Not all proteins are the same: some - like whey protein - are better than others.
Whey protein contains a large number of essential amino acids that are rapidly absorbed by the body. Numerous studies show that during their use, strength and muscle mass increase, excess fat is lost.
But whey proteins are more than just proteins. They have powerful biological effects. Whey protein has been proven to fight depression, lowering blood pressure and blood sugar.
Today it is one of the most studied supplements. In this article, you will learn all about whey protein: what it is, how it works, how to take whey protein and how it can help achieve your goals in sports and health.
What is whey protein?
Whey protein is a mixture of proteins isolated from whey. Whey is the liquid part of milk that is separated during the production of cheese. Milk contains two main types of protein - casein (80%) and whey protein (20%).
Whey protein is found in the watery portion of milk. During the production of cheese, the fatty part of the milk is curdled and whey is separated from it as a by-product. Have you ever opened yogurt and seen a liquid protruding from above? It was just whey. Previously, before its commercial value was discovered, cheese producers considered whey a waste.
After being separated from cheese, whey goes through a series of processing steps to become whey protein - a powder that is added to smoothies, food substitutes, and protein bars.
Here's what whey protein looks like:
Pure whey protein does not taste very good, so flavorings are usually added to it. Nowadays chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavors are very popular.
Important: read the composition, because some manufacturers add various additives to the powder, for example, sugar, which is not very useful.
Taking whey protein can increase your daily protein intake by 25-50 grams. It can be used by bodybuilders and those involved in gyms, as well as people who need to lose weight or who lack protein in their diets.
Most flavored mixes are quite tasty and can be used to make cocktails. Whey protein usually does not cause allergies, although people with lactose intolerance need to be careful.
Conclusions: Whey protein is a protein mixture that is a by-product of cheese production. It is usually sold as a flavored powder, which is added to shakes, food substitutes and protein bars.
Whey Protein Supplements Rich in Protein and BCAA
Proteins are the main “building blocks” of the human body. They consist of various tissues, organs and biologically active substances: tendons, organs, skin, hormones, enzymes, neurotransmitters, and much more. Proteins are also an integral part of the contractile elements of the muscles.
Proteins are made up of amino acids - smaller molecules that are linked together like beads on a string. Some amino acids are produced by cells, while others can only be ingested with food. Those that we should get from food are called indispensable. Serum is a very macronutrient-rich fluid, as it contains a high percentage of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), leucine and cysteine.
Studies show that leucine most strongly stimulates anabolism, cysteine increases the content of glutathione antioxidant, therefore whey protein is especially effective for muscle growth. Human breast milk is 60% whey protein (compared to 20% in cow's milk).
Conclusions: Serum is full of healthy proteins and essential amino acids, including leucine and cysteine.
Types of whey protein:
There are several popular types of whey protein. The main difference between them is the method of processing them.
- Concentrate : about 70-80% protein, has a good amino acid composition. Contains lactose (milk sugar) and fats, is quickly absorbed by the body. Not suitable for people with lactose intolerance.
- Isolate : 90% protein and above. It contains less lactose and fat, it does not have as many useful nutrients as whey protein concentrate.
- Hydrolyzate : also known as hydrolyzed whey protein. This is the most purified form of protein that is absorbed faster. It increases insulin levels 28-43% higher than the isolate.
Whey protein concentrate is considered the best option in terms of price-quality ratio. Such supplements are the cheapest, they retain most of the beneficial nutrients that are found in whey. Many also like the taste, which is probably associated with the presence of lactose and fat.
If you are intolerant of whey proteins, or if you want to increase the protein content in your diet when you are limiting carbohydrates and fats, then whey protein isolate (or even a hydrolyzate) may be the best option. Keep in mind that, despite the fact that the concentrate is the most popular form of whey protein, its effectiveness is investigated, as a rule, on isolate.
Conclusions: The main types of whey protein are concentrate, isolate and hydrolyzate. They can vary in protein content, taste, digestibility, and price.
The effect of whey protein on muscle mass and strength
Most often, whey protein is taken to build muscle and develop physical strength. This supplement is very popular among athletes, bodybuilders, fitness models, as well as those who regularly exercise in the gym.
Here's how serum affects muscle and muscle strength:
- Whey powder provides the body with proteins and amino acids that are needed for muscle growth.
