People commonly use whey as a supplement, in addition to resistance exercise, to help improve muscle protein synthesis and promote the growth of lean muscle mass. But what is it and what are the benefits of using it?
Milk is made up of casein and whey. Whey protein can be separated from milk casein or formed as a outcome of cheese making. Whey protein is considered a complete protein as it has all 9 essential amino acids. It has a low lactose content.
There are many benefits of having whey protein, and researchers are constantly discovering new possible therapeutic properties. Here, we explain what the benefits might be and take a look at some of the side effects and potential risks.
Help in weight loss: In a 158 people study published in Nutrition & Metabolism, those who significantly received whey “lost high body fat and showed better preservation of lean muscle mass compared to people having the control drink.”
Anticancer Properties: Promising results have been published in the journal Anticancer Research for the use of whey protein concentrate in the treatment of cancer. Further research is needed.
Cholesterol reduction: A study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, gave 70 overweight men and women whey supplements for 12 weeks and measured a number of parameters, such as lipid and insulin levels. They found that “in the whey group at week 12, there was a significant decrease in LDL and total cholesterol compared to casein (group).”
Asthma: Whey protein may improve the immune response in children with asthma. A small study of 11 children, published in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition, found that children with asthma who received a supplement of 10 grams of whey protein twice a day for 1 month had an improved immune response.
Blood Pressure and Cardiovascular Disease: Research published in the International Dairy Journal found that drinks supplemented with whey protein significantly lowered blood pressure in patients with hypertension; their risk of developing heart disease or stroke was also lower.
Reduce Weight Loss in People Living with HIV: A study published in the journal Clinical and Investigative Medicine found that in HIV-positive patients, whey protein may help reduce weight loss.
Also Read: Whey Soup
Some people who are allergic to milk may be allergic to whey also. In moderate doses, whey protein does not usually cause any side effects. However, consuming very high doses can cause:
- stomach pain
- reduced appetite
High and constant doses of whey protein can also cause acne. From a nutritional standpoint, whey protein is very unusual and has no natural equivalent.
Some people believe that nutritionally refined foods like these pose risks because, although they contain a lot of nutrients, the balance is heavily skewed towards protein.
There are three main types of whey protein; Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC), Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) and Whey Protein Hydrolyzate (WPH).
Let’s take a look at each of these elements in turn:
- Whey Protein Concentrate – WPC contains low levels of carbohydrates and fat. The protein percentage in WPC depends on its concentration. The lower concentrates tend to contain 30 percent protein and the upper ends up to 90 percent.
- Whey Protein Isolate – The WPIs are then processed to remove all fat and lactose. WPI is generally at least 90 percent protein.
- Whey Protein Hydrolyzate – WPH is known as the “simple” form of whey protein because it has already undergone partial hydrolysis – a process necessary for the body to absorb protein. Much digestion is not required by WPH as the other two forms of whey protein.
In addition, WPH is commonly used in medical protein supplements and infant formula due to its improved digestibility and reduced allergenic potential.