As you probably know, protein is an essential nutrient for building muscle; but what about whey protein? Are you familiar with what whey is and what it does? Whey protein is extracted from milk and is usually consumed in powder form. It possesses many beneficial properties.
Whey protein is considered a complete protein since it includes the nine essential amino acids that the human body isn't able to produce by itself. Protein is critical for muscle growth and is especially important for athletes. It also offers many other nutritional advantages that you should be aware of.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Summary
- 3 The Best Whey Protein: Our Picks
- 4 Shopping Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Whey Protein
- 4.1 What exactly is whey protein?
- 4.2 What is tryptophan?
- 4.3 What makes whey protein so healthy?
- 4.4 Why is whey protein so important for athletes?
- 4.5 What is the biological value of whey protein?
- 4.6 Can whey protein affect asthma symptoms?
- 4.7 Are whey protein supplements beneficial?
- 4.8 When should I take whey protein?
- 4.9 How much whey should I take?
- 4.10 Is whey protein suitable for vegans and people with lactose intolerance?
- 4.11 Does whey protein interact with other medications?
- 4.12 What are the signs of a whey protein overdose?
- 4.13 What is the correct dose of whey protein?
- 5 Which types of whey protein are available, and which one is best for me?
- 6 Shopping Criteria
- 7 Summary
- Whey protein is understood to be the highest quality protein because it includes the highest number of essential amino acids.
- The benefits of whey protein are particularly attractive to athletes because they facilitate muscle growth.
- The primary component of this protein is whey, which is a byproduct produced during the manufacture of cheese.
- There are basically three kinds of whey protein: protein concentrate, whey protein hydrolysate and whey protein isolate. Each one provides different pros and cons, as you'll see below.
The Best Whey Protein: Our Picks
In this section, we'll show you the very best whey protein supplements available on the market. You'll find a range of great products for all kinds of people, including athletes, vegetarians and those with certain food intolerances.
Shopping Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Whey Protein
Before buying a whey protein supplement, there is a series of questions you may want to ask yourself, including for whom these food supplements are intended or why they're recommended for certain situations. In this section, we'll go through the most frequently asked questions from consumers like you.
What exactly is whey protein?
What is tryptophan?
What makes whey protein so healthy?
Whey protein's benefits are connected to a strong antioxidant known as glutathione. Those with HIV, diabetes, liver disease and various types of cancer can develop low levels of glutathione. Luckily, the body can create its own glutathione using the amino acid cysteine, which is found in whey protein.
Why is whey protein so important for athletes?
Whey protein makes muscle recovery after exercise faster and more effective.
Furthermore, it's very important to consume a high level of protein on a daily basis in order to boost or maintain muscle mass. For athletes, muscle mass is key to an energetic workout and for burning calories when in a passive state.
What is the biological value of whey protein?
The higher the biological value of a source of protein, the less your body needs so it can build muscle mass. In the below table, we've compared the biological value of whey protein to that of other protein-rich foods:
|Protein source||Biological value|
Can whey protein affect asthma symptoms?
Are whey protein supplements beneficial?
Were you aware that many studies say that whey supplements and protein in general can help you lose fat and feel full longer than any other macronutrient?
Whey protein supplements are more than just protein: whey includes a number of nutrients that offer incredible biological effects. It's no wonder that whey is one of the most researched supplements in the world.
When should I take whey protein?
Take a look at the table below to see when you should take whey protein:
|After training||Before training||Before sleeping|
|As was mentioned, it's positive because it promotes muscle repair. After taking the protein, it's recommended to eat at least every 2 hours for the next 6 hours.||Taking it just before a workout will have little effect. So take your protein shake at least one hour before you begin training, instead of waiting until the last moment.||When you sleep, your muscles continue to recover, so it's a good idea to maintain protein levels for as long as your body goes into mild starvation mode.|
How much whey should I take?
The safety of whey protein supplements varies according to the dose. Excess protein is stored in the body as fat and can increase the risk of dehydration. Additionally, there are a handful of adverse effects if you consume an excessive amount of whey protein:
- Kidney problems. Excessive intake of whey protein can result in kidney problems, especially if you already have kidney issues. Experts suggest limiting your whey protein intake and checking with your doctor before you begin supplementing.
