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What is Whey Protein? A Deep Dive into Whey Protein and How it Works

Posted on January 17 2018

Protein You would not at all be alone if your first thought upon encountering the term whey protein was “there are different kinds of protein?” It’s easy to assume that proteins are all one in the same when looking for our daily value. However, some proteins, such as whey, are vastly superior to others.

Whey proteins carry a considerably more substantial range of essential amino acids which are absorbed quickly. The components of whey protein have been clinically shown to assist in building muscle mass and lose extraordinary amounts of weight.

Whey protein has also been studied for its positive effects on conditions such as depression and high blood pressure. In fact, it has proven to be one of the most closely studied supplements in the world, but exactly how does whey protein work?

This guide will help to explain that as well as explore the possible benefits it represents for your fitness. Once you have a better understanding of the benefits of whey protein, stock up with our great tasting flavors of whey protein powders, available in both 2lb containers and 5lb containers, and check out our delicious whey protein powder recipes!

What is Whey Protein?

Milk contains two types of protein: casein, which represents about 80% of protein in milk, and whey, which represents the rest. Whey is the liquid byproduct that is separated from the coagulating fatty parts in the production of cheese. Put simply, if you’ve ever opened a container of sour cream or yogurt and found a small layer of liquid on top, you’ve seen whey.

Whey protein is an assortment of globular proteins isolated from whey. There are a series of processing steps to become what is known as whey protein, often in the form of a powder, flavored or otherwise. This powder is added to several products such as energy bars, protein shakes, and dietary supplements. The beneficial effects are obvious, as it is a convenient way to supplement your daily intake with an additional 25-50 grams of protein. This is quite useful for gym nuts, bodybuilders, people trying to lose weight, or even simply people with protein deficiencies.

As with anything else, it is incredibly important to closely study the brand from which you are purchasing your whey protein. Whey protein does not terribly agitate any specific intolerance, though lactose intolerant persons are advised to be careful in their consumption. There are also documented cases of whey protein allergy.

Now you have your explanation of what whey protein is–but how does whey protein work?

Muscle Mass and Weight Loss

Of all the studies done on whey protein, the most prominent conclusion agreed upon is its effect on muscle growth and strength. It is for this very reason that whey protein products are most popular among athletes, bodybuilders, models, or simply people looking to greatly enhance their workout performance. Whey has several effects on the body, including:

  • Hormones- Whey protein greatly stimulates the release of anabolic hormones such as insulin, which can greatly stimulate muscle growth
  • Leucine- Whey protein is particularly high in the Leucine amino acid, which has been shown to greatly accelerate protein synthesis at a molecular and even genetic level.
  • Metabolic Boost- Whey protein is absorbed marginally more quickly than other proteins, contributing to a fast and effective metabolism.
  • Good old protein boost- It should go without saying, but of course, whey protein provides a huge supplement of protein and amino acids, the very building blocks for muscle mass.

Whey protein has been shown to be most effective for building muscle mass when consumed in direct timely proximity to a workout, be it before, after, or even during. Protein synthesis is shown to be most active in the period after the workout. This shouldn’t be much of a deciding factor, however. Studies have shown that daily protein intake is the only relevant factor in building muscle mass. The time of the consumption of protein, while it may be a comfort or ritual to some gym enthusiasts, does not alter effectiveness according to all present research.

What is whey protein? It’s just that, a protein. It’s been well documented that protein can have a great effect on weight loss. As the most fulfilling macronutrient, protein boost metabolism by 100 calories per day, and is a known appetite suppressant. Studies have shown that people who consume their proper daily value eat up to 500 calories less than average per day. In one particular study, people who supplemented 25% of their caloric intake with protein drastically cut back on cravings and drastically reduced their urge for late night snacking.

Whey protein has performed marginally better as a supplement over other protein types such as soy, and is for this reason considered an ideal protein for weight loss and muscle growth. It is quite literally the best of both worlds in that it can increase your calories going out by giving your metabolism a drastic boost, and decrease your calories going in by healthily suppressing appetite cravings and leaving you full and energized.

Get Started

We now know what is whey protein and how it works, so what’s next? To those desperate to gain muscle mass or those who’ve tried everything to lose those pesky pounds, this may come as a saving grace. Exercise is important, but without supplementing your routine with the proper dietary choices, you’re simply–and perhaps even literally–running in circles.

Protein is important and necessary to achieving the level of physical fitness that you desire, and whey protein has proven time and again that it is likely the best individual supplement. Be sure, however, to always shop around to purchase the best and most effective workout supplements for you, and follow closely the effects it has on your routine!