Whey Protein: Highest Quality Protein Source
Whey protein is one of the two major types of proteins derived from milk (the other being casein). Whey protein is the most bio-available of all food protein sources, meaning that it is more efficiently absorbed and used by the body than any other type. Whey protein is separated from casein during cheese production, and is then purified into whey protein concentrate (WPC) by removing fats, water, minerals and carbohydrates. Another stage of processing can further reduce the small amount of carbohydrate and fat that remains in WPC; this yields whey protein isolate (WPI). WPC's are typically 80% protein. WPI's are typically 90% protein. The non-protein portion consists of moisture, fat, carbs and minerals.
Whey Protein Benefits the Immune System and A Lean Healthy Body
As a fast-digesting protein source, whey protein is valuable to anyone looking to support their immune system as well as achieve and maintain a lean healthy physique.
Whey protein is not a weight-loss supplement per se, but it can help maintain lean body mass while dieting down and cutting calories. Virtually all people who want to 'lose weight,' in actuality want to lose fat while retaining or even increasing muscle and lean body mass. But since protein is so vital to health, during times of caloric deficit (i.e., dieting), the body will breakdown muscle tissue to obtain the protein it needs. This results in a rapid loss of muscle tone, size and strength. Using whey protein supplements keeps the body supplied with ample protein at all times, preserving muscle tone and strength, and maximizing the extent to which weight loss is due to actual fat loss.
Besides being an excellent source of high-quality protein, all whey proteins, especially WPCs, are a rich source of protein fractions (immunoglobulins) known to support immune function in several ways. Whey proteins are an excellent - but often overlooked - supplement for anyone seeking legitimate immune system support.
Using Whey Protein Supplements
Whey protein is available in a wide variety of formulas, formats and flavors, making it easy for anyone to use.
Whey protein powders are the most popular type of whey protein supplement. The whey protein in these products may be combined with other types of proteins, and other types of nutrients such as amino acids, vitamins and enzymes. The serving size varies greatly according to brand and product; accordingly, a single serving of whey protein can provide anywhere from 12-40 grams of protein. To put that into perspective, a single egg provides about 6 grams of protein.
Most people make shakes out of whey protein powder, using milk, water or fruit juice and adding ice, fruit, etc. to taste. Many people also bake with whey protein powder, or stir it into yogurt.
Ready-to-drink (RTD) whey protein supplements are also popular for their convenience and great when traveling or on the go.
Side-effects and Cautions:
Whey protein concentrate contains such small amounts of lactose that it may or may not be tolerated by lactose-intolerant individuals depending on their sensitivity. Whey protein isolates, however, are virtually lactose-free and are a better choice for these users. There are no known drug interactions to whey protein. Consult your doctor before using whey protein supplements if you are on a protein-restricted diet, have a kidney condition or have questions about using whey protein with prescription medication.