- Liver problems. Too much whey protein can aggravate liver issues, so it's important to consume whey in moderation. In this case, it's also a good idea to consult with your doctor before taking whey protein, since it can interfere with the impact of medications you may be taking for your liver condition.
- Increased blood acidity. Another side effect of taking whey protein is an increase in blood pH. When there is an excess of protein in the blood, the kidney has difficulty metabolising it. The result is an increase in blood acidity.
Is whey protein suitable for vegans and people with lactose intolerance?
Those with lactose intolerance should also be cautious. The protein isolate is 90% protein and contains little or no fat, cholesterol or lactose, but the concentrate increases them. Additionally, protein supplements can result in kidney tension.
Nonetheless, there are special whey protein supplements without lactose. As part of the product preparation, the lactose is taken out so that it can be consumed by those who are lactose intolerant.
Does whey protein interact with other medications?
- It may limit the effectiveness of levodopa, a medication used for Parkinson's disease. Do not use whey protein and levodopa at the same time.
- It may lower the amount of alendronate absorbed by the body. Alendronate is a medication used for osteoporosis. Don't use whey protein until at least two hours after taking the medication.
- It may limit the absorption of some antibiotics. It is advised that you take antibiotics one hour after consuming whey protein.
What are the signs of a whey protein overdose?
What is the correct dose of whey protein?
- To determine the appropriate dosage of whey protein per day and meal, the total amount of protein should be considered. Take into account that between 1 and 2 grams of protein per pound is ideal, and adjust accordingly.
- On average, and depending on an individual's sex and weight, the total amount of protein needed per day is around 100 grams, making it hard to meet the requirements without adding the powder. Because the body excretes proteins that are not needed at the same time, overdose with the powder is prevented.
Which types of whey protein are available, and which one is best for me?
Generally, there are three kinds of whey protein: whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate and whey protein hydrolysate. The concentration of whey protein and its benefits vary in each, as you'll see below:
Whey Protein Concentrate
Whey Protein Isolate
Whey Protein Hydrolysate
In this section, we'll go through the different whey protein products to figure out which criteria you should consider when buying a supplement. Using these specific factors, you can easily choose which product is best for you.
A useful formula is to calculate the price of a gram of powder and compare that to the daily dosage suggested by the manufacturer.
BCAA (Branched-Chain Amino Acids)
Branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs, are three essential amino acids that share one very important characteristic: they can be used directly by muscle tissue. Because of this, muscle growth results and muscle regeneration is accelerated.
Please be aware that whey protein contains at least 7 of the 8 essential amino acids that our body requires but can't create by itself.
Here are the levels at which amino acids should be found:
- Isoleucine: 6.2 g - 9.5 g
- Leucine: 4.3 g - 9.9 g
- Lysine: 4.3 g - 9.9 g
- Valine: 6.1 g - 9.3 g
- Phenylalanine: 1.0 g - 3.6 g
- Threonine: 3.3 g - 6.9 g
- Methionine: 0.8 g - 2.4 g
- Tryptophan: 0.4 g - 2.1 g
Common allergens include eggs, soybeans, milk, fish, gluten, shellfish and some types of nuts (like peanuts, cashews, hazelnuts, almonds, etc.). If you're allergic to any of these things, a good option to look for is Xcore Xtreme 100% Whey Protein.
Pure hydrolysate offers 95% protein. When purchasing a powdered mixture, keep in mind that the amount of amino acids can be lower, so make sure that it's at least 75% protein.
If this isn't the case, the hydrolysate may not be pure or its amount is very low. The price of whey protein is sometimes high merely due to the brand name and not the nutrients it contains.
Taste is certainly important, but the challenge is that you need to buy a brand in order to try the taste. So taste is more of a factor when you decide to get the same product for a second time.
As you've learned, there are a number of different whey protein options, so you'll want to get the one that's right for you and your body. Whey protein offers many benefits, especially for athletes, but moderate intake is key.
Don't let elegant labels persuade you. Be sure to read the package instructions carefully before choosing which brand to purchase. Marketing sells, but it definitely doesn't make a great product on its own.
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