Whey protein is the most talked about protein supplement in the market. Most individuals are not sure about the type, quality, and quantity of whey supplement they require. So, here’s a guide to clear up some doubts about commercial whey proteins. In general, commercial whey powders provide around 18-35 grams of high quality protein per serving. They are high biological value proteins, which contain all the essential amino acids, including leucine. They are the richest source of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs).
Whey protein is an ideal supplement for weight trainers, body builders, and athletes. During and after exercise, branched chain amino acids from whey are directly absorbed into the muscles. Additionally, whey dilates the arteries to facilitate better blood flow and transport of nutrients to the muscle tissues. The rapid protein delivery to the muscle speeds up recovery and enhances the build-up of muscle mass after exercise.
Moreover, the benefits of whey are not only limited to weight gainers; they are excellent for individuals who aim to lose weight. Whey slows down the absorption of glucose, which in turn reduces hunger by decreasing insulin levels and thus making it easy for the body to burn fat. Furthermore, they provide satiety and thus help to control the appetite of binge eaters. Whey even increases cellular glutathione, a key component of the immune system. Glutathione acts as a potent antioxidant and protects the cells from free radical (harmful substance) damage.
Today, there are various whey protein supplements available in the market. These mainly include whey protein concentrates containing about 75-85% whey protein along with fat and lactose. They are commonly available and are most economical as they are not the purest form of supplements. Whey protein isolate is the purest form of whey protein and contains about 95-99% whey with very little amounts of fat and lactose. Isolates are expensive as compared to whey concentrates. Hydrolyzed whey is a protein that is broken down into small fractions; and as a result, is easily digested and has a lower potential to evoke allergic reactions. It is a protein used by serious bodybuilders and athletes. It is the most expensive whey powder.
Whey proteins can be taken by any age group in consultation with a physician or nutritionist. The recommended daily intake of whey depends on the person’s age, height, weight, BMI, and protein consumed in his/her daily diet. However, extremely high doses of whey protein are not recommended, as this may put extra strain on the liver and kidneys to metabolize and eliminate their by-products. Also, individuals with lactose intolerance should avoid whey protein concentrates and always choose a pure whey protein isolate as it contains a negligible amount of lactose.