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So, What is Whey Protein?

MuscleTech Staff
MuscleTech Staff
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            Protein is an essential macronutrient that keeps your body functioning. It’s found in muscle, bone, skin, hair, and basically every other body part or tissue. The National Academy of Medicine recommends that adults get a minimum of 0.8g of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day, or a little more than 7g for every 20 lbs. of body weight. That comes out to about 50g of protein per day for someone who weighs 140 lbs., and about 70g for a person weighing 200 lbs., according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Animal proteins like eggs, poultry, dairy and fish are complete proteins that contain all the essential amino acids, while most plant-based proteins are incomplete, meaning they may lack one more of the essential amino acids. If you’re not getting enough protein through your daily diet, it might be a good idea to consider a supplement. One of the best protein supplements out there is whey protein since it’s a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids, which makes it an efficient musclebuilding protein.

WHAT IS WHEY PROTEIN?

            Whey and casein are the two proteins that are found in milk. Whey protein can be separated from the casein in milk or formed as a by-product of cheese and yogurt production. Whey protein, typically in a powder form, can be added to liquids or soft foods, such as applesauce, or blended with ice and fresh fruit to make a smoothie. It may also be used in in your favorite baked goods or ice cream as a way to bolster the protein content of usually decadent treats.

Whey is very digestible and can be absorbed from the gut quicker than many other types of proteins. As a dietary supplement, people often take whey protein to support their athletic goals and address nutritional deficiencies in protein intake. It’s popular among bodybuilders, athletes, and anyone who wants additional protein in their diet.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF WHEY PROTEIN

            The three main types of whey protein are whey protein concentrate (WPC), whey protein isolate (WPI) and whey protein hydrolysate (WPH). Whey protein  concentrate contains a bit more fat and carbohydrate such as lactose than other types of whey because it hasn’t been processed as much as whey isolates. Nevertheless, compared to the starting material found in milk, a serving of whey concentrate  typically has significantly less fat and lactose per gram of protein. Whey protein isolate on the other hand is even more refined and  is usually  prepared to to a level of  at least 90 percent protein on gram for gram basis. Whey protein hydrolysate is prepared from either concentrate or isolate whereby the protein is treated with enzyme to help break down the peptide bonds, rendering shorter chains or peptides of amino acids which are rapidly absorbed and can even support insulinogenic response  which can help stave off catabolism post-workout while supporting anabolic activity.

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BENEFITS OF WHEY PROTEIN

Taking whey protein supplements before or after exercise can support improvements in  muscle recovery and  growth. Research has also shown that consuming whey protein following resistance training can result in enhanced muscle function and decreased muscle recovery time.

In fact, in a recent study conducted at the University of Toronto, 12 trained men performed resistance exercise in the evening before consuming either 25 g of whey protein or an energy-matched carbohydrate placebo immediately post-workout, and again the following morning after 10 hours of recovery. What’s more, during the trial, participants ingested an advanced metabolic tracer to determine whole body protein kinetics and net protein balance over 10 and 24 h of post-workout recovery. Physical performance was also assessed pre-exercise and immediate post-workout and at 10 and 24 h of recovery using a battery of tests. Interestingly, results showed that net protein balance tended to improve when subjects consumed just one serving of whey protein immediately post-workout during an overnight recovery period of just 10 hours. However, as we know when it comes to protein, higher intakes generally result in better results, and this was shown in the study since  with a second dose of protein  the next morning, subjects experienced significantly enhanced net protein balance over the course of  24 h compared to when subjects took the carbohydrate placebo. The University of Toronto researchers noted that this effect was mediated primarily by a reduction in protein breakdown. During the performance assessment, a bout of whole-body exercise decreased repetitions to failure, maximal strength, peak and mean power, and countermovement jump performance. With 10 hours of recovery, there were small-to-moderate effects for enhanced recovery of maximal strength, mean power, and countermovement jump performance variables when the subjects consumed protein. However, at the 24 h mark, protein supplementation improved maximal strength, repetitions to failure, and peak power. The researchers concluded that the specialized MuscleTech whey protein formula used enhanced whole-body anabolism and can improve acute recovery of exercise performance after a strenuous bout of resistance exercise. So, as you can see, adding a high-quality whey protein supplement to your regimen can definitely have its perks!