Whey Protein: Highest Quality Protein Source
When it comes to protein supplements, it's hard to beat whey. Whey protein is one of the two major types of proteins derived from milk (the other being casein). It is considered 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 of protein. Because of this, it's particularly beneficial to bodybuilders and athletes, who have a higher demand for protein in their diets. In order to make a whey protein supplement, the whey must first be separated from the casein during the cheese making process. It is then purified into whey protein concentrate (WPC) by removing any fats, water, minerals and carbohydrates that may be present. The purified concentrate then goes through another stage of processing where any remaining carbohydrates and fats are further reduced. This final step yields whey protein isolate (WPI). Whey protein concentrates are typically 80 percent protein while whey protein isolates are typically 90 percent protein. The non-protein portion consists of moisture, fat, carbohydrates 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 when used in conjunction with exercise and a healthy diet. When most people say they want to lose weight, they actually mean that they want to lose fat while retaining or even increasing muscle and lean body mass. One way this is typically achieved is through calorie restriction. Because protein is so vital to health, during times of caloric deficit (such as when an individual is dieting), the body will breakdown muscle tissue to get the protein it needs. This results in a rapid loss of weight due to a decrease in muscle tone, size and strength. Using whey protein supplements keeps the body supplied with ample protein at all times, helping to preserve muscle tone and strength during dieting. When the body has an abundance of protein available, it is free to use fat as the energy source, resulting in the slower, but more beneficial weight loss.
Besides being an excellent source of high-quality protein, whey protein can also help support a healthy immune system. Whey protein concentrates are a rich source of protein fractions (immunoglobulins) that are known to support immune function in several ways. Whey proteins are an excellent — though often overlooked — supplement for anyone seeking immune system support.
Using Whey Protein Supplements
Whey protein is one of the most easily accessible types of supplements on the market. It 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 on the market because they're easy to use and come in a variety of flavors. They can be used on their own or mixed in with other types of supplements to create a personalized nutrition profile. The serving size varies greatly according to brand and product, but a single serving of whey protein can provide anywhere from 12 to 40 grams of protein. To put that into perspective, a single egg provides about 6 grams of protein.
One of the most common ways to consume healthy whey protein powder is in a shake. Just mix the whey protein powder with milk, water or fruit juice, then add in a little ice, fruit or other flavoring and blend into a creamy shake. The protein powder can also be added to baked goods or mixed into yogurt without compromising its quality.
For those looking for an on-the-go solution that's perfect for travel, ready-to-drink (RTD) whey protein supplements are a great choice. Of all the whey protein supplements on the market, pre-mixed drinks are the easiest to use because they're ready to be consumed and come in convenient single-serving size containers. Because they're so convenient, they're perfect for 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 those that are lactose intolerant. There are no known drug interactions to whey protein, but we recommend consulting your doctor before using whey protein supplements, especially if you are on a protein-restricted diet, have a kidney condition or have questions about using whey protein with prescription medication.