There is a growing interest in high-protein diets. Bodybuilders drink protein shakes to build their bodies while dieters nourish themselves with protein bars. Aside from fats and carbohydrates, protein is a very important component of a balanced diet. Our bodies require protein to build bones and muscles. Therefore, we need a steady supply of protein to keep ourselves strong.
Nutritionists recommend getting our protein from natural sources like fish, beef, chicken, beans, and nuts. However, most busy people are unable to get adequate protein for their daily needs. That is why protein powders are a practical choice. Currently, whey protein is one of the best protein sources available.
What Is Whey?
In the processing of cheese, milk releases a liquid by-product called whey. It is one of the best sources of protein for the following reasons:
- It contains all of the nine essential amino acids.
- It is a rich source of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), that promote growth and increase antioxidants like glutathione.
- It is more easily digested and absorbed by the body, compared to other proteins.
Whey is processed into whey protein powder – the main ingredient of protein shakes, bars, and meal replacement products. Depending on how they are processed, the whey protein belongs to three kinds:
- Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC), which contains up to 80 per cent protein, lactose, and fat
- Whey Protein Isolate (WPI), which contains 90 per cent protein but with fewer nutrients than WPC
- Hydrolysate, a pre-digested form that is absorbed faster by the body
Most consumers prefer WPC for their good taste. However, WPI is the better choice for people who are avoiding carbohydrates and fats. People with diabetes may prefer hydrolysate because it causes insulin levels to increase by up to 43 per cent.
Who Will Benefit from Taking Whey Protein?
You should seriously consider taking whey protein if your goal is to:
- Build your muscles
It is no secret that bodybuilders and athletes need whey protein to increase their muscles and enable them to lift heavy objects. Studies show that it is best consumed after workouts.
- Lose weight
If you want to feel full for longer periods, take whey protein. When combined with weight training, you lose more pounds when muscle mass increases.
- Boost your antioxidant levels
Cysteine, one of the amino acids of whey protein, increases glutathione levels. Antioxidants reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer by removing free radicals from the body.
- Increase bone density
Menopausal women and senior adults are at higher risk of osteoporosis. Taking a bone mineral density test will show the amount of calcium in your bones. Whey protein will assist in building your bone strength.
What Does It Taste Like?
The powder comes in vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate flavours. In addition to whey protein, most products contain prebiotic fibre and Thaumatin. Prebiotics stimulate the build-up of good bacteria in the digestive system. Thaumatin, on the other hand, is a natural sweetener that leaves an aftertaste of licorice.
Whey protein powder is added to shakes, pancakes, cookies, and pudding. This practice is a good way of improving the nutritional value of your breakfast and snack items.
Now that you know more about whey protein and its benefits, you should include it as a good source of high-quality protein in your daily diet.