- Whey protein enhances the release of anabolic hormones that stimulate muscle growth (e.g., insulin).
- Whey protein contains a lot of the amino acid leucine, which is known to stimulate muscle protein synthesis at the molecular and genetic levels.
- Whey protein is absorbed and absorbed by cells faster than other types of protein.
It is especially effective when consumed immediately before, after, or during training (protein synthesis, as a rule, is maximum after exercise). However, recent studies have concluded that the most significant factor for muscle growth is the total amount of protein consumed per day. So it doesn’t really matter if you eat protein during or out of training.
Whey protein is believed to be better than other types of protein (especially soy). Compared to casein, the advantage is not so obvious. Serum is effective in the short term, but casein stimulates muscle growth for a longer time, so the results are similar.
However, keep in mind that if there is not enough protein in your diet, whey protein supplements are unlikely to have a significant effect on the results. On the other hand, in one study in elderly people who consumed a sufficient amount of protein, there was no difference in muscle growth in the groups where they took only serum or only carbohydrates for 12 weeks in combination with regular physical activity.
Thus, the positive effect of whey protein on muscles and muscle strength is mixed, and the results in different people can vary significantly. If you eat a lot of meat, fish, eggs and dairy products (also rich in protein), then the effectiveness of whey is likely to be minimal.
Conclusions: There is much evidence that whey protein effectively increases muscle mass and strength, although according to some studies it has no beneficial properties.
Slimming Whey Protein
It is known that protein can help lose weight. It enhances metabolism by 80-100 calories per day, and this automatically leads to the fact that a person eats 300-400 calories less per day. In one study, it was proved that consuming protein in the amount of 25% of daily calorie intake reduces food cravings by 60%, and there is a desire to have a bite to eat at night twice less. Eating whey protein is a great way to increase your protein intake, which is very important for weight loss.
Studies have shown that replacing other calorie sources with whey protein in combination with physical activity can lead to weight loss of almost 4 kg, while muscle mass will increase. Therefore, if you are trying to lose weight, then whey protein supplements will help you lose weight and maintain muscle.
Conclusions: It has been proven that proteins reduce weight by increasing metabolism (calorie expenditure) and decreasing appetite (decreasing calorie intake). Whey protein can help increase fat loss while maintaining lean muscle mass.
Other beneficial properties of whey protein
Serum is not just a source of high quality protein, it also contains other beneficial nutrients, including lactoferrin, beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin and immunoglobulins.
Whey protein has positive health effects: it lowers blood pressure, blood sugar and reduces symptoms of stress and depression. In addition, it can protect against cancer, reduce hepatitis symptoms, increase bone mineral density, and improve immune function in HIV patients. In experiments, it was proved that whey protein increases the life expectancy of laboratory mice.
The beneficial effects of whey protein appear to depend on its high cysteine amino acid, which increases the level of glutathione, the main antioxidant in the body’s cells.
Conclusions: In addition to protein, whey has many other useful components. Large amounts of cysteine increase glutathione antioxidant levels.
Dosages and side effects
And so, how to take whey protein? The average dose is 1-2 tablespoons (about 25-50 grams) per day, usually after training. It is recommended that you follow the manufacturer's instructions on the packaging. Keep in mind that if you have a lot of protein in your diet, then taking extra protein is likely to be ineffective.
It is believed that protein causes damage to the kidneys and contributes to the development of osteoporosis, but this is not so. In fact, the protein protects against osteoporosis, while it has no effect on the health of the kidneys. However, people with diseased kidneys or liver should, if possible, avoid using it or consult a doctor before taking supplements.
Eating too much whey protein can cause digestive upsets: nausea, flatulence, diarrhea, pain and bowel cramps. Some people are allergic to serum. If your body does not tolerate regular protein concentrate, then an isolate or hydrolyzate should be used. Or just don’t eat whey protein and eat other protein-rich foods.
It should be noted that whey protein is a safe and healthy product, most people can consume it without any problems.
Whey protein is a source of high-quality protein that is rapidly absorbed and effectively used in the human body. It is especially important for athletes, bodybuilders and people who need to gain muscle mass and strength, while losing fat.
When it comes to building muscle and burning fat, protein is the best among other nutrients. And whey protein is much better than other types of protein.