Before we get to what Whey Protein Powder is, let’s first understand where it comes from. “SAY CHEESE”; it comes from the same place where cottage cheese a.k.a. paneer comes from. Whey is a byproduct of the process of making cheese. It is the liquid, water-like serum that is left behind during the process of curdling milk to make cheese.
The Whey is then filtered, refined, and spray-dried into Whey Protein Powder. So, what is the buzz around Whey Protein Powder? Why does everyone, looking at ways to get a more athletic body, obsess over Whey?
What is whey protein powder?
Whey is a complete Protein whose biologically active components provide additional benefits to enhance human function. It contains an ample supply of cysteine, glycine, and glutamine amino acids. They appear to enhance glutathione levels, which have been shown to have strong antioxidant properties that can assist the body in combating various diseases. It also contains a high concentration of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) that are important for their role in the maintenance of tissue and prevention of catabolic actions during exercise.
As per certain scientific studies, taking Whey Protein appears to improve running speed and recovery from exercise in untrained adults. Whey Protein seems to work as well as soy, or chicken Protein for increasing muscle strength.
Types of Whey Protein Powder
Now, what are the different types of Whey Protein Powder? There are three primary types of Whey Protein; Whey Protein concentrate (WPC), Whey Protein isolate (WPI), and Whey Protein hydrolysate (WPH).
1. What is crude Whey?
Whey Protein Concentrate or Crude Whey is the most important weapon in your muscle-building arsenal. It contains roughly 70%–80% Protein. It’s the most common type of Whey Protein and has more lactose, fat, and minerals than milk. Though with technological advancements and scientific research, manufacturers have been able to reduce the lactose content to negligible. It promotes muscle growth, counteracts muscle breakdown, and supports your workout recovery.
2. What is Isolate Whey?
Whey isolate undergoes more processing as opposed to whey concentrate, which results in a higher Protein content with fewer carbs, and fat, and these days Isolates are absolutely lactose-free. Protein percentage in Isolate varies from somewhere around 80%-90% and hence is tougher than Whey Concentrate to digest. It is blended with DigeZyme (digestive enzyme) for easier digestion. DigeZyme is a combination of enzymes that help break down protein such that it can be absorbed into our body and in turn make our muscles stronger.
3. What is hydro Whey?
Whey Protein Hydrolysate on the other hand is like the hot, young cousin of Whey Protein. It comes from the same gene pool, containing the same amino acid and micro fraction content, but the hydrolyzed version is smaller and faster. This form is pre-digested, allowing your body to absorb it faster. How it’s made: Whey Protein is broken down into smaller Protein fragments through a process called “enzymatic hydrolysis.” Hydrolyzed Whey undergoes additional processing to break the Protein into smaller fragments that may be easier for people to digest it easily through a longer duration of time.
How can you benefit from Whey Protein Powder?
While most people consume Whey Protein to build lean muscle, improve exercise performance or reduce weight, there are many more benefits of whey Protein. These include:
1. Mentally – Increases mental energy and alertness; by giving the mind the fuel it needs to stay focused.
2. Internal – Supports muscle recovery, improves gut health, and increases muscle recovery.
3. Physical – Help in muscle gain and a reduction in weight by reducing cravings and boosting energy expenditure.
4. Nutritional – Increases the absorption of other foods and proteins, thereby ensuring that the body actually gets all the nutrients from the food consumed.
What should you look for in your Whey Protein?
1. The Ideal BCAA ratio – BCAA or branched-chain amino acids are the three protein building blocks essential for maintenance and growth. These include leucine, isoleucine, and valine. The ideal ratio of these three proteins is 2:1:1 i.e. two parts leucine to one part isoleucine to one part valine.
2. Choose options with no added sugars and minimal sweeteners – For the option that is the healthiest, go for unsweetened options or those with natural sweeteners.
3. Balance the carbs – Protein, when taken in conjunction with carbs, increases amino-acid absorption stimulating muscle growth. Depending on your goals, it is important to balance the consumption of protein and carbs to help you achieve optimum results.
How are these proteins absorbed by your body?
Each type of protein has a personal speed of assimilation based on its composition, like fat and sugar. To get an optimal recovery, you should know the correct protein to consume.
You can roughly estimate the absorption rate of powder by getting to know its nutritional values: the more lipids it contains, the longer it will take to digest. It then takes more time to get nutrients from it and to supply to your muscles.
A quick-absorbing whey protein should be consumed in the morning. Protein intake should be succeeded by the assimilation of those proteins. This needs to be as rapid as it possibly can.
Slow-absorbing protein should be consumed just before bedtime to slow down muscle catabolism. Casein is the best protein for this process. Its assimilation takes roughly 7 hours.
So when it comes to absorption, simple Whey Concentrate moves ahead rather than hydrolyzed, casein, and isolated.
How to use whey protein?
Whey protein supplements are best used to increase muscle mass and strength. It has major benefits for weight loss. Combine a resistance workout with this supplement and you have the perfect duo to assist you with healthy weight loss. This also helps you hold on to the muscle you build.
Since whey is digested quickly as compared to other proteins like casein, it’s a great source of protein. It is absorbed at a rate of 8 grams to 10 grams per hour, which is higher as compared to casein.
