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Whey protein contains an incredible range of essential amino acids, which are absorbed quickly 1. Numerous studies show that it can help you increase strength, gain muscle and lose significant amounts of body fat 2. There are tons of other nutrients in there, some with potent biological effects.
Whey protein has also been shown to have benefits for depression, blood pressure, blood sugar and even helping to treat symptoms of HIV and cancer 3.
This is a detailed article about whey protein Whey protein is a mixture of proteins isolated from whey. Whey is the liquid part of milk that separates during cheese production. Whey is found in the watery portion of milk. When cheese is produced, the fatty parts of the milk coagulate and the whey is separated from it as a by-product 4.
If you've ever opened a yogurt container to see liquid floating on top, this is whey. Cheese makers used to discard it before they discovered its commercial value 5. After being separated during cheese production, whey goes through a series of processing steps to become what people generally recognize as whey protein Whey protein doesn't taste very good on its own, which is why it is usually flavoured.
Chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavored powders are popular. It's important that you read the ingredients list, because some of them can have unhealthy additives like refined sugar. Taking whey protein is a convenient way to add grams of protein on top of your daily intake.
This can be important for bodybuilders and gym enthusiasts, as well as people who need to lose weight or are simply lacking protein in their diet. Most flavored whey proteins are also pretty delicious and can be used to make healthy recipes like smoothies taste incredibly good. Whey is generally well tolerated, although people with lactose intolerance need to be careful with it. There are also some people who are allergic to whey 7. This includes tendons, organs and skin Proteins are assembled from amino acids, smaller molecules that are linked together like beads on a string.
Some amino acids are produced by the body's cells, while others must be gotten from foods. The ones that we must get from foods are termed "essential" amino acids. Proteins that supply all the essential amino acids are the best Studies show that Leucine is the most anabolic growth promoting amino acid, and Cysteine can help boost levels of the cellular antioxidant Glutathione 9 , Whey protein appears to be particularly effective at stimulating growth in humans.
Whey protein concentrate seems to be the overall best option Many people also prefer the taste, which is probably because of the small amounts of lactose and fat.
If you have problems tolerating concentrate, or you're trying to emphasize protein while keeping carbs and fat low, then whey protein isolate or even hydrolysate may be a better option. Keep in mind that despite concentrate being the most popular form, most of the studies used whey protein isolate. The best known use of whey protein supplements, is for the purpose of increasing muscle mass and strength.
Whey protein is popular among athletes, bodybuilders, fitness models, as well as people looking to improve their performance in the gym. Whey protein has been shown to be particularly effective at increasing muscle growth when consumed right before, after or during a workout, but muscle protein synthesis is usually maximized in the time period after training 17 , 18 , 19 , However, a recent review of the evidence concluded that total daily protein intake is the most relevant factor in muscle growth.
Whether protein is consumed around the workout or not doesn't seem to matter much When compared to other types of protein, such as soy protein, whey protein has usually performed slightly better 22 , When compared to casein, the evidence is more mixed.
Whey appears to be effective in the short-term, but casein stimulates muscle growth over a longer period, so the net effect appears to be similar 24 , 25 , 26 , 27 , In a study of elderly individuals who were already eating adequate protein, there was no difference in muscle growth between whey and carbohydrate, during 12 weeks of resistance training Therefore, the evidence of whey protein on muscle and strength is mixed, and the results may vary greatly between individuals.
If you're already eating plenty of meat , fish, eggs and dairy also high in quality protein , then the benefits of adding whey will probably be minimal. It is the most fulfilling macronutrient, by far Protein can boost metabolism by 80 to calories per day , and make people automatically eat up to fewer calories per day 31 , 32 , 33 , Taking whey protein is a great way to increase your protein intake, which should have major benefits for weight loss.
Studies have shown that replacing other sources of calories with whey protein, combined with weight lifting, can cause weight loss of about 8 pounds, while increasing lean muscle mass Whey is more than just a high quality protein source, it also contains other beneficial nutrients. This includes lactoferrin, beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin and immunoglobulins Beyond just muscle, strength and leanness, whey protein can provide numerous other health benefits. This includes lowering blood pressure, blood sugar and reducing symptoms of stress and depression 40 , 41 , 42 , It has also been shown to help protect against cancer, reduce symptoms of hepatitis, increase bone mineral density, improve immune function in HIV patients and increase lifespan in mice 44 , 45 , 46 , 47 , 48 , 49 , 50 , 51 , 52 , 53 , The fact that whey protein is very high in the amino acid Cysteine seems to mediate many of the health benefits.
Cysteine does this by raising levels of Glutathione, the main antioxidant substance in the body's cells 55 , Here is a list of even more health benefits: A commonly recommended dosage is scoops around grams per day, usually after workouts. Keep in mind that if your protein intake is already high, adding whey protein on top of your current intake may be completely unnecessary.
Despite concerns about protein causing kidney damage and contributing to osteoporosis, this is not true. In fact, protein has been shown to protect against osteoporosis, while having no impact on healthy kidneys 57 , 58 , 59 , However, people with current kidney or liver issues may want to avoid whey protein, or at least consult with a medical professional before taking it.
Eating too much whey protein can cause digestive issues such as nausea, flatulence, diarrhea, pain and cramping. Some people are also allergic to whey. If you can't tolerate regular whey protein concentrate, then isolate or hydrolysate may be more appropriate But generally speaking, whey protein has an excellent safety profile and most people can consume it without any problems whatsoever.
At the end of the day, whey protein is an exceptionally healthy way to add more protein to your diet. It is a quality protein source that is absorbed and utilized efficiently by the human body. This is particularly important for athletes, bodybuilders, or people who need to gain muscle mass and strength, while losing fat. When it comes to muscle gain and fat loss, protein is the king of nutrients For more details on the benefits of protein and how much of it you should be eating, read this: An evidence-based nutrition article from our experts at Authority Nutrition.
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