Many people associate whey protein with bodybuilders drinking it to aid in muscle recovery after a strenuous exercise session. This dairy by-product offers far more than just that- everyone from all ages, shapes, and intensities of physical activity can reap the rewards of whey protein.
Evidence suggests that whey protein can enhance fitness levels and promote weight loss, slow the effects of aging on our muscles, and even regulate high blood pressure. Look further to discover the advantages of whey protein and how to incorporate it into a nutritious ketogenic diet.
Nowadays, the vast majority of whey protein products come from cow’s milk, although some are derived from goat’s milk. Milk contains a majority of casein and a smaller amount of whey, making up a total of two key proteins with a ratio of 80:20.
When you remove dairy solids such as casein from the liquid components, whey concentrate and whey protein isolate are among the residues. The liquid is then atomized into a powder and refined via sieve.
Whey Protein Concentrate
Whey protein concentrate (WPC) has not been refined as much as whey protein isolate and still has traces of lactose present, which is a type of fermentable sugar that can give rise to gastrointestinal problems and bloating for some individuals. Whey isolates are higher in protein than this product.
Whey Protein Isolate
Whey protein isolate is the highest grade of whey protein, containing more than 90% protein and a miniscule amount of lactose, making it suitable for those with lactose intolerance.
People with a dairy allergy should not consume whey isolate or any type of whey protein. It is because whey involves alpha-lactalbumin and beta-lactoglobulin, which are typically helpful components but also just so happen to be milk allergies.
Whey isolate can be broken down into whey protein hydrolysate, which appears to be more easily digested.
Think carefully when selecting a whey protein, and make sure to check where it comes from to guarantee it is a superior quality protein product. If your whey comes from cows fed on grass, it includes not only higher levels of beneficial compounds like lactoferrin and beta-lactoglobulin, but is also more ecologically friendly.
Farmers who raise grass-fed cows typically use a rotational grazing system that conserves the earth. Growers who farm organically utilize fewer antibiotics for their livestock, aiding in the decline of the expanding danger of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Whey Protein Benefits
The by-product of cheese production is a liquid known as whey. The protein part of whey is called whey protein.
This protein is full of all the necessary components, offering superior and wholesome nourishment. It is rich in essential amino acids. Moreover, it is easily digestible, and is absorbed by the intestines more rapidly than other kinds of protein.
This makes it an excellent choice for a high-protein diet.
There are three main types of whey protein powder:
- concentrate (WPC)
- isolate (WPI)
- hydrolysate (WPH)
The most widely used and least expensive form of concentrate is the most frequent type. Whey protein is a popular addition to many people’s diets, including bodybuilders, athletes, and those who are looking for extra protein. It is used as a dietary supplement.
Whey protein has a great amount of nutrients and is considered one of the best sources of high protein intake in one’s diet. This particular protein is much more easily processed by the body and is absorbed rapidly compared to other proteins.
Despite these changes in body composition, their effects can be minimized, avoided, or undone by including strength training and eating the right foods.
Strength exercises together with eating high protein meals or taking protein supplements have been demonstrated to be an efficient preventive technique.
Whey protein is especially effective as a source of quality protein. Whey contains an abundance of a particular type of amino acid known as leucine. Leucine is the best at stimulating growth and development.
Therefore, whey protein is advantageous in the combat against muscle deterioration brought on by growing older and also helpful for achieving increased power. Studies have shown that whey protein might be more efficient in aiding muscle development than other forms of protein, such as casein or soy.
Unless you are not getting enough protein through your regular diet, protein supplements will not have a major effect. Strength training combined with whey protein is great for increasing and maintaining muscle mass.
High blood pressure that is abnormally high (hypertension) is one of the primary causes of heart disease. Many studies have shown that consuming dairy products can help in decreasing blood pressure.
It is believed that the results are due to a group of proteins found in dairy products known as angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors (ACE-inhibitors).
In whey proteins, the ACE-inhibitors are called lactokinins. Studies with animals have shown advantageous results when investigating blood pressure.
Only a few research studies have looked into whey proteins’ effect on one’s blood pressure, and many specialists consider the results to be uncertain.
In a group of overweight people, a study revealed that taking in 54 grams of whey protein a day for a period of 12 weeks led to a reduction of 4% in systolic blood pressure. Other milk proteins (casein) had similar effects.
