First of all, what is whey protein?
Whey is a by-product of the cheese manufacturing process and consists of the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled. It is marketed in three different forms: whey protein concentrate (WPC), whey protein hydrolysate (WPH) and whey protein isolate (WPI). WPC tends to retain more fat and cholesterol, as well as bioactive compounds and lactose, while WPI is virtually free of all of these impurities meaning it is more suitable for people who are lactose intolerant as well as those who need to keep a tight rein on fat content.
A lot of people ask where they can get their whey protein. Of course, the most common source of whey in the diet is through cow’s milk, with whey forming around 20% of milk’s protein content (the other 80% is in casein). However, cow’s milk contains more fat than protein so is not the best source for fitness fanatics.
How much protein we should be eating?
This is another frequently asked question, and many experts tend to agree that around .5-1g per pound of body weight is about right for moderate activity. And according to Mark McManus, writing in MuscleHack, we shouldn’t worry about limiting the amount of protein consumed at one sitting.
So to maximize protein intake while minimizing fat, athletes and bodybuilders turn to whey powders and other supplements. This is the basic picture, but we needed more detail so we listened to what the leaders in the fitness field were really saying about whey.
Before we get going, we would like to make it clear that, in our opinion, pure whey protein isolate is far superior to other forms of whey. As mentioned above, high quality WPI is virtually fat, lactose and cholesterol free and contains a high percentage of protein.
Whey protein’s major benefit lies in the blend of essential and non-essential amino acids it contains.
You probably don’t need to be told that amino acids are the building blocks of protein and therefore vital for repairing muscle tissue. The essential amino acids (including branch-chain amino acids – or BCAAs) are those that have to be taken into the body through diet, and the fastest way to introduce them is via supplementation. As Bodybuilding.com’s Science Editor Krissy Kendall says, “Pure BCAAs (branch-chain amino acids) bypass the liver and gut and go directly into your bloodstream.”
According to the experts, Whey protein is good pre-workout and also serves as a great post-workout nutrition source! Click To Tweet In fact, Hunter Labrada considers it to be “the most important” post-workout supplement. Alex Stewart writes that mixing whey protein with dextrose immediately following your session will optimize muscle growth and recovery.
According to Sebastian Balcombe, president of Athletic Edge, bodybuilders and athletes should take in additional whey – along with water – while they are working out. There is evidence to suggest that such ‘intra-workout’ whey supplementation can help the body to sustain protein synthesis for up to five hours rather than the usual maximum of three hours.
To understand protein metabolism you have to understand the role of the BCAAs, and in particular Leucine.
Leucine stands apart in its ability to stimulate the release of insulin into the bloodstream (the other BCAAs can only regulate insulin that’s already there in the blood). This unique property was discovered by researchers back in the 1960s, as John Kiefer explains in Flex magazine, and enables expert bodybuilders to bulk out while avoiding taking in carbs. Leucine also counteracts the degradation of protein that occurs during fasted training, as fitness expert and author Michael Matthews reveals in his Muscle for Life video (Michael goes into the nuts and bolts of fasted cardio in this related article).
Another fitness expert, Alex Savva from PharmaFreak, points out that whey supplementation also improves performance levels in the gym. And, of course, the better you perform during your workout, the more significant your results will be.
Are whey protein supplements safe?
Whey protein supplementation is completely safe. Adding whey protein isolate to your diet in the morning when you wake up, after workouts, and anytime you feel hungry throughout the day will provide the cleanest, safest, and healthiest source of protein that you will find anywhere. People need to be careful with whey protein concentrate products that contain lactose, ash and other impurities. They can cause gastrointestinal distress, bloating, and other issues. Make sure to stick with a naturally sweetened product that uses only 100% whey protein isolate from grass fed cows not treated with any hormones or antibiotics.
In an industry notorious for raging debates and conflicting information, it is reassuring to know that experts are in agreement on this one. Efficient protein synthesis is essential for all forms of physical development and it seems that whey powder (and we again emphasise whey powder isolate over other forms) lives up to the hype that surrounds it.
Now that you know that whey protein isolate (WPI) is endorsed by the fitness experts, we want you to experience the benefits first hand by trying a ProEnergy® protein shake from the leading all-natural protein and supplement provider EnergyFirst. As well as containing only 100% natural WPI, ProEnergy® is naturally sweetened with stevia and is rBGH, cholesterol and gluten free.
Click on any of the available ProEnergy® flavors!
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