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What Is Whey Protein Powder? – Good or Bad?

Whey Protein Powder, one of the most popular protein supplements on the market. Many people take it, without knowing the reactions or results that come with the desired supplement. In this article, we will simplify and answer “What Is Whey Protein Powder?” Here is a beginner break down of the capabilities of whey protein powder, but first off…

What is “Whey” Protein?

Whey, as labeled on many protein supplements, is derived from milk. Your milk is made up of two proteins, casein, and whey, both which can be extracted, during cheese production to be exact, and formulated into their own consumable beneficial products. [Milk is 80% casein and 20% whey (liquid)

Since whey contains all 9 essentials amino acids, it is considered a complete protein. Not only does it contain protein, but it contains other powerful nutrients as well. After extraction from cheese production, and following several other processing steps, it is turned into the whey protein we all know and come to love, used to make protein powders, bars, shakes, etc.

However, taking whey protein comes with a handful of great benefits but also a handful of risks. We will discuss both and give you, the reader, our opinion on the matter.

But even before that, we must discuss the different types of whey…

The Three Wise Whey

In the protein supplement world, there are 3 types of whey protein. We will be looking at them individually to see what they got in store…

Whey Protein Isolate (WPI)

As on the most processed whey proteins, WPI contains the highest amount of protein, ranging at around 90% or higher. The lactose and fat of whey are extracted along with the potential benefits of the nutrients. Not to mention, the flavor is not very tasty, therefore flavors give to the whey which may spark sugar levels.

Ex: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein

Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC)

Only containing 70%-80% protein, WPC does not contain as much protein as WPI. In exchange, however, WPC does contain more lactose and fat, producing benefits from the nutrients and a much better flavor.

Whey Protein Hydrolysate (WPH)

This whey protein has gone through hydrolysis, making it be considered is predigested, meant for faster absorption. WPH is commonly found in medical protein supplement

ts and infant formulas due to its greater ability of digestibility.

The Good Stuff

To begin, there are several ways in which whey protein powder can benefit your body. Here is a list of the main benefits and a couple of bonuses…

1. Muscle Mass / Strength

The main boost, the obvious one, is on muscle growth. Combining a solid whey protein powder along with a just as solid work out plan, focusing on resistance training, is a recipe for building muscle. Most popular among athletes, bodybuilders, and even fitness models, whey protein contains properties that promote muscle building, these include…

a. Leucine

An amino acid that stimulates muscle protein synthesis.

b. Creates/Aids Building Blocks

Since proteins are the building blocks of the body, and whey protein powder is packed with protein, they go hand in hand to create muscle.

c. Quick Absorption

Unlike other proteins, like casein, whey is absorbed for protein synthesis much faster. That is why in order to maximize your workouts, you should consume whey protein powder right after your workout.

However, if your goal with whey protein powder is not only to put on some size, but also to shed some fat, we got you covered too…

2. Weight Loss

Not known by many, whey protein powder can spark weight loss in your body. There are two ways whey enables weight loss, boosting metabolism and satiate hunger. The protein you consume can enhance energy expenditure by up to 100 calories per day, along with daily exercise, calories will burn like wildfire.

Also, whey protein powder can cut cravings up to 60%.

However, when people want to lose “weight”, they most certainly mean lose “fat”. Whey protein not only melts fat but helps you keep and build lean muscle mass instead of losing it.

3. Other Benefits

Muscle building and weight loss are the main benefits of consuming whey protein. However, there are lesser-known effects that the protein could have on your body due to the high amount of cystine, an amino acid that is important for protein synthesis, detoxification, and diverse metabolic functions. The health effects include…

  • Reducing symptoms of stress/depression
  • Lowering Blood Pressure
  • Reduces symptoms of hepatitis
  • Protects against cancer
  • Improve the immune response in children with asthma
  • Improves immune function in HIV patients

The benefits of whey protein powder are obviously in abundance, it seems like the protein should be consumed by every person on the planet. However, we will now move on to the riskier side of taking whey protein powder…

What’s The Catch?

Like many things that seem too good to be true, there is a catch when consuming whey protein powder. This catch, however, depends on the person, it may seem very inconvenient for some but very minimal for many…

Kidney Damage

It is proven that foods high in protein can and may accelerate damage to people who have kidney disease. I repeat; WITH A KIDNEY DISEASE. It is advisable to stay from whey if there is an issue with your kidney, however, for the healthy liver, it should have no effect all.

Acne

There is a connection with breakouts on the skin when consistently consuming high dosages of whey protein. Studies have shown that when on a high protein diet, acne increased when adding whey, but soon cleared up after cutting the protein. While the reason for this may be unknown, it is suggested that since whey is technically a dairy product, comes from milk, it has a correlation with acne. So if you wonder where your new developed acne may be coming from try cutting whey and see if it may be the culprit.

Allergies

Since some people are allergic to milk, they may be also allergic to whey. If unsure of having allergies to whey, symptoms include…

  • Bloating
  • Pain
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea

High Dosages

These side effects are avoidable, as these symptoms arise if whey protein is taken in high dosages. Some of these symptoms may include…

  • Stomach pains
  • Cramps
  • Reduced Appetite
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Fatigue

There is a handful of risks that may emerge when taking whey protein powder. As mentioned before, many individuals should not have a problem consuming the protein as they don’t fall into any of the categories of risks or end up not experiencing any such side effects. As for the others, they may want to keep a keen eye overall on the supplement.

What It All Boils Down To

After discussing the pros and cons, along with the varying types, of whey protein, does the good outweigh the bad. That is up to you decide. Every person is different, including their needs and conditions for supplementation such as whey. Feel free to leave a comment down below on your opinion about the matter, or any burning question you might have on whey protein powder.

3 Comments

    • Jose Gallegos

      Hey Ben, glad you found a shake that you like! Some whey protein powders can have odd textures, it’s all about experimenting until you find one you love. It took me a while until I found one I really enjoy!

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