Mix the whey protein drink with the fruit of your choice. Choose foods that are high in antioxidants as they complement whey protein.
Your whey protein is better absorbed by the body when you take it with certain digestive enzymes at the same time. This boosts the amino acid levels in your blood. You have more of it for your muscles and other tissues. Proteolytic enzymes like Aspergillus niger and Aspergillus Oryzae are simple digestive enzymes that help digest protein.
Another thing you can do is split the intake of your protein shakes into regular small intervals. This gives a continuous supply and helps absorb it better.
When can you take it?
Make a high-powered breakfast by blending in a scoop of whey protein with some eggs and bananas to make amazing pancakes. Take this first thing in the morning.
You can get a whey protein drink an hour before your sessions as it gets digested easily. Within an hour of working out, take the whey because that’s when your muscles would use it the most. It initiates the recovery process by transporting amino acids quickly into your muscle cells.
You can also drink the shake as a snack in between your meals, it’s that wonderful!
Whey Protein Side Effects
If you rely only on whey protein, taking too much of it in one serving can potentially cause digestive issues, like an upset stomach or cramping. Some people might be allergic to a certain type and should avoid it and switch types.
Having a balanced diet should always be your top priority for all kinds of nutrient requirements. Supplements are a great way to enhance your performance, especially after periods of intense exercise.
Whey Protein Powders are a quick way to help ensure that your body is nourished and satisfied. People use them for a variety of reasons — to lose weight, to improve sports performance, build muscle mass, and for overall wellness. How do you know what type is best for your personal health goals? It’s important to know the difference between available Protein Powders as well as how they stack up against whole-food Protein sources.
Ans: Whey protein is a complete protein source with all the essential amino acids for building and repairing tissues. It mainly supports muscle recovery and growth after intense workouts or physical activity. Whey protein also helps promote satiety and can assist in weight management by reducing appetite and cravings. It also supports the immune system due to its immunoglobulins and lactoferrin content. Whey protein is a convenient and easily digestible source of protein. It makes it popular among athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and individuals seeking to meet their daily protein requirements.
Ans: Yes, whey protein is derived from milk. Casein and whey are two primary proteins that are derived from Milk.- During cheese-making, milk is separated into curds and liquid whey. The whey, which constitutes about 20% of the protein in milk, is then separated from the curds. This liquid whey is further processed and undergoes filtration to remove most of the lactose, fat, and other non-protein components. The outcome is a concentrated form of whey protein, which is then dried and powdered to create supplementation commonly available in the market. Therefore, it can be said that whey protein is indeed made from milk, specifically from the liquid whey protein obtained during cheese production.
Ans: The most appropriate time to take whey protein depends on individual preferences, goals, and lifestyle factors. Many people consume whey protein within an hour after a workout or physical activity. The post-workout period is often considered optimal for nutrient absorption and muscle utilization. However, whey protein can also be taken at other times to supplement daily protein intake. Some prefer taking it in the morning to kick start their day or as a snack between meals to curb hunger and support satiety. You can also consume it as part of a meal, such as mixed with a smoothie or incorporated into recipes.
Ans: Whey protein is vital due to its unique nutritional composition and beneficial properties. Firstly, whey protein is a complete protein source, having all the essential amino acids the body requires. These amino acids are crucial for various physiological processes, such as muscle growth, repair, and maintenance. Whey protein is also available in branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), including leucine. It is crucial in stimulating muscle protein synthesis. Whey protein is highly bioavailable, meaning the body quickly and efficiently absorbs it. Its rapid digestion and absorption rate make it an ideal protein source for promoting muscle recovery after workouts.
Ans: Whey protein supplements typically have low to negligible fat content. The manufacturing process involves isolating the protein from liquid whey through filtration and separation techniques. These processes aim to minimize the fat content. It results in a protein concentrate that contains protein with minimal amounts of fat. It is advised to check the nutrition label of individual whey protein products to determine their specific fat content. Nevertheless, whey protein is generally considered a low-fat protein supplement. It makes it an attractive option for those seeking a lean protein source.
Ans: Yes, you can sleep after drinking whey protein. Consuming whey protein before bed is unlikely to interfere with your ability to sleep. This protein is known for its fast digestion and absorption. It means it doesn’t stay in your stomach for an extended period. However, individual sensitivities may vary, and some people may have personal preferences about consuming any food or drink close to bedtime. If you find that consuming whey protein before bed affects your sleep quality, you may consider adjusting the timing or spacing out your protein intake throughout the day.
Ans: Whey protein is abundantly found in milk and dairy products. Some common food sources of whey protein include milk, cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese. These dairy products contain varying amounts of whey protein, with whey protein concentrate being more prevalent in cheese and yogurt. Also, many whey protein supplements are available for those seeking a concentrated protein source. These supplements often come in powdered form; you can mix them with milk or any of your favorite beverages.
DECKLINE LEITAO (CSCS, NASM-PES, CES, CPT)
Deckline Leitao, who holds a sports science degree from South Africa and a PG diploma from the UK, is one of India’s most qualified trainers.