A big part of staying fit, especially if you’re looking to put on muscle mass, is finding a suitable protein source to gulp down following an intense workout. Take a stroll down the nutrition aisle of your favorite grocery store or wellness shop and you’ll be overwhelmed by the options of protein and whey supplements to choose from. Some taste great, some don’t. Some promise immediate results, others don’t. It can be hard to choose which whey supplement is right for you and which will actually do its job.
If you’re wondering what exactly whey protein is, here’s some background from Healthline
- Whey protein is a mixture of proteins isolated from whey, which is the liquid part of milk that separates during cheese production
- Milk actually contains two main types of protein: casein (80%) and whey (20%)
- Whey is found in the watery portion of milk. When cheese is produced, the fatty parts of the milk coagulate and the whey is separated from it as a byproduct (3)
- If you’ve ever opened a yogurt container to see liquid floating on top — that’s whey. Cheesemakers used to discard it before they discovered its commercial value (4)
- After being separated during cheese production, whey goes through various processing steps to become what people generally recognize as whey protein — a powder that is added to shakes, meal replacements and protein bars (5)
- Whey protein doesn’t taste very good on its own, which is why it’s usually flavored. Chocolate-, vanilla- and strawberry-flavored powders are popular
- It’s important to read the ingredients list, as some products may have unhealthy additives like refined sugar
In a recent article, the journal Live Science took a hard look at the world of whey supplements and if they truly work.
Medical researchers have advised against protein supplements for years for the average person. But many sports trainers continue to push them on amateur athletes simply because they don’t know any better
You do need protein when you exercise, particularly when you try to build muscle through weightlifting or other forms of resistance training. The process of building muscle involves causing damage to muscle filaments and then rebuilding them, and this requires more protein
Yet unless the Mr. Universe competition is in your future, your diet likely supplies all the protein you need. The math is quite simple. When training, you need about a half gram of protein per pound of body weight. So a 180-pound male needs about 90 grams of protein a day. That’s the amount of protein in a cup of milk or yogurt with breakfast (8–12 grams), a can of tuna with lunch (40 grams), and a six-ounce steak with dinner (42 grams)
Meat has a generous 6 to 10 grams of protein per ounce. But even vegetarians can get enough protein from vegetables, even while training hard
According to WebMD…
- The average adult needs 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day
- Those taking part in recreational athletics need 1.1 to 1.4 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight
- Competitive athletes need 1.2 to 1.4 grams, and those involved in ultra-endurance sports may need up to 2.0 g per kilogram of weight
- Athletes building muscle mass need 1.5 to 2.0 grams per kilogram per day
Whereas Live Science painted a somewhat grim picture of whey supplements, Healthline came to a slightly different result…
Whey protein is an exceptionally healthy way to add more protein to your diet. It’s a quality protein source that is absorbed and utilized efficiently by the human body.
This is particularly important for athletes, bodybuilders or people who need to gain muscle mass and strength while losing fat.
When it comes to muscle gain and fat loss, protein is the king of nutrients. Whey protein seems to be even better than other forms of quality protein.
In conclusion, the data on whey supplements and their success rate can be just as overwhelming as choosing which powder to purchase at your local GNC. We’ll wrap up this post with some words from The Endorphin Effect….
I typically mix whey protein in my blender bottle and drink it least 30 minutes after I work out. Whey protein is supposed to help given your muscles the protein they need after a workout – Priscilla Rodriguez, Yoga Instructor
I think everyone benefits from a protein supplement whether that is whey, vegan, or another form. I use a vegan protein as an after workout replenishment – Miwa Gardi, Founder
They are a great compliment to natural food. Unfortunately not all supplements are created well, we use isagenix – Humberto Medina, Operations Manager
As far as supplements go, i like to keep it to a minimum. I prefer my achievements in the gym to be as natural as possible. However Whey proteins and BCAA’s (Branch Chain Amino Acids) can be wonderful tools. They make sure your body has the correct materials to repair muscles and burn fat in the correct way. Just make sure to do your research and know what’s in your supplements before you buy them – Michael Hohmeier, Personal Fitness Trainer