Whey Protein: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

The human body needs several kinds of vitamins, minerals, and proteins to function at its best. Among them, Whey Protein holds particular importance. Whey protein is a source of nutrition that’s easily absorbed and efficiently utilized by the human body. Consuming it helps you gain muscle mass and strength while losing fat.

What is Whey Protein?

Milk is made up of casein and whey protein. Casein makes up about 80% of the content and whey is responsible for the other 20%. Whey is the liquid part of milk that gets separated while making cheese. This liquid is then removed and processed before it gets to the shelves. You can easily find whey protein in the market available in the form of powders or bars. It doesn’t have much of a taste when consumed on its own and that’s why it is available in different flavours.

Types of Whey Protein

Whey protein primarily has three types:

  • Whey Protein Isolate (WPI)
  • This is a double-processed whey protein with minimal or no lactose and fat. In most cases, WPI contains 90% protein. Due to high amounts processing, it lacks some of the highly beneficial nutrients seen in concentrated whey protein.

  • Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC)
  • This variety is considered the most beneficial. It contains low levels of carbohydrates and fat but moderate levels of lactose and even has a flavour of its own.

  • Whey Protein Hydrolysate (WPH)
  • Essentially, this is a pre-digested version of whey protein. This kind of whey protein undergoes partial hydrolysis making it easier for the body to absorb and digest. It is commonly used in infant formulas and protein supplements.

    Whey Protein Benefits

    Consuming whey protein in moderate quantities has several benefits like:

  • Muscle Building
  • It is generally believed that consuming whey protein and engaging in resistance exercises can improve the growth of lean tissue mass. It also helps burn fat faster. The amino acids and proteins that whey contains, help with muscle growth. It is the most effective when consumed immediately before, during, or after a workout.

  • Lower Cholesterol
  • If consumed regularly, whey protein helps decrease the LDL cholesterol and the total cholesterol of the body. It works extremely well if combined with casein protein.

  • Weight Loss
  • Consuming whey protein can help you lose more body fat. It works to improve satiety, which makes people feel full quicker. This, in turn, helps them lose weight since they consume less food. Whey protein can also help HIV-positive patients reduce weight loss.

  • Other Benefits and Uses
  • Whey protein also helps reduce blood sugar, deal better with depression and stress, and works to protect against cancer. Other benefits include increase of bone mineral density, reduced symptoms of hepatitis, and increased immune function in HIV-positive individuals.

    Dosage and Whey Protein Side Effects

    The recommended dosage for whey protein is 15 to 30 grams per day. This is equivalent to 2.5 to 5 tablespoons. In most cases, it is advised to consume this protein right after a workout. Do note that this dosage is recommended for healthy adults. Consuming whey protein orally is considered the best way.

    Note: It is imperative that you speak to your doctor before trying any new supplements.

    Although whey protein has several benefits, it also has some side effects –

  • Nausea
  • Excessive consumption of whey protein could trigger diarrhoea. In some cases, blood may be spotted in the stool as well. This is more likely to be seen in infants and toddlers. One way to deal with this would be to reduce the quantity of intake.

  • Kidney Issues
  • Consuming large quantities of whey protein could lead to renal issues. There is also a risk of kidney stones forming. This is why whey protein should only be consumed with an expert’s approval and monitoring.

  • Fatigue
  • Fatigue is an indirect side effect of consuming whey protein. It could also lead to gas, cramps, and bloating. This occurs because some people cannot break the proteins down effectively. It could also reduce appetite, which could lead to fatigue and weakness, especially if your diet is not wholesome.

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