?
Protein is an essential nutrient that builds muscles, tendons, hormones, enzymes, neurotransmitters and all sorts of tiny molecules that regulate your life.
However, when it comes to fitness, protein is the key to muscle building and recovery process.
Proteins are assembled by smaller molecules called amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein.
Some amino acids are created by the body, while others must be consumed so that we can carry on normal physiological functions.
When we are born the first protein we consume is breastmilk. Milk contains two key proteins: casein and whey.
How is Whey Protein Made?
When milk is left over it can coagulate and turn into a left-over liquid product which contains whey (20%) and casein (80%).
The liquid whey is separated from the casein through filers and purified through ion exchange and water is removed so that the final product is whey dry powder.
Whey protein is a complete, high-quality protein that contains all of the essential amino acids, and is easily digestible.
Whey protein is turned into one of three types of whey protein powder: whey protein isolate (wpi), hydrolysate (wph), and whey protein concentrate (wpc).
Types of Whey Protein
- Whey protein isolate (wpi): 90% protein, or higher and contains very little lactose and fat
- Whey protein hydrolysate (wph): Also known as hydrolyzed whey, this type has been pre-digested whey protein via partial hydrolysis, which now allows it to be absorbed into the body the easiest. Often this is used in infant formula or medical supplements since it’s digested so easily.
- Whey protein concentrate (wpc): 60-80% protein depending on type of concentrate and contains some lactose and fat, but has the best flavor
Overall whey protein concentrate is the most popular choice because it is the cheapest and still retains most of the nutritional value found in whey, and taste the best.
However, if you are unable to tolerate wpc, or if you want to consume more protein and keep the fat and carbs low, try either wpior wph. But remember, wpiand wphmay come at a higher expense!
How Does Whey Protein Help You in the Gym?
The main effects of whey on muscle/strength are that it provides the amino acid building blocks to build muscle and repair muscle quicker.
It also stimulates release of more anabolic hormones to stimulate muscle growth.
Numerous studies show that whey protein consumed before, during and after a workout helps maximize muscle building.
In regards to the debate of whey protein vs casein, the studies show that there is minimal difference between the two and further investigation is required.
The key takeaway for you is that whey protein can help you both build muscle to and lose fat!
What Are Some Health Benefits of Whey Protein?
While we are focused on using whey protein to get stronger and losing fat, we should recognize that it can help our health in many other ways. Studies show that whey protein can help lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, decrease risk of diabetes mellitus and obesity, and improve mental health by reducing anxiety and depression. Newer studies also show that it can potentially help reduce cancer, and reduce inflammation – potentially even in inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease.
Whey Protein Side Effects
Common side effects of whey protein include stomach pains, cramps, reduced appetite, diarrhea, nausea, or fatigue.
When you first take whey protein you may notice changes in your bowel movements the first few days. I recommend you give yourself a few days for your body to adjust. If it becomes unbearable, then switch to a different protein powder.
When I first started taking whey protein in high school I tried a few different brands and now I found the best one for me and have been using it consistently for over a decade.
Remember, everyone has a different body and response to whey protein.
Can Whey Protein Damage My Kidneys?
Often people consume 1-2 scoops of whey protein a day (1 scoop = 25g whey protein).
Despite all the talk, consuming large amounts of protein will not cause kidney damage for normal healthy individuals. Healthy kidneys will not get damaged from your high protein diet.
Typically you should consume 1g per kg of bodyweight. Some bodybuilders or high level athletes, consume 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight.
Everyone has a different body. As long as you do not have chronic kidney disease, you should be fine. However, discuss this with your doctor first as everyone has a different body and response.
Ultimately, whey protein has been shown to be a safe product that has numerous health benefits and will give you the edge you need to get stronger and leaner!
Rajiv M Mallipudi, md, mhs is an internal medicine resident physician, personal trainer, athlete and author. He has over a decade of personal training experience and helped hundreds of clients of all levels achieve their weight loss and fitness goals. This inspired him to work as a clinical researcher at the nationally recognized, Johns Hopkins Hospital Weight Management Center. During medical school he and his classmates created the health and wellness organization, med fit, which provided personal training and nutrition counseling to the medical student body. In his spare time, Dr. Mallipudi enjoys playing ice hockey, dancing, and training for his next bodybuilding and powerlifting competitions. Dr. Mallipudi serves as a contributing writer for the Diet and Fitness sections.
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