If you’re wondering is whey protein powder good for you, you’ll be happy to learn that it is one of the most studied supplements in the world. And that’s for all the right reasons. It has a very high nutritional value and various scientific studies have proven its many health benefits. However, not all protein is created equal. Whey protein is arguably the best type, due to the fact that it contains a large range of essential amino acids that can be absorbed quickly. It’s basically a mixture of proteins isolated from whey – the liquid part of milk that separates during the cheese production process.
Milk contains two types of protein – casein for the most part (80%), and whey (20%). Whey is in the watery portion of milk. When cheese is produced, the fatty parts of the milk solidify and whey is separated from it. So to answer the question – yes, whey protein powder is good for you, especially if you’re looking to build muscle and need a high intake of it that you can’t get with your normal diet.
Are All Whey Proteins the Same?
No. There are two types of whey protein – isolate and concentrate. There are a couple of nutritional differences between them, caused by the processing method. When the liquid whey is gathered as a by-product of yogurt or cheese production, it goes through several processing steps to increase the amount of protein it contains. After the sufficient concentration is achieved, the liquid can be dried to form whey concentrate that consists of up to 80% protein, the rest being carbohydrates and fats. Isolate protein is made of different processes that reduce the fat and carbohydrate content, resulting in whey isolate powder that contains 90% or more protein. The amino acids in both types of whey are identical since they’re derived from the same proteins. Besides lower carbohydrate content, whey isolate also contains less lactose content, making it a better choice for lactose-intolerant people. But the amount of lactose present in both types of whey protein is probably low enough for even those who are lactose intolerant to use.
What Is Whey Protein Powder Used For?
Whey protein powder is used as a diet supplementation to help people reach their nutrition goals. Gym-goers who want to build muscle, especially, need high daily intakes of protein that are oftentimes impossible to reach without whey protein supplementation. This is because the proteins are the main building blocks in the body. They’re used to make a range of important things, such as hormones, enzymes, tendons, organs and skin, neurotransmitters and different molecules. They’re also the building block of the contractile elements in your muscles. They’re gathered from amino acids, which are smaller molecules linked together like beads on a string. Your body’s cells produce some amino acids, whereas others are supplied by your diet. The ones you get from your diet are named essential amino acids.
Benefits of Whey Protein Supplementation
Whey protein is an amazing source of high-quality protein. It contains all of the essential amino acids and is very digestible – meaning it’s absorbed from the gut quickly. All of these things make it the best dietary source of protein available. It promotes muscle growth, and if you didn’t know, muscle mass naturally declines with age, leading to fat gain and risk of many chronic diseases. This adverse change, however, can be slowed and prevented with a combination of adequate diet and strength training. As aforementioned, whey is rich in branched-chain amino acids, one of which is leucine. Leucine promotes the most muscle growth out of all amino acids.
Furthermore, it can lower blood pressure. high blood pressure, known as hypertension, is one of the biggest factors for heart disease. Consuming dairy products has shown to lower blood pressure. This is due to the bioactive peptides contained in dairy, known as ACE-inhibitors. The ACE-inhibitors in whey proteins are known as lactokinins, which have also shown benefits in reducing blood pressure. However, your blood pressure will be reduced only if you have elevated blood pressure in the first place.
It can also help treat type 2 diabetes, which is a chronic diseased characterised by impaired function of insulin and high blood sugar. Insulin is responsible for stimulating the uptake of blood sugar into the cells, keeping it within healthy limits. Whey protein has shown to be effective at moderating blood sugar, increasing the levels of insulin in the body, and the sensitivity to its effects. When compared to other protein sources, like fish or egg white, whey seems to be better at doing so.
And, whey protein can help reduce inflammation, which is part of the body’s natural response to damage. While short-term inflammation is sometimes beneficial, it can become chronic under specific circumstances. And chronic inflammation can be a risk factor for many different diseases. Studies show that whey protein significantly reduces C-reactive protein, a key marker of inflammation.