If you’ve ever considered enhancing your physical appearance by working out, you’ve undoubtedly heard of whey protein. An interesting factor that many people don’t realize is that whey can be used for medicinal and health purposes as well as for building muscle. Knowing what whey protein is, how it can benefit your body, and where you can buy, it is essential to taking advantage of this unique supplement. It is suggested that people consider using whey more often as it not only offers physical benefits, but mental ones as well.
What is Whey Protein?
Protein is an essential component that your body needs for energy, to boost your metabolism, and to help build muscle. A protein deficiency can be incredibly hazardous to your health and can affect an array of your organs. Whey protein is a natural protein that has over 20 amino acids in its makeup and with each serving you’ll be receiving an additional 9 essential amino acids, which are only available through the consumption of whey.
Many people enjoy consuming whey protein over animal and plant proteins because it’s far easier to digest with a digestibility of approximately 1.14 in comparison to .94 for protein from beef. You’ve most likely heard of whey protein from people that are looking to enhance their athletic performance or if they have an intolerance with lactose.
The Health Benefits of Whey Protein
1. Losing Fat and Preserving Muscle
When you start adding whey to your daily diet, the first benefit you’ll begin to experience is a substantial amount of weight loss though not at the cost of your physical strength. According to a study conducted by researchers in Minnesota, over 12 weeks of consuming whey protein, participants ate 500 less calories than they normally would. This resulted in the participants losing approximately 6.1% of their body fat over the study period.
Also noted during the study, participants did not lose weight as a result of losing their muscle. This is why it is typically advised that people try eating whey protein bars or consume a whey protein beverage instead of relying on unhealthy snacks throughout the day.
2. Increasing Muscle Size and Body Strength
If you’re the type of person that enjoys going to the gym to build muscle, whey protein is easily going to become your best friend. It’s known throughout the health community that both men and women who use whey protein before and after working out experience a substantial increase in muscle size and their overall body strength. Baylor University researchers used 19 men in a study that showed the amount of fat-free mass that was built over a 10-week period using whey protein. Some of the participants received 14 grams of whey powder and the remaining received a 20-gram placebo. The individuals that consumed whey protein experienced an increase in fat-free mass and overall muscle strength.
3. Reducing Hunger and Cravings
When it comes to losing weight one of the main concerns that people have with their body is being able to curb their cravings and reduce the amount of food they eat daily. Even if you’re not hungry, you might find yourself reaching for snacks simply because you’re bored or stressed. With the help of whey protein, you will be able to reduce your hunger throughout the day to help you achieve your desired physique. Ghrelin, a hormone that is responsible for letting your brain know when it’s hungry, can be inhibited with consistent consumption of whey. According to a study conducted by Australian researchers, men that consumed beverages with approximately 50 grams of whey had reduced levels of the hormone.
4. Cancer Fighting Properties
With all of the things in today’s day and age that seemingly cause cancer it can be important to implement as many healthy items in your daily diet as possible. Whey protein gives consumers the ability to add cancer-fighting properties to their diets, even if you have a genetic predisposition for cancer. Studies have suggested that daily consumption of whey protein helps to fight off prostate and colon cancer, though it is essential that you continue to get screened for the illness to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
5. Coping with Stressful Situations
Stress is one of the most difficult things that people are faced with on a regular basis. Whether you have stress from your job or if there’s stress in your personal life, it is everywhere. Whey protein is a phenomenal component that assists with reducing stress and how it affects your body on a regular basis. Researchers are still looking into the direct effects, but as of now it appears that whey affects the serotonin in your brain, which is responsible for regulating your moods, particularly happiness.
Another interesting fact is that whey protein is typically prescribed to individuals suffering from depression, as regulating serotonin is essential to maintaining a positive outlook.
6. Improving Bodily Immunity
Your immune system is responsible for keeping your body healthy and fighting off any illnesses you might catch through the seasons. If you’ve been struggling with flus and colds, it might be time to consider adding whey protein to your diet. Researchers at the University of Alberta found that by supplementing with whey protein it reduces levels of glutathione, which is a hormone that can negatively affect your immune system. In fact, heightened levels of glutathione are a direct cause of working out too much, which is why a variety of pre-workout supplements include whey protein powder.
How to Choose the Right Whey Protein Powder
If you’re interested in having healthy and delicious beverages throughout the day, you will want to consider whey protein powder as an added ingredient to smoothies and pre-workout drinks. Before you decide on a particular brand of protein, it’s important you find the right one for your needs.
The first thing to consider is the flavoring for the whey protein. Considering that whey doesn’t taste great on its own, it’s typically flavored as vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry. It’s important that you ensure your formula uses natural flavoring instead of synthetic to get the purest beverage possible.
