Whey protein is a common MUST in the fitness world – especially for those who have an “on-the-go” lifestyle or a busy training schedule. Whey protein can be very versatile – using it within your protein drink, topping off your ice cream with a scoop, or chomping on a protein bar. I commonly use it within my nutrition plan on a daily basis, especially if I am unable to obtain my protein levels when consuming meats. See what I have found out about whey protein and some suggestions to either incorporate or not incorporate into your nutrition plan!
What is whey protein?
Whey is a natural by-product of the cheese production from milk. In cow’s milk, whey makes up about 20% while casein makes up the remaining percentage at 80% (more about casein in a future post!). As a by-product of the cheese-making process, whey protein may not be advised to ingest if one is lactose-intolerant [but there are types of forms of whey that can be ingested without that stomach ache]. On the other hand from being a protein, whey is a fantastic source of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)!
(Find out more about types of whey protein in a more in-depth talk here.)
There are three (3) major forms of whey protein:
- Whey protein concentrate (WPC) = lower fat and cholesterol levels; higher bioactive carbohydrate concentrations in the lactose form; about 30%-80% protein composition; it is the LEAST processed form of whey.
- Whey protein isolate (WPI) = LOWEST or no fat levels (due to the process of removing the fat and lactose content); lowest in bioactive carbohydrates; and about 90% [or more] protein composition.
- Whey protein hydrolysate (WPH) = “partially-hydrolyzed” whey protein – meaning it’s broken down partially into peptide chains thus creating a FASTER absorption rate; least allergenic type of whey; MOST processed form of whey (“denatured protein”); best quality of whey and the MOST expensive.
What are some advantages and disadvantages from supplementing with whey protein?
- Increases muscle protein synthesis (i.e. strength and muscle mass)
- Fast absorption rate
- Spikes amino acid levels (i.e. leucine)
- Improved immune function (i.e. Vitamin C/E, Coenzyme Q10, and ALA)
- Aides in appetite regulation (i.e. ghrelin and leptin)
- Improved antioxidant activity (i.e. glutathione)
- Decreases protein degradation
- Potential dairy allergy (i.e. lactose-intolerant)
- Can be expensive to purchase on the market (i.e WPI and WPH)
- Can cause flatulence/bloated sensation (i.e. WPC)
- Can have poor taste pending what type of whey ingested (i.e. WPH)
What are some sources of whey protein that I can use within my nutrition plan?
- Cottage cheese
- By-products of cheese production
- Milk protein isolates
- Whey protein supplements (i.e. powder/bar snack forms)
When should I consume whey protein?
Whey protein is commonly shown to be consumed after a workout routine within a 30-minute to two-hour window. This will help “feed” the damaged muscle tissues to aid in faster absorption rates of protein – which then aids in muscle protein synthesis or building muscle! Some recommended servings include between the ranges of 20-35grams of protein for immediate absorption. It is also great to be implemented before and during workouts as well! Find which is best for you to start incorporating whey protein into your nutrition plan, especially if you find yourself consistently hitting lower protein macronutrient levels from food and can’t seem to hit that desired number – this will help you stay on top of your macronutrient game and make sure you are feeding your ever-growing muscles appropriately!
What are some of your recommended whey protein supplements you use?
In the past, I used Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein and Quest Nutrition – I think they are a great starter protein and have your basic flavors (i.e. chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla). Recently, I’ve been loving Dymatize Iso-100 Whey Protein and Carbon Build by Layne Norton – both of these have amazing flavors ranging from orange dreamsicle to salted caramel (and they mix very well with just water)! I typically order my protein from bodybuilding.com and have no problems with getting the exact product I want.
Hope this helps with your nutrition plan and it’s always good to have several sources of protein laying around, not to mention great for those who travel a lot! Always pack that protein with you where ever you go! Happy eating and remember to enjoy the process in whatever your work may be! #teambullseyenutrition