Whey protein is arguably the most popular muscle building supplement for fitness enthusiasts. In this article we give you the basics about the why, how and how much of whey protein
What is Whey Protein and What are its Different Kinds?
Whey protein is one among the two major protein found in milk, the other being casein. It is said to be the highest quality of protein ever and is produced as a by-product of cheese production. It has rich amounts of the branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). Though protein can be found in food like lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs, cheese, etc., whey protein is not naturally available in food form. Whey protein usually comes in two forms- whey protein concentrate (with around 75% pure protein content) and whey protein isolate (with around 90% pure protein content). It is also available as whey protein blend which is basically a combination of whey protein concentrate and isolate.
How does Whey Protein Help
Whey protein is an extremely superior form of protein that helps by supplying a rich source of amino acids towards muscle mass building, enhancing strength and aiding recovery. It is a fast digesting and acting supplement that is able to supply the body with instant energy. This is because of its extremely high bioavailability index of around 170 compared to egg at 100 and beef at 75. Its benefits can be listed as:
- Helps build lean muscle mass
- Brings down muscle recovery time and aids in muscle repair
- Increases metabolic rate
- Acts as antioxidant to boost the immune system
- It also helps in fat loss programmes
Who should take Whey Protein Supplements
While anyone can benefit from the intake of whey protein it is more of the active individuals who can get best results out of it. This includes strength trainers, bodybuilders, athletes, sportsmen, people undergoing weight loss programmes, etc. Additionally new research indicates that whey protein is beneficial in wound healing, treating the elderly and infirm, cancer treatment, enhancing infant health, etc.
Does Whey Protein Have any Adverse Side Effects?
So far there has been little to suggest that whey protein has adverse side effects. If you are allergic to dairy products, then it is not a good idea to take whey protein since it may cause allergic reactions. If you need to use whey protein and are allergic to dairy products, it is important that you consult your physician. Also there is a lot of speculation regarding whey protein harming the kidneys, but many studies have shown that it has no harmful effect on a person with a healthy and well functioning renal system. It is advisable though to talk to a physician if you have a diseased kidney.
How to Choose the Right Whey Protein Supplement
Whey Protein supplements are available in three forms, as stated earlier:
- Whey protein concentrate – protein content 75% with some fat and lactose
- Whey protein isolate – protein content 90% and the purest form
- Whey protein blend – a mixture of concentrate and isolate
To understand which will be right for you, you need to understand what your goals are. If your sole goal is to increase muscle mass while minimising weight gain, isolate is the thing for you since it is almost zero on carbs, fats and lactose. If it doesn’t matter to you whether you gain a bit of weight while building muscles, then whey protein concentrate can work for you. It is to be remembered here that isolates are higher priced than concentrates since they are purer in protein content, so the price can also be a factor in choosing. If a balance between the two is what you need then blends are your thing.
What doses of Whey Protein Should You take and When
The amount of whey protein doses depends on your body weight, the kind of training you are into and also the specific needs of goals you have. Your instructor will be the best person to advise you on this after assessing your body type, goals and training schedule. However, usually people who are active trainers take around 1 to 2 grams of whey protein per pound of their body weight. The time for taking it also varies from person to person and according to their training schedules. Usually whey protein is best had thrice a day- once right in the morning, then once before your workout session and once after it. It is also possible to mix whey protein with other supplements like casein and have it at other times like in between meals.