Whey is derived from cows milk. Cows milk is comprised of two proteins, Casein and Whey. Whey protein was traditionally formed as a by-product of cheese making and is considered a “complete protein” as it contains all 9 essential amino acids.
What are the possible health benefits of Whey protein?
1. Aiding fat loss
According to one study of 158 people, published in Nutrition & Metabolism, People who were given Whey “lost significantly more body fat and showed a greater preservation of lean muscle compared to subjects consuming the control beverage.”
2. Lowering cholesterol
A study published in The British Journal of Nutrition gave Whey supplements to 70 overweight men and women for 12 weeks and measured a number of parameters such as lipid and insulin levels. They found that “there was a significant decrease in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol at week 12 in the Whey group compared with the Casein (group).”
3. Improved immune system in asthma patients
Whey protein may advance the immune response in young people with asthma. A small study published in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition, found that children with asthma who were fed 10 grams whey protein twice daily for 1 month, had an improved immune response.
5. Lowering blood pressure and reducing risk of cardiovascular disease
Research published in the International Dairy Journal found that beverages that were supplemented with Whey protein significantly reduced blood pressure in patients with hypertension. It found the risk of heart disease or stroke was also lowered.
Possible dangers of Whey protein
Whey protein supplements have been a significant part of my diet over the past decade and I personally haven’t had any major side effects using it. In moderate doses, it can be argued that Whey does not typically cause any adverse effects. However like most things, consuming it in excess and without some time off can cause problems. Such problems may include stomach pains, cramps, reduced appetite, nausea and headaches.
The three primary types of Whey protein;
1. Whey protein concentrate – WPC contains low levels of fat and low levels of carbohydrates. The percentage of protein in WPC depends on how concentrated it is. Lower end concentrates tend to have 30 percent protein and higher end up to 90 percent.
2. Whey protein isolate – WPIs are further processed to remove all the fat and lactose. WPI is usually at least 90 percent protein.
3. Whey protein hydrolysate – WPH is considered to be the “predigested” form of whey protein as it has already undergone partial hydrolysis – a process necessary for the body to absorb protein. WPH doesn’t require as much digestion as the other two forms of whey protein.
Muscle building and weight loss with Whey protein
Whey protein supplementation along with resistance exercise can help improve our muscles ability to synthesise protein and use it to grow lean tissue mass.
A study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism concluded that “whey protein supplementation during resistance training offers some benefit compared to resistance training alone.” In addition, “males who supplemented with whey protein had a greater relative gain in lean tissue mass.”
Why Whey over Casein?
This is because much better gains in strength are associated with whey isolate supplementation compared with casein.
This was demonstrated in another study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, which concluded that in “two groups of matched, resistance-trained males whey isolate provided significantly greater gains in strength, lean body mass, and a decrease in fat mass compared with supplementation with casein during an intense 10-week resistance-training program.”