2. Refined Sugars
Another important feature of most lesser-quality whey proteins that you need to avoid are refined sugars. Not only do they add an overt sweetness to the whey protein but they can also be responsible for packing on the pounds. When you’re losing weight you’ll want to choose as many natural and organic ingredients as possible and to avoid additives at all costs.
3. Levels of Protein
It’s important to ensure you’re choosing a formula that is going to give you the perfect amount of protein in a single serving. On average, you should expect to get up to 50 grams of protein per beverage if you’re looking to build a substantial amount of muscle.
4. Consider Allergies
There are 2 main allergies to take into consideration in terms of whey protein: an allergy to lactose and an allergy to whey. If you are lactose intolerant there’s a high probability that choosing a whey protein powder is the best option to ensure you’re getting the right nutrients on a daily basis. It’s important to talk to your doctor prior to consuming whey protein, as many people are allergic to the ingredient.
Where to Buy Whey Protein Powder
When you’re ready to take advantage of the benefits of whey protein, it’s important for you to find a reliable retailer that has a wide selection of brands and flavors for you to choose from.
1. Health and Wellness Food Stores
The number one place you’re guaranteed to find whey protein powder is a health and wellness food store. They will typically carry an array of brands that are either locally made or imported by other popular companies. You also won’t have to worry about items being out of stock, as they typically order a significant amount of tubs throughout the year. The only concern that shoppers may have with health and wellness food stores is that their prices may be more expensive than other retailers.
2. Online Stores
Another great place for you to look for various types of protein powders is online. There are hundreds of stores that either specialize in different types of protein or that simply carry specific brands in stock. You may also be able to buy items directly from the manufacturer. The largest benefit to shopping online for protein powder is you can do a substantial amount of research about the different powders you’re interested in. You’ll be able to read through customer reviews, look into the ingredients, and decide which mixture is the best for your needs. Also, online prices may be substantially less expensive than what you would pay in-store. One factor to remember is you will be responsible for paying shipping and handling charges.
3. Big Box Stores
Major chain retailers have the tendency to carry whey protein, though it is important to read through their list of ingredients prior to making a purchase. Since big box stores have to keep a substantially large inventory at all times, they choose the less expensive and lower quality proteins to sell. Even though it may seem like you’re getting a discount on whey protein, it may not be as delicious or as packed with nutrients as other brands that you would pay more for. It’s important to do your research with big box store whey protein.
Whey Protein Recipes
Now that you know the benefits of whey protein and how it can help you to lose fat and build muscle, it’s time to consider how you can eat it on a regular basis. From protein bars to smoothies, these unique recipes are not only healthy but they are also incredibly delicious.
1. Peanut Butter-Coconut Smoothie
If you’re looking for a drink that combines the luxurious smooth texture of peanut butter and the light creamy taste of almond milk with a dash of coconut, this smoothie is for you.
- Combine ¼ cup of coconut milk,
- 1/3 cup of unsweetened almond milk,
- 1 tbsp of peanut butter, and
- 1 scoop of premium vanilla whey protein powder in a blender.
- Blend all of the ingredients together, add ice and enjoy.
2. Almond Butter Protein Pancakes
Pancakes are the best way to start your day and they can be a great snack between meals. These almond butter protein pancakes go perfectly with your breakfast coffee and you can add fruits such as strawberries and bananas as healthy toppings.
- Combine 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder and 1 packet of stevia.
- Combine 1 tbsp of almond butter, ¼ cup of water, and 3 egg whites.
- Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and mix together until it has a soft texture.
- Use sugar-free syrup as a great alternative to fatty and unhealthy syrup.
3. Banana Protein Pancakes
If you’re a fan of bananas, you’re going to love this recipe. With the combination of great whey protein, banana, and coconut this flavorful concoction is a phenomenal start to your day.
- Start by combining ¼ cup of unsweetened coconut flakes,
- 2 scoops of vanilla whey powder, 6 whole eggs,
- 2 additional egg whites,
- 1 tbsp of coconut oil,
- 1 whole banana, and 3 tbsps of cinnamon together in a bowl.
- Preheat the pan to 300 degrees and cook the pancakes for 3-5 minutes on each side until fluffy.
- Substitute regular syrup with sugar-free syrup.
4. No Bake Chocolate Whey Protein Bars
If you’re a fan of chocolate whey protein in comparison to vanilla, this phenomenal recipe will help to satiate your craving for chocolate at any time of the day.
- Start by combining 1 cup of organic peanut butter,
- 3 tbsps of honey,
- 1 ½ cups of chocolate whey protein powder,
- 1 cup of uncooked oats, and
- 5 tbsps of water.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper and evenly spread the mixture.
- Place the entire tray in the freezer and wait for the bars to harden.
- Once they have reached the desired hardness, cut into portions and serve.