There are so many whey protein benefits! Whether you are a competitive body builder or a mother of three, looking to get back in shape or just want to live a long healthy life, whey protein is what you need to support your body in reaching it’s maximum potential.
And if you want to burn fat, build lean muscle, boost your immune system and prevent disease, then look no further.
Whey protein has been proven in medical studies to improve weight loss, increasing energy and even naturally boost your bodies most powerful anti-oxidant glutathione.
Whey provides a more absorbable source of protein than any other type of food or supplement and is easy to digest for most men, women and children. Which is why whey is the most popular protein supplement today, and for good reason.
According to a recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, whey protein is an ideal supplement to build muscle and increase metabolism.
Whey Protein 101
Whey is one of two types of proteins found in milk: whey and casein proteins. Whey proteins are the globular proteins derived as a by-product of cheese production.
The term “whey” refers to a complex substance made up of a combination of protein, lactose, minerals, immunoglobulins, and trace amounts of fat. It is primarily the protein (and some of whey’s highly bioactive peptides such as lactoferrin and lactoperoxidase) that make it a superfood for fat loss.
This whey protein is dried and sold in powder form and is easily reconstituted by adding liquid. Whey is also found in common food products like milk, yogurt, cheese and meal replacements. There are three types of whey protein sold today:
Whey Protein Concentrate – This form of whey contains low levels of fat and cholesterol and higher levels of bioactive compounds in the form of lactose. This is the best and least processed form.
Whey Isolates – In isolates, the fat has been removed, and they are lower in bio-activated compounds with a mild to milky taste. But the proteins can often be denatured.
Whey Hydro-isolates – The cost is typically higher for this type of whey, and they are less allergenic than the other two forms. This is by far the most processed of the types, and the protein in it has been denatured. I do not recommend this form of whey.
7 Best Whey Protein Benefits
Whey Protein truly has many health benefits. Here are the 7 Best reasons to add whey protein to your diet or fitness regimen:
1. Increases Strength and Builds Muscle
A recent 10-week study showed that whey protein boosts both muscle mass and strength. The researchers split 19 men into two groups and gave whey protein, casein and amino acids, then gave the other group a placebo. The men who took the whey protein combination gained body mass, muscle mass and body strength. They also found that it increased protein synthesis and improved muscle performance!
Studies carried out by Laurentian University Ontario concluded that “protein supplementation during resistance training, independent of source, increased lean tissue mass and strength over placebo and resistance training”. Whey protein is the most efficient way to add protein to the diet without extra calories from carbohydrates or fat.
Whey protein typically contains 80-90% protein which is higher than compared to lean red meat, chicken, fish, eggs or cheese. It provides the body with what it needs to build muscle, strength and to recover quickly after a workout.
2. Reduces Cravings
Ghrelin and Leptin are the two hormones that help to regulate appetite. Leptin primarily effects energy balance, while gherlin regulates hunger, but the two work together to tell your body when it needs to eat. Whey protein seems to affect these two hormones and causes them to balance out and decreases hunger cravings.
In double-blind study in Australia, it was discovered that the subjects had less gherlin in their system after taking whey protein than when drinking the glucose, fructose and combination drinks that were used. Also whey protein really works to diminish cravings without spiking blood sugar.
3. Burns Fat – Lose Weight!
Whey protein burns fat! In a Paris study, French scientists studied animals that exercised for two hours daily for more than five weeks. One group of the animals exercised in the fasting state while the others had sugar, whole milk, or whey protein.
The group that fasted lost muscle during their workout. The group that consumed sugar burned sugar for their workouts but very little fat. The group that consumed whole milk did see improvements in muscle mass but also gained some body fat.
But the group that supplemented with whey protein saw both a decrease in body fat and an increase in muscle!
The researchers concluded that whey’s ability to rapidly deliver amino acids during exercise explain its superiority to other foods consumed post workout.
4. Improves Blood Sugar & Improves Energy
Whey stabilizes blood sugar when taken with a high glycemic index meal. It stimulates the production of insulin, and prevent dramatic spikes in blood sugar levels. Whey protein also increases glycogen which is the source of energy during exercising or heavy activity.
Plus whey protein enhances the effect of leptin, the hormone affecting energy balance). The protein of whey is easily digested and accessed by the body to convert into energy.
5. Boosts Glutathione
Whey protein helps increase the production of glutathione which is the “master antioxidant.” It is a found in every cell in your body and helps eliminate free radicals, which are the reactive oxidants that cause cell damage.
These particles usually occur naturally during the metabolism of energy in the mitochondrial process. However, when the body is taxed from toxic exposure, heavy metals, or disease, then the level of free radicals increases.
Taking whey protein helps to fight free radicals and disease. Glutathione has been studied to prevent cancer and fight aging diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
6. Extends Lifespan
Whey protein has been found to actually increase life span. In a recent study where they supplemented middle aged mice with whey protein it increased the average lifespan by 12%.
That is like adding 10 years to your life! Whey reduces muscle wasting (associated with aging), and increases nutrient absorption without increasing hunger. As we age we lose bones mass, cell function and our quality of digestion decreases.
Whey protein has been shown to reduce the loss in all of these areas, making it one powerful superfood!
7. Boosts Immunity
Whey protein boosts your immune system! Glutathione also boosts the effectiveness of all the other antioxidants like Vitamin C, Coenzyme Q10, ALA and Vitamin E.
It helps heal the effect of environmental and dietary toxins. Due to the high levels of glutathione, whey protein is an ideal choice to fight illness and disease on a cellular level!
Whey Protein Side Effects
Despite all the whey protein benefits, there are those that may deal with a dairy allergy, that may prevent them from using this as a supplement.
But take heart, there are other good sources of protein available such as vegetable protein powders or sprouted brown rice protein. And of course, your best source is always consuming high protein foods.
Best Whey Protein Supplements
Whey protein has so many amazing qualities! It can build bones, muscle, balance blood sugar and extend your life! However, the type of whey protein you choose is critical to getting the benefits that I have discussed above.
As I mentioned earlier, certain isolates denature the proteins and make the supplement ineffective. The best source of whey is an organic whey concentrate that comes from grass-fed cows. This type of whey will give you the largest amounts of compounds like immunoglobulins and minerals that can support your body.
Also, I don’t recommend buying cheaper whey protein isolates with added artificial sweeteners because they are hard on the digestive system and can be neurotoxic.
I add 1-2 scoops or 20-35 grams of whey protein to my breakfast superfood shake and to my post workout shake or smoothie. High quality whey protein supplement is the absolute best bang for your buck out there and the best investment you can make in your health to support fat loss and muscle building efforts.
The protein powder I personally take can be found in Healing Whey Protein. And here are some of my workout whey protein smoothie recipes. Let me know which is your favorite!