Research has demonstrated clear outcomes when individuals took whey protein concentrate (22 g/day) over the course of 6 weeks. Only people whose blood pressure was high or slightly above average saw a reduction in their numbers.
The usage of lesser amounts of whey protein (3.25 grams or less every day) that was combined in a milk beverage did not provoke any noticeable alterations in people’s blood pressure, as shown in a study.
It is possible that whey proteins can reduce the amount of pressure found in people who have high blood pressure. This is due to bioactive peptides called lactokinins.
Type 2 diabetes is a lasting health issue characterized by abnormally elevated blood sugar levels and a malfunctioning of the hormone insulin. Insulin is an organic compound responsible for prompting the absorption of glucose from the bloodstream into cells, ensuring its level remains within a healthy range.
Research has demonstrated that whey protein can aid in moderating blood glucose, as well as boost both insulin levels and receptiveness to insulin. When compared to other forms of protein such as egg white and fish, whey protein appears to be the preferable option.
The potential benefits of whey protein may be similar to those of medicines for diabetes like sulfonylurea. Consequently, whey protein can be utilized as an additional therapeutic approach for type 2 diabetes.
It is known that consuming a whey protein supplement prior to or at the same time as consuming a food that is rich in carbohydrates will assist in controlling blood sugar in people with and without type 2 diabetes.
Whey protein can help maintain balanced blood sugar levels, particularly when taken with or prior to meals that are high in carbohydrates. It could be especially helpful for individuals with type 2 diabetes.
Inflammation is part of the body’s response to damage. Occasional inflammation can be helpful, however, when it persists for an extended period, it can become a long-term problem.
Prolonged inflammation can have detrimental outcomes and contributes significantly to the development of various diseases. This could be indicative of underlying medical issues or behaviors that are damaging to one’s health.
A comprehensive examination study determined that substantial amounts (at least 20g each day) of whey protein supplements considerably diminishes C-reactive protein (CRP), a primary signal of irritation in the body.
Studies have indicated that consuming large amounts of whey protein can reduce C-reactive protein levels in the blood, which suggests it has a positive effect on decreasing inflammation.
Inflammatory bowel disease is a long-term ailment that causes persistent irritation in the internal passages of the digestive system. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a blanket term used to describe both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Studies on both rodents and humans have demonstrated advantageous effects of whey protein supplementation on Inflammatory Bowel Disease. The current evidence is not strongly compelling and it would require additional research before any robust conclusions can be settled on.
Whey protein supplements may have beneficial effects on IBD.
Antioxidants are substances that combat the process of oxidation in the body. This translates to them reducing the amount of damage from reactive oxygen molecules, thus lowering the possibility of developing numerous long-term illnesses.
Glutathione is among the most influential antioxidants in the human body. Glutathione, in contrast to the majority of antioxidants which are derived from one’s nutrition, is created by your body.
The generation of glutathione within the body relies upon the existence of certain amino acids like cysteine, which sometimes is in short supply. Therefore, eating foods high in cysteine, such as whey protein, may enhance the body’s natural antioxidative abilities.
Studies with both humans and animals have determined that the consumption of whey proteins can reduce the amount of oxidative strain and raise the levels of glutathione.
Whey protein supplements might possibly bolster the body’s ability to fight off oxidative damage by causing an increase in glutathione, one of the body’s main antioxidants.
8. Can improve body composition
Despite its popularity among bodybuilders, whey can help to keep lean muscle mass in tact and increase fat burning while cutting back on weight. It helps you build muscle without turning you bulky.
Investigators at Purdue University examined 13 investigations regarding the effects of whey supplementation in female subjects. Body mass index (BMI) was the primary endpoint.
When the figures were crunched, it was discovered that whey protein had a positive effect on overall body composition. Female participants who ingested whey experienced an increase in lean body mass compared to the control groups. Studies that incorporated the restriction of calories showed the most noteworthy effect.
In a further study, scientists examined the effects of two diets on 34 women who had recently gone through gastric bypass surgery – one contained a low-calorie intake with whey included in the meals, and the other involved a low-calorie intake with no whey. Of the entire group of 34 women, the ones that supplemented with whey not merely lost weight but also managed to retain their muscle mass.
Whey might not be a guarantee for losing weight, however it can assist in keeping you full, while helping to sustain your muscle even as excess body fat is reduced.
