Whey protein for beginners .

Not all protein is created equal.
Some forms of protein, such as whey, are better than others.
Whey protein contains an incredible range of essential amino acids, which are absorbed quickly (1).
Numerous studies show that it can help you increase strength, gain muscle and lose significant amounts of body fat (2).
However… whey is more than just protein. There are tons of other nutrients in there, some with potent biological effects.
Whey protein has also been shown to have benefits for depression, blood pressure, blood sugar and even helping to treat symptoms of HIV and cancer (3).
In fact, it is one of the best studied supplements in the world.
This is a detailed article about whey protein… what it is, how it works and how it can help you achieve your fitness and health goals.

What is Whey Protein?

Whey protein is a mixture of proteins isolated from whey. Whey is the liquid part of milk that separates during cheese production.
Milk actually contains two main types of protein… casein (80%) and whey (20%).
Whey is found in the watery portion of milk. When cheese is produced, the fatty parts of the milk coagulate and the whey is separated from it as a by-product .
If you’ve ever opened a yogurt container to see liquid floating on top, this is whey. Cheese makers used to discard it before they discovered its commercial value .
After being separated during cheese production, whey goes through a series of processing steps to become what people generally recognize as whey protein… a powder that is added to shakes, meal replacements and protein bars .
This is what whey protein powder typically looks like:

Whey protein doesn’t taste very good on its own, which is why it is usually flavoured. Chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavored powders are popular.
It’s important that you read the ingredients list, because some of them can have unhealthy additives like refined sugar.
Taking whey protein is a convenient way to add 25-50 grams of protein on top of your daily intake. This can be important for bodybuilders and gym enthusiasts, as well as people who need to lose weight or are simply lacking protein in their diet.
Most flavored whey proteins are also pretty delicious and can be used to make healthy recipes (like smoothies) taste incredibly good.
Whey is generally well tolerated, although people with lactose intolerance need to be careful with it. There are also some people who are allergic to whey .

Whey Protein Supplements Can Help Boost Your Protein and BCAA Intake
Proteins are the main building blocks of the human body.
They’re used to make various important things, both large and small.
This includes tendons, organs and skin… as well as hormones, enzymes, neurotransmitters and all sorts of tiny molecules.
Proteins are also the building blocks of the contractile elements in muscle.
Proteins are assembled from amino acids, smaller molecules that are linked together like beads on a string.
Some amino acids are produced by the body’s cells, while others must be gotten from foods. The ones that we must get from foods are termed “essential” amino acids.
Proteins that supply all the essential amino acids are the best… and whey protein is loaded with them.
It is particularly high in important Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) like Leucine, and also contains a large amount of Cysteine .
Studies show that Leucine is the most anabolic (growth promoting) amino acid, and Cysteine can help boost levels of the cellular antioxidant Glutathione .
Whey protein appears to be particularly effective at stimulating growth in humans. Human breast milk is actually 60% whey, compared to 20% in cow’s milk . 

Effects of Whey Supplementation on Muscle Mass and Strength

The best known use of whey protein supplements, is for the purpose of increasing muscle mass and strength.
Whey protein is popular among athletes, bodybuilders, fitness models, as well as people looking to improve their performance in the gym.
The main effects of whey on muscle/strength are:
  1. Building Blocks: It provides protein and amino acids, which serve as building blocks for increased muscle growth.
  2. Hormones: It increases release of anabolic hormones that can stimulate muscle growth, such as Insulin .
  3. Leucine: It is high in the amino acid Leucine, which is known to stimulate muscle protein synthesis at the molecular and genetic level .
  4. Fast Absorption: Whey protein is absorbed and utilized very quickly compared to other types of protein .
Whey protein has been shown to be particularly effective at increasing muscle growth when consumed right before, after or during a workout, but muscle protein synthesis is usually maximized in the time period after training .
However, a recent review of the evidence concluded that total daily protein intake is the most relevant factor in muscle growth. Whether protein is consumed around the workout or not doesn’t seem to matter much .
When compared to other types of protein, such as soy protein, whey protein has usually performed slightly better.
When compared to casein, the evidence is more mixed. Whey appears to be effective in the short-term, but casein stimulates muscle growth over a longer period, so the net effect appears to be similar .
However… keep in mind that unless your diet is already lacking in protein, supplementing with whey protein is unlikely to have a huge effect on your results.
In a study of elderly individuals who were already eating adequate protein, there was no difference in muscle growth between whey and carbohydrate, during 12 weeks of resistance training .
Therefore, the evidence of whey protein on muscle and strength is mixed, and the results may vary greatly between individuals.
If you’re already eating plenty of meat, fish, eggs and dairy (also high in quality protein), then the benefits of adding whey will probably be minimal.

Dosage and Side Effects

A commonly recommended dosage is 1-2 scoops (around 25-50 grams) per day, usually after workouts.
It is recommended that you follow the serving instructions on the packaging.
Keep in mind that if your protein intake is already high, adding whey protein on top of your current intake may be completely unnecessary.
Despite concerns about protein causing kidney damage and contributing to osteoporosis, this is not true.
In fact, protein has been shown to protect against osteoporosis, while having no impact on healthy kidneys .
However, people with current kidney or liver issues may want to avoid whey protein, or at least consult with a medical professional before taking it.
Eating too much whey protein can cause digestive issues such as nausea, flatulence, diarrhea, pain and cramping. Some people are also allergic to whey.
If you can’t tolerate regular whey protein concentrate, then isolate or hydrolysate may be more appropriate… or simply avoiding whey protein and eating other protein rich foods instead.
But generally speaking, whey protein has an excellent safety profile and most people can consume it without any problems whatsoever.

Take Home Message

At the end of the day, whey protein is an exceptionally healthy way to add more protein to your diet. It is a quality protein source that is absorbed and utilized efficiently by the human body.
This is particularly important for athletes, bodybuilders, or people who need to gain muscle mass and strength, while losing fat.
When it comes to muscle gain and fat loss, protein is the king of nutrients… and whey protein seems to be even better than other forms of quality protein.
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Write comments
Jayeed Baq
13 October 2016 at 13:58 delete

Wow! This article fully contains 100% true information that I have already faced in my real life. I totally agree with you that whey protein has been shown to be particularly effective at increasing muscle growth when consumed right before, after or during a workout, but muscle protein synthesis is usually maximized in the time period after training. I know it's very essential during our exercise period. Thanks for sharing this great informative article.
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12 June 2017 at 16:40 delete

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