Although there are many areas of health and nutrition still open to debate or even controversy, a lot of time and effort has gone into studying the effects of whey protein on the body. Most questions surrounding this supplement have been answered, and the verdict – with very few exceptions – is that whey protein is a beneficial addition to you diet, especially if you live an active lifestyle.
Still, anyone looking to integrate something new into their diet probably has some very reasonable questions about exactly what it is and what effect it could have on their body. We’ll attempt to answer some of those questions here. If you’ve been thinking about adding whey protein to your diet but are unsure of the consequences, keep reading to learn more.
What is Whey Protein?
Whey protein is a mix of several proteins extracted from whey, the liquid part of milk that is separated during the production of cheese. Have you ever opened a container of yogurt and found some clear or milky liquid sitting on top? That’s whey.
Of course, the whey protein most people recognize does not come in a liquid form. This is because the whey is processed after it’s harvested: the liquid whey is heated to kill any bacteria, then strained and dried to create the powder we tend to be more familiar with. Contained within that silty substance are all nine essential amino acids, which means whey is considered a complete protein.
Keep in mind that whey protein comes in several forms, the chief among them being concentrates and isolates. Whey protein concentrate is probably the most popular form of whey protein; it’s the generally considered the best-tasting form and still retains some fat and lactose. Whey protein isolate is easier to digest, however, and it has a very high percentage of protein to weight – in most cases, the powder is more than 90 percent protein.
The Effects of Whey Protein
The effects of whey protein on the body have been well-documented. In many ways, it offers similar outcomes to other forms of protein, but with the notable advantage of faster absorption into the system. This does more than simply save time; faster absorption means more effective muscle recovery after a workout.
Lifting weights or performing cardio causes your muscles to break down; you build strength by allowing those muscles to reform stronger and more durable than before. Your body can’t do this until the proteins you ingest are processed by your system, though. This is what makes proteins that are quickly absorbed the superior choice for anyone looking to recover from a workout.
Ingesting whey protein can also provide a number of other benefits. Because your body has to burn more calories to digest protein than it does with carbohydrates, proteins can help boost your body’s metabolism. There is also evidence to suggest that whey protein reduces the levels of ghrelin – also called the “hunger hormone” – in your system, which makes it easier for you to resist cravings and curb your appetite. Whey is also notably low in fats and carbs, especially in its isolate form.
Will It Make Me Gain Weight?
Generally speaking, determining whether you will gain or lose weight is a simple calculation of calories ingested minus calories used; any that are left over are stored as fat. This holds true for protein as well, although it adds a dimension to this calculation: protein builds and preserves muscle, and muscle is dense.
In fact, this is what makes whey a favorite of athletes and fitness fanatics. No source of protein is better for helping you to gain muscle mass as part of an active lifestyle. This could lead to some weight gain, but any pounds added through working out and consuming protein will be muscle – a healthy and welcome addition to the body, in most cases.
Aside from those who use it to purposefully bulk up, people who use whey protein are actually more likely to lose weight as a result. As mentioned above, consuming protein boosts your metabolism and makes you feel full for longer periods of time, two features that aid in weight loss. As an added bonus, you can be reasonably certain that any weight you lose will be mostly fat, since the proteins preserve the muscles in the body.
It is important to bear in mind, however, that you cannot ignore the caloric side of the equation. If you consume a 300-calorie protein shake on top of your normal diet, the addition of those calories will most likely lead to weight gain. Regardless of what you eat or drink, keeping track of your calories is the most reliable way to manage your weight.
Why Whey Can Lead to a Healthier, Leaner You
As you can see, the benefits of consuming whey protein are considerable: it helps you build muscle and burn fat, all while easing your battle with hunger. ENU meal replacement nutrition shakes contain 17 grams of whey protein isolate in each carton, making them a convenient and efficient source you can bring with you to work, the gym, or the basketball court. To learn more about the products we offer, visit us online today.