Whey protein: benefits, types, how to use and side effects

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Whey protein doesn’t just help with muscle recovery after a training session. Here are all the health benefits of whey protein and how to include it in your diet.

If you have ever made paneer or cheese at home, you must know the liquid you get from it. You get two proteins from milk – casein and whey. You get whey protein after separating it from the casein in milk. In other terms, it is the by-product of cheese making that contains all 9 amino acids required by your body. It also has a low lactose content and contains several benefits that are good for your health. It is used as whey protein, a supplement that people use to increase muscle mass, lose weight, lower cholesterol levels, and more. Here are all the health benefits of whey protein, its side effects, and the types you should know about.

What is whey protein?

Whey protein is a mixture of proteins isolated from whey during the cheese manufacturing process from milk. It is the watery portion of the milk that separates as a by-product when the fatty part of the milk solidifies during cheese production. It is a complete protein because it contains all nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own. This type of protein is most commonly used by athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness enthusiasts because it is quickly absorbed by the body. Increases protein intake and supports muscle growth and recovery. It comes in several forms, including whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, and whey protein hydrolyzate, each with different levels of protein purity and processing.

Protein powder can help you lose weight. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock.

What are the types of whey protein?

There are many types of whey protein and the differentiating factor is the way they are processed. The most commonly used types of whey protein include:

  • Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC): It is a type of whey protein that contains different forms of protein (70-80 percent), low levels of fat and low levels of carbohydrates. It is believed to be one of the least processed, which makes it a more beneficial nutrient for the body.
  • Whey protein isolate (WPI): It is a processed form of whey protein that contains less fat and lactose and high protein content (90% or more). It’s the best option for people trying to minimize their carb and fat intake while maximizing their protein intake.
  • Whey protein hydrolyzate (WPH): Also known as hydrolyzed whey, this type of whey protein is pre-digested or partially broken down, making it easier to digest and utilize. But it can cause a spike in insulin levels, a study published in the journal Amino acids.

What are the benefits of whey protein?

Whey protein offers several health benefits, including:

1. May help with weight loss

Consuming protein is essential if you want to lose weight. It leaves you feeling fuller for longer, which helps you lose weight by reducing your appetite. A 2008 study published in Nutrition and Metabolism looked at 158 ​​people and found that people who consumed more whey protein lost significantly more body fat and had better preservation of lean muscle mass compared to participants who drank another drink.

Read too

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2. May Boost Immunity

Whey protein is a soluble dairy protein that contains immunoglobins, alpha-lactalbumin, beta-lactoglobulin, lactoferrin and other factors. All of this helps boost your immunity and prevent infections and illnesses. It also contains antioxidants, substances that help fight oxidation in the body and improve the body’s defense system.

3. May reduce the risk of age-related muscle loss

As we age, our bodies tend to lose some muscles and we become weak in terms of muscle strength. Whey protein helps in building and strengthening muscle. It also helps reduce age-related muscle loss and is easily absorbed by the body.

4. Good source of protein

If you’re looking for a way to meet your daily protein needs, whey protein can help you do that. It is a high quality protein that contains all the essential acids that are easily digestible. Whey protein is one of the best food sources of protein that you can include in your diet.

5. May Lower Blood Pressure

High blood pressure or hypertension occurs when the pressure in the blood vessels is too high. A study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming dairy products can reduce blood pressure levels. It contains bioactive peptides called lactokinins, which help keep blood pressure under control.

6. May Control Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease that affects the way the body produces and uses blood sugar levels. A study published in the journal Obesity found that including whey protein in your diet can help increase insulin levels and sensitivity.

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7. May Reduce Inflammation

Inflammation is your body’s response to damage. In some cases it can be good, but sometimes it can be chronic and cause problems. Chronic inflammation can lead to health problems and increase your chances of developing disease.

8. May be beneficial for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

IBD is a chronic inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract. It is a term used to describe Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. In a study published in Journal of Dairy ScienceWhey protein supplementation has been shown to have a beneficial effect on IBD.

9. May reduce cholesterol levels

Including whey protein in your diet can help you keep your cholesterol levels in check. A study published in British Journal of Nutrition found that giving whey protein supplements to overweight men and women can reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol levels.

10. Alleviates the risk of heart disease

High blood pressure and cholesterol increase your risk of developing heart disease, and keeping them under control can also reduce your risk. A study published in International Dairy Journal found that whey protein helps reduce blood pressure, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease or stroke.

How to use whey protein?

If you are a beginner, you should start with smaller portions to watch your portions. Here are some ways to add whey protein to your diet:

  • You can mix it with water or healthy milk like almond or soy to make it tastier and healthier.
  • Mix whey protein powder with oatmeal or yogurt to prepare an easy and quick breakfast rich in protein.
  • You can add whey protein powder to your smoothies for an extra boost of protein. Combine it with fruits, vegetables and other nutrients.
  • Whey protein shakes can be extremely satisfying and are a good meal alternative when you’re in a rush.
  • If you want to get creative, include whey protein powder in recipes like pancakes, protein-rich soups, or sauces. Read too: Whey protein: how to use this protein mix to increase muscle strength
protein powder
You can also include protein powder in your daily recipes. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock.

When is the best time to include whey protein?

Whey protein can be consumed as a pre- or post-workout supplement. You can take it in the morning with or with breakfast, or you can take it at night. The ideal is to take it at least 30 minutes before your pre-workout meals and 30 minutes if you are consuming it as a post-workout meal.

Health Shots Recommendations: 8 Best Beginner Whey Proteins for Muscle Building and Recovery

Are there side effects of whey protein?

Consuming too much protein can cause problems, so it is necessary to consume it in moderation. Here are some of the side effects of whey protein if you consume high doses of it:

  • cramps
  • reduced appetite
  • fatigue or lethargy
  • nausea
  • headache
  • stomachache
  • acne

Make sure to consume it in moderation and consult a doctor before including it in your diet.

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