The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Protein

Not all protein is created equal. In fact, some forms of protein, such as whey, are better than others. Whey protein contains an incredible range of essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. Numerous evidence-based scientific studies show that whey protein can help you increase strength, gain muscle, and lose a significant amount of body fat.

Whey protein is more than just protein. It contains many other potent nutrients. Moreover, it’s one of the best-studied supplements worldwide.

What is Whey Protein?

Whey protein is a mixture of proteins isolated from whey, which is the liquid part of milk that separates during cheese production. Milk contains two main types of protein: casein and whey. 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 byproduct. Similarly, if you have ever opened a yogurt container and seen the liquid floating on the top–that is whey.

After being separated during the cheese production, whey goes through various processing steps to become what people generally recognize as whey. These steps turn liquid whey into a powder that can be added to shakes, bars, or meal replacements. Whey doesn’t taste very good on it’s own, which is why you can buy it in various flavors, such as vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry.

Consuming whey protein is a convenient way to add protein on top of your daily intake. This is especially important for bodybuilders and gym enthusiasts, as well as people who need to lose weight or simply track protein.

How Does Whey Protein Provide Me with a Boost?

Proteins are the cornerstones of the human body. They are used to construct various essential parts like tendons, organs, skin, hormones, enzymes, neurotransmitters, and various molecules. They’re assembled from amino acids that are linked together. Some amino acids are produced by your body’s cells, while others are supplied through your diet. The amino acids that you receive from your dietary intake are termed essential amino acids. Proteins that supply all nine essential amino acids are the best, and whey protein is packed with them.

The 3 Types of Whey Protein

There are several types of protein. The main difference is in the way they have been processed.

  • Concentrate:70-80% protein, contains lactose and fat, has the best flavor.
  • Isolate: 90% protein or higher, contains less lactose and fat lacks a lot of the beneficial nutrients found in concentrate.
  • Hydrolysate: also known as hydrolyzed whey, this type has been pre-digested so that it gets absorbed faster. It causes 28-43% greater spike in insulin levels than isolate.

Whey concentrate is the best overall option. It is the cheapest and retains most of the beneficial nutrients. Many people also prefer the taste.

Effects of Whey Supplementation on Muscle Mass & 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 ways by which whey protein promotes muscle mass/strength include:

  • Building Blocks: it provides protein and amino acids, which serve as building blocks for increased muscle growth.
  • Hormones: it increases the release of anabolic hormones that can stimulate muscle growth, such as insulin.
  • Leucine: it’s high in the amino acid leucine, which is known to stimulate muscle protein synthesis at the molecular and genetic level.
  • 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. Muscle protein synthesis is usually maximized in the time period after training. Keep in mind that unless your diet is already lacking in protein, supplementing with whey protein is unlikely to have a significant effect on your results.

How Whey Protein Promotes Weight Loss

It’s well known that protein can aid weight loss, as it’s by far the most satiating macronutrient. Protein can boost energy expenditure by 80-100 calories per day, and make people automatically eat up to 441 fewer calories per day.

Other Health Benefits of Whey Protein

Whey is more than a high-quality protein source, it also contains other beneficial nutrients. This includes lactoferrin, beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin and immunoglobulins. Besides muscle strength and leanness, whey protein may provide numerous other health benefits. This includes lowering blood pressure, blood sugar, and reducing symptoms of stress and depression. It also protects against cancer, increases bone mineral density, improves immune function, and can potentially increase lifespan.



Kris Gunnars

June 29, 2018

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