If you go to the gym, are involved in any physical sport or are a generally active health-conscious individual, then you will likely have heard of whey protein. It is also likely that you may already be taking whey protein in the form of a protein shake.
But why do you need a protein shake? What purpose does it serve? What is whey protein? Let’s dig deeper!
You see, our bodies continuously adapt to training and diets, and so as we place more demand on our muscles, they, in turn, need Protein in the form of amino acids. These amino acids help the body repair the muscle fibres and grow, thus readying the body to deal with the physical load once more. This continuous cycle of breakdown, repair and compensation is what makes us bigger, stronger and faster.
Whey is a by-product of cheese manufacturing, and it is the liquid that is left remaining once the milk has been curdled and filtered.
Over 20 years ago, Dairy manufacturers worked with the industry to figure out how they could capitalise on this by-product. They found that the liquid could be cold filtered into powder and be used as a protein supplement.
In today’s nutritional supplement market, whey protein exists in powder form and liquid form and has become one of the world’s most popular sports nutritional supplements. This has been driven by its cost, availability and overall effectiveness for increasing their protein intake.
If you follow any fitness or exercise regime that provