Guest Author - Cara Newman
Whey protein has become increasingly popular in recent years. As the popularity bodybuilding sport rises, the interests around whey protein have significantly increased as well. So what is whey protein?
Whey protein is one of the two proteins found in dairy. Casein makes up 80% of the dairy protein in milk, and the rest of the 20% is whey protein. Most people with milk allergies are actually allergic to casein although some are allergic to whey.
What is whey protein and how is whey protein made?
Whey protein is a protein isolated from whey, a natural by-product in cheese production when milk coagulates. Whey is the left over soluble part of cow’s milk.
Further isolation via various processing methods such as lipid removal and drying are applied to whey before the formation of what we see in the store today as whey protein.
What is whey protein and its benefits?
Whether you are a bodybuilder or a 70 year-old grandma, you can benefit from whey protein as long as you do not have allergy towards it.
Whey protein offers many vegetarians a great source of complete protein. It is easy to consume and convenient to suit your busy lifestyle.
When using whey protein for sports performance, one can experience speedy recovery and fast adaptation to physical stress of exercise. This is due to stimulated protein synthesis. People who do not participate in sports often report an increase in energy with whey protein. Few researches have shown that whey protein might reduce the risk of heart disease. Some researches have suggested the positive effects of whey protein in preventing certain types of cancer. However, more researches are underway in discovering the many health benefits of whey protein.
“Will I bulk up using whey protein?” This is a question and the fear that many non-bodybuilders have.
I want to share an example from my own life. My mother who is in her sixties at the time of this writing is a long time consumer of whey protein. Even though she might be in her sixties, mom is more active than most people I know. She plays tennis 3 times a week and enjoys her line-dancing class 2 hours on Tuesdays. Most of all, she is very active in her magnificent garden devoting about 20-30 hours of physical labor to it weekly.
When mom first came to me about some questions on the whey protein she purchased, the first thing that went through my mind was mother gaining so much weight along with large masculine looking muscles like those pictures you see in the bodybuilder magazines…
“So why would mom, a somewhat weight conscious person, in her right mind want to take whey protein?” I mumbled to myself. The images of mom bulking up, gaining so much weight, crushing the dining room chairs and the living room recliner, having biceps bigger than my boyfriend’s thighs all went through my mind quickly. Oh…no…!!!
Ok, let’s do some rewinding. I, along with many people, had the misconception that whey protein is solely used for muscle weight gain. The protein requirement for a bodybuilder is much higher than people who live a sedentary lifestyle. Whey protein is an efficient and convenient way to supply large quantity of complete protein. In addition, the multi-million-dollar supplement industry has pushed very hard to promote whey protein using images of extremely muscular models. No wonder when we see whey protein, we associate it with weight gain and bodybuilding!
In reality, whey protein is simply protein. Whey protein contains calories and fat just like other protein. When you consume a large amount of whey protein, you increase your caloric and fat intake as well.
However, if you use whey protein sparingly as a good supplemental source of your daily protein intake, you will not get big and bulky. Don’t worry!
By the way, mom is still slim and weights around 120-125 lbs after all these years of putting a scoop or two of whey protein in her “morning mix” each day.
I hope this article answers most of your questions on “what is whey protein”. In the next article, we will discuss some possible whey protein side effects. You might like to read this article before considering adding whey protein to your diet.
Whey Protein Side Effects
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