What is Whey Protein?
Commonly used as a protein and fitness supplement, whey is one of the two proteins milk is made up of. It separates itself from the other protein, casein, in the process of making cheese. Whey helps improve the immune system and enhances the growth of lean muscle mass by enriching the nutrient content of the diet. It’s commonly used by athletes to increase strength.
Many other benefits come with consuming whey protein. Let’s look at some of the facts about whey protein, understand the benefits, and the potential risks it comes with.
Facts on whey protein:
1) Whey protein is a mixture of beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin, bovine serum albumin, and immunoglobulins.
2) Although whey protein is considered to have many benefits like boosting metabolism, increasing strength, reducing appetite etc, there’s not enough research or data to back these claims yet.
3) Whey protein causes digestive issues and uncomfortable symptoms in people with lactose intolerance.
Benefits: Some of the various benefits consumption of whey include:
Weight loss: Studies have proved that taking whey helps lose body fat and increase lean muscle.
Anti-cancer properties: It is also known to have anti-cancer proteins making it suitable for treating cancer. More research is going on in this area.
Lowering cholesterol: A study published in The British Journal of Nutrition found that people who consumed whey for a certain period saw their total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels reduce significantly.
Other benefits of whey include a better immune response in children suffering from asthma, lower blood pressure in people with hypertension thus lower risk of heart disease and control of weight loss in HIV patients.
Possible Side Effects
While the right amount of whey protein can prove to be beneficial, it has several harmful effects when consumed at high doses and causes allergies in people who are lactose intolerant.
It is always best to consume a well-balanced food while consuming whey & seek professional fitness trainer advice to assess the right amount of whey intake for you.
Types of Whey Protein
There are three main types of whey protein:
- Whey protein concentrate – contains low levels of fat and carbohydrates. WPC contains low levels of fat and low levels of carbohydrates. Its protein content depends on how concentrated it is.
- Whey protein isolate – WPIs are processed proteins, free from fat and lactose. It usually contains 90% protein.
- Whey protein hydrolysate – This form of whey protein has already undergone partial hydrolysis, a process needed for the body to absorb it. WPH can be easily digested by the body as compared to the other two types. It is even used in medical protein supplements because of its easily digestible quality.
Whey protein is safe to consume and does not show harmful effects when consumed in the right dose, which is usually 1–2 scoops (25–50 grams) per day. If you eat enough protein already, taking more than this won’t offer additional benefits. Hence, it’s recommended that you follow the instructions provided in the package to avoid overdose.
Whey protein may also cause digestive symptoms in those with lactose intolerance, and those allergic to cow’s milk. Switch to whey protein isolate powder if you are experiencing uncomfortable symptoms like bloating, gas, cramps, or diarrhoea after taking whey protein.
Although it has several side effects, whey protein is among the best supplements available. This supplement has many positive effects on muscle building, recovery, and weight loss.
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