We hear a lot about protein and its different types. Many people use it in their weight loss or muscle gain program, and depending on their needs and preferences, they can choose from whey, casein, pea, egg and many more. Whey is a powder commonly used in shakes, meal replacements, and protein bars.
How Is Whey Protein Made?
Whey protein powder is essentially a mixture of proteins extracted from whey, and whey is the liquid that gets separated from milk during cheese production. After it’s isolated, whey goes through a series of processing procedures and pasteurisation to become what we know as protein powder and eliminate pathogenic bacteria. More processing and filtering mean a purer protein as a result.
Whey protein is always flavoured because it doesn’t taste very nice. Powders with chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry flavours are popular. Examining the ingredients list is essential because certain powders may contain harmful additives such as refined sugar. Whey protein is a practical way to supplement your regular protein consumption. This is vital for bodybuilders and people going to the gym and people who need to shed weight or have a protein deficiency in their diet.
Whey Protein Types
Depending on how it’s filtrated and processed, there are three main categories of protein, concentrate, isolate and hydrolysed.
This type of whey protein is made through ion-exchange filtration. This way, it’s affordable, tasty and still keeps all of its essential amino acids. Concentrate is commonly used in foods such as snack bars. The amount of protein that concentrate has, ranges between 25-89%, but the most common ones are with 80% protein content, 5% lactose, and the rest are vitamins and minerals.
Isolate is considered to be better than concentrate. Most of its lactose and fat are removed, leaving only around 0.5-1% each. This percentage makes it the perfect option for people who are lactose intolerant. Isolate is popular among muscle-building enthusiasts because it contains 90-95% of protein. Because of the long and meticulous processing, it costs more than concentrate. But on the other hand, it loses some beneficial nutrients such as amino acids and immunoglobulins.
During the time of creating hydrolysed protein, the process transforms longer proteins into short ones to make them easier to digest. That’s why allergic reactions to this protein are almost non-existent. Experts can say that it contains 80-90% of protein for sure when it comes to its nutrition. The rest of its nutrients aren’t easy to establish in their amount. Manufacturers use this protein the most with infant products and supplements.
Benefits of Whey Protein Powder
Both animal and plant-based protein powders have a lot of benefits for your health. 20g of it contains 3.5g carbs, 75mg of sodium, 1g of fat, 13g of protein, plus vitamins and minerals, including 50mg of calcium.
Helps With Weight Loss
For many people, this is the main reason to use protein powder. Whey protein for weight loss promotes satiety because of the amino acids. It also boosts the energy we require to function properly and perform many tasks, including exercising, by 80-100 calories per day. This leads to eating 440 calories less in just one day.
One study showed that people who consumed 25% of the daily calories in protein cut their cravings by 60%, and also their desire to snack late at night decreased. When weight lifters combine weight loss protein with exercise, they lose 3.5kg but still increase their muscle mass, which is ultimately their goal.
Improves Muscle Mass and Strength
The most well-known application of whey protein supplements is to increase muscle mass and strength. Athletes, bodybuilders, fitness models, and those trying to improve their gym performance are all fans of whey protein. It works by:
- Building blocks for muscle growth;
- Increasing the release of anabolic hormones;
- Rich with leucine amino acid;
- It gets absorbed faster than any other protein.
When consumed shortly before, after, or during an exercise, whey protein proved to be particularly helpful at increasing muscle mass. But the optimal period is after training. For the protein to work as it should, don’t cut off natural protein from foods; otherwise, it won’t work as you need it to. Compared to casein and soy, whey protein for weight loss is more efficient in building muscle mass.
Amino acids play an important part in this section. Because of them and their nutrition values, the consumption of whey protein boosts our immune system. It reduces inflammation, which is excellent for athletes and gymnastics and beginners in HIIT training and weight lifters. These amino acids also build and repair tissue, maintain neurotransmitters and create hormones.
Because whey protein contains glutamine, it improves gut health and protects it from allergens, toxins and pathogens. It also stabilises high blood pressure and reduces symptoms of depression and stress. It will protect the body against some types of cancers, reduces symptoms of hepatitis and increases bone density.
How to Use it
Whey protein powder is simple and easy to use. The base instructions on the box tell you to mix one scoop in a glass of water. But there are many other options as well. For example, you can add a spoon to your favourite smoothie or the pancake batter for breakfast. You can mix it with oatmeal and puddings and cook it with muffins or crackers. Many people also use it in salad dressings and soups. The amount depends on the protein percentage already in the meal, so you’ll need to calculate.
Anyone can use whey protein in their diet. Women often use it for weight loss and men for muscle gain, but it can go the other way. But, before you start consuming it, always consult with your doctor because kidney disease and some cases of diabetes can’t handle protein powders well.