9. May help weight loss on keto
A reduced-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet may help you lose weight and it comes with plenty of health advantages for both your body and mind.
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat eating plan that suggests using sources of fat such as MCT oil, nut butter, and olive oil. Despite fat being the main focus of ketogenic diets, protein has an important function as well.
Getting the right amount of protein is critical for keeping lean muscle while losing weight on a keto diet.
A 2016 study involving 25 healthy participants looked into alterations in body composition by having them try out two different regimens: a low-calorie dietary plan and a ketogenic meal plan coupled with whey protein supplementation.
Ultimately, the team who followed the keto diet obtained greater improvements in body composition than the group who consumed fewer calories. Even after shedding some pounds, only the individuals following the ketogenic diet managed to maintain their muscle mass.
10. Might reduce age-related muscle loss
As you age, the body’s natural inclination is to break down and become weaker, which often results in muscle loss (or sarcopenia). Incorporating whey protein into your nutrition plan can help to reduce the speed of developing this condition and stay away from any negative impacts it can bring.
Sarcopenia, or muscle weakening, can lead to difficulties such as lack of strength and nerve harm, in addition to potentially increasing your chances of developing chronic ailments.
It is essential to incorporate both protein and resistance training into your lifestyle if you want to stay lean in your later years. If you exercise with weights three times a week but don’t consume an adequate amount of protein, your muscles will suffer.
Researchers tested out the effects of whey protein on 70 older women by having them take it before and after weight training for a period of 12 weeks, as well as providing a placebo for comparison. At the completion of this study, the participants taking whey protein had more muscle mass and more strength than the individuals in the comparison group.
11. May help boost immunity
The advantages of whey protein are frequently not taken into account, one of which is its ability to improve immunity.
Whey contains its fundamental amino acids and is also full of beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin, lactoferrin, and immunoglobulins which are bioactive and help to fortify the immune system.
The study of these agents has revealed their abilities to fight microbes and cancers, thus boosting one’s immunity and eliminating any dangerous antigens.
12. Can promote antioxidant support
Cysteine is a type of amino acid that you are able to generate within your own body, so it is not considered a critical amino acid. Giving your body an extra dose of cysteine might be a wise decision.
At all times, your cells produce molecules known as reactive oxygen species (ROS) continuously. At low concentrations, ROS are advantageous – performing the duty of transmitting signals to your immune system and cells’ protective responses.
At elevated levels, reactive oxygen species (ROS) may cause oxidative damage throughout the body which could eventually result in illnesses such as autoimmune disorders, neurological disorders, cardiac diseases, and premature aging.
Your body possesses a guardian called glutathione which is responsible for controlling ROS when you are experiencing difficulty or illness.
Glutathione is known as your master antioxidant. When there is an increase in oxidative stress, your body will boost production of glutathione to counter the effects of the reactive oxygen species. To produce these endogenous antioxidants, your body needs cysteine.
Consuming food items containing cysteine can bolster your immune system, allowing it to stay at its most proficient capacity. Examples of these kinds of products include whey protein.
13. May support liver health
Your liver is an incredibly hard working organ that is vital for many of your bodily functions.
The liver is seriously multi-functional, managing everything from producing digestive bile to assist in the breaking down of food fat, to purging toxins from the bloodstream, controlling cholesterol, as well as producing proteins that help with clotting.
It is worrying to see that the liver health of people in the developed world is declining, with cases of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) impacting between 20-30% of those in the population.
Foods high in cysteine, such as whey, could potentially assist in restoring glutathione levels in the body, possibly decreasing the amount of oxidation stress experienced by the liver.
For 12 weeks, scientists provided 38 individuals dealing with liver issues with 20 grams of whey protein isolate daily. At the conclusion of the experiment, glutathione generation had not only grown, but the condition of the liver cells (hepatocytes) had also enhanced.
In another survey, 11 overweight ladies with liver illness were supplied with whey protein formulation. Every woman saw a reduction in the size of their liver as well as their triglycerides.
Whey Protein Benefits That Support Your Keto Goals
Whey has an impressive spectrum of health benefits. If you are on a keto diet for purposes such as losing weight, boosting your mental and physical capabilities and bettering your wellbeing, this supplement would be a brilliant enhancement to your shakes, morning pancakes and keto snacks.