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Overview of Whey Protein: Uses, side effects, and more

Team AckoJan 6, 2023

A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggests that Whey Protein supplementation may help enhance muscle protein synthesis and improve body composition. The study found that its supplementation combined with resistance training led to more significant gains in muscle mass and strength compared to those who only completed resistance training. Additionally, the study showed that the greater gains in muscle mass and strength were due to an increase in amino acid uptake following Whey Protein supplementation. Clearly, Whey Protein has a lot to offer when taken in the recommended dosage. This article gives an overview of this supplement, along with commonly asked questions.

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Contents

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What is Whey Protein?

Whey is a type of protein that is derived from milk, where the liquid separates when cheese is made. It is a very popular supplement among many athletes and bodybuilders. It has a high biological value and is a rich source of amino acids and is often used to increase muscle growth. It’s a complete protein that the body can easily use and absorb, providing a quick source of energy.

Different types of Whey Protein

Listed below are the three types of Whey Protein. 

1. Whey Protein Concentrate

Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) is one of the most popular and least processed forms of Whey Protein, consisting of anywhere from 30 to 85% protein. It is created by filtering whey using a process called ultrafiltration, which separates the protein from the lactose, ash and minerals. It is the most nutrient-dense supplement that contains all of the essential amino acids. It also has higher levels of bioactive peptides, immunoglobulins, lactoferrin, conjugated linoleic acid, and other compounds. These compounds have a positive influence on physiological and metabolic functions of the body.

WPC is the most cost-effective option for those looking to supplement their protein intake. Also, it is the most versatile form of whey as it can be used in everything, from protein shakes and meal replacements, to baked goods and snacks.

2. Whey Protein Isolate

It is the purest and cleanest form of dairy-based protein powder that is made from the process of extracting lactose and fat from cow’s milk. It contains zero fat and only small amounts of lactose and carbohydrates. As a powder, WPI contains between 90 to 95% protein, and is an ideal source of protein for those looking to improve body composition. It contains high-quality protein content and low levels of fat and carbohydrates, WPI is a popular choice for bodybuilders, and health-conscious individuals. It is a convenient source of nourishment that can be used after a workout or throughout the day as a meal replacement.

3. Hydrolyzed Whey Protein

This type of Whey Protein is produced through a process called hydrolysis. In this process, the proteins are broken down into smaller fragments, which are more easily absorbed by the body. Hydrolyzed Whey Protein is a source of essential amino acids, which help the body build and maintain muscle mass, as well as support other bodily functions, such as a strong immune system. This type of supplement is often used by athletes and bodybuilders as it is absorbed much faster than other Whey Protein types.

Research suggests that hydrolyzed Whey Protein can help with weight management, improve muscle mass, and reduce symptoms of chronic gastrointestinal disorders. Also, it may help reduce inflammation and improve blood sugar levels.

Benefits of Whey Protein

Here is the list of top benefits you can get by consuming Whey Protein.

Improved muscle growth: Whey Protein has been found to be a great way to build muscle mass and improve strength. When paired with regular strength training, supplementation with Whey Protein can lead to greater increase in muscle size and strength than strength training alone.

Enhanced athletic performance: Research suggests that consuming Whey Protein can help improve athletic performance. This is likely because it helps maximise the body’s ability to use carbohydrates for energy during exercise.

Improved nutrition: As one of the most nutrient-dense sources of protein, Whey Protein provides all nine essential amino acids. It is also high in BCAAs which are important for muscle growth and repair.

Improved health outcomes: Numerous studies suggest that supplementing with Whey Protein can lead to improved health outcomes such as reducing risk for heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Also, it has been found to promote weight loss, improve immune system function, and lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Lower risk of disease: Whey Protein has been found to be effective in reducing the odds of several diseases, including hypertension, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It can help reduce inflammation and improve markers of oxidative stress. Finally, it can also help to improve bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

How to choose a Whey Protein

When choosing a Whey Protein supplement, it is important to read the label and look for high-quality ingredients that are free from artificial flavours, sweeteners, and other artificial additives. It is also recommended to look for products that are free from chemicals.

Dosage of Protein and Whey Protein

The exact amount of protein you should consume every day depends on factors such as age, activity level, and overall health. The general recommendation is to get around 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. So, if you weigh 70 kg, you should aim to consume around 56 grams of protein per day.

When it comes to Whey Protein, a recommended dosage is 1 to 2 scoops (25 to 50 grams) per day. It can be taken as a shake, added to food, or taken as a pill or capsule. Depending on the product, it can be taken once or twice a day. It is important to follow the instructions to maximise the benefits of Whey Protein.

Side effects of Whey Protein

Whey Protein is generally a safe and healthy dietary supplement when taken in moderate doses, but a few side effects can occur. These include nausea, cramping, bloating, increased thirst, increased hunger, headaches, and infections of the kidneys and lower urinary tract.

In rare cases, too much Whey Protein can also cause liver damage.

Also, people with lactose intolerance or allergies may be sensitive to Whey Protein and should limit or avoid it if they experience any allergy symptoms.

Lastly, Whey Protein may interact with certain medicines, such as those used to treat high blood pressure. So it is always a good idea to consult your doctor before counting on any supplement.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Here’s a list of common questions and answers related to Whey Protein.

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Is it possible to consume Whey Protein on a daily basis?

Yes, it is possible to consume Whey Protein every day if your daily protein intake is low. It is important to remember that Whey Protein should be part of a healthy and balanced diet. 

Does Whey Protein build muscle?

It's a fast-digesting protein that is quickly absorbed into the body, providing your muscles with the essential amino acids they need to help them grow and recover after exercise. So, it can be an effective source of protein for muscle building. It can also help to curb appetite, making it a great option for those trying to lose weight and add muscle mass.

Is it better to take Whey Protein with water or milk?

It is up to personal preference when it comes to mixing Whey Protein with either milk or water. Some people prefer to mix it with water because it has fewer calories, while others prefer to mix it with milk because it makes the shake creamier and adds extra calcium. Ultimately, choose whatever you prefer to get the most out of it.

Is whey the healthiest protein?

It is considered one of the healthiest proteins as it contains all 9 essential amino acids. 

Does Whey Protein affect the liver?

Consuming large amounts of Whey Protein has been linked to an increased risk of liver damage or fatty liver disease in some cases.

However, a moderate intake of Whey Protein can be beneficial for maintaining healthy liver function. Generally, it's recommended not to exceed 40 grams of Whey Protein in one serving, especially if you have health issues like liver or kidney disease.

What happens after you stop taking Whey Protein?

After stopping the consumption of Whey Protein, your body will eventually return to its normal state. Depending on how much and how often you were taking Whey Protein before, it may take a few days or weeks for your body to adjust. During that time, you may experience some fatigue, muscle soreness and other withdrawal-like symptoms. Afterwards, your diet and exercise will return to normal levels.

References

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.

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