The journey to getting in shape can be filled with frustration as at some weeks you can see the difference, while at others you feel like you’ve plateaued. However, weight loss takes time and there isn’t any overnight solution, but yes there are several supplements you can use to help reach your body shape goals.
One, in particular, is whey protein powder, which is used by many active individuals to recover from workouts and maintain a controlled diet. So, if you have been thinking about introducing it in your fitness regime, then go ahead. There are a lot of good reasons to do so, however, you just need to ensure you know what whey protein exactly is, how to safely use it, and which whey protein is best for you.
To help you work this out, we have compiled this quick beginner’s Guide.
What is Whey Protein?
Whey is a milk by-product that is separated at the time of cheese production. Milk contains two main types of proteins, casein (80%) and whey (20%). Whey is the liquid part of the milk which is filtered, purified, and dried to form whey powder.
Whey powder has low lactose content, contains essential vitamins and minerals as well as has all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source. The most common use of whey protein is supplementation in the diet to ensure adequate protein intake, improve muscle synthesis, maximize lean muscle gain, and weight loss success. However, whey protein doesn’t have a taste on its own, that is why it is available in different flavors.
Types of Whey Protein
There are three main types of whey protein
Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC)
This variety is considered the most beneficial as it contains low levels of carbohydrates and fat in the form of lactose. The percentage of protein in WPC depends on its concentration and the other ingredients added. DP Whey Depot protein powder has 80% WPC content, making it a perfect all-rounder protein that tastes great.
Whey Protein Isolate (WPI)
This is a double-processed whey protein with minimal or no lactose and fat. In most cases, WPI contains 90% protein. Due to high amounts of processing, it lacks some of the highly beneficial nutrients found in concentrated whey protein.
Whey Protein Hydrolysate (WPH)
It is a specific type of protein that doesn’t require much digestion as WPC. This kind of whey protein undergoes partial hydrolysis making it easier for the body to absorb and digest. It is commonly used in infant formulas and medical protein supplements.
Benefits of Whey Protein
Consuming whey protein in moderate amounts has several benefits like:
Muscle Building – Consuming whey protein in conjunction with resistance exercises can improve the growth of lean tissue mass as well as helps burn fat faster. The amino acids and proteins that whey contains, help with muscle growth. It is the most effective when consumed immediately before, during, or after a workout.
Weight Loss – Whey protein increases the body’s metabolism thus aiding in weight loss. It also works to improve satiety, which makes people feel full quickly. This, in turn, helps them lose weight since they consume less food.
Lowers Cholesterol – Whey protein can significantly decrease total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol of the body. It works extremely well if combined with casein protein.
Other Benefits – Whey protein also helps regulate blood sugar, relieve inflammatory bowel syndrome, and help you deal better with depression and stress as well as works to protect against cancer. Apart from this, it increases bone mineral density, reduces symptoms of hepatitis, and increase immune functioning in HIV-positive individuals.
How to Choose a Whey Protein That is Right?
Not all whey protein powders are created equal, the right jug has nutrients to build muscles, while the wrong one has a lot of BS. Here are a few things you need to look out for to make the best choice.
Check the Protein Source
Your best bet is to go with whey protein isolate. This is because it is a complete protein and is more easily absorbed by the body. As compared, the casein-based powder is digested more gradually, making it slightly less effective for muscle synthesis.
Look at the BCAA Ratio
BCAA is short for branched-chain amino acids, the three protein building blocks vital for maintenance and growth. Most protein powder labels list BCAAs as a ratio of leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Look for a supplement with two parts leucine, one part isoleucine, and one part valine. This ratio is ideal for muscle building, fat loss, and fatigue. If these amino acids are not listed, go with another powder.
Cap those Carbs
You should always pick a whey protein powder that has up to 3% of your daily value of carbs per serving. Carbohydrates increase insulin, which promotes amino-acid absorption, stimulating muscle growth.
Lookout for Sweeteners
Most of the protein powders available on the market consist of artificial sweeteners to keep calories and carbs low. These sweeteners do more harm than good to your body. So, ensure to check the ingredients before you buy a whey protein supplement.
When to Take Whey Protein Powder?
The ideal time to consume whey protein powder depends on your training, eating habits, and goals.
However, there are certain times when you can take it.
Consuming whey protein right after training ensures your hard-working muscles can recover and adapt. This could be in the form of increased muscle mass, increased strength or decreased muscle soreness and fatigue.
On the Go
A sit-down meal is not always possible with our busy lifestyles. A protein shake is a convenient and ultimate solution for an on-the-go healthy snack, essentially when protein intake is frequently low like in the mid-morning or the afternoon.
Consuming whey protein before bed is another prime time to optimize your nutrition. If you exercise regularly then you need to ensure your body recovers properly. Depending on the type of exercise, the recovery phase can extend up to 48 hours post-workout. Consuming protein before bedtime will help prevent your body from shifting into the catabolism phase, which is the breakdown of muscle to be utilized as energy, undoing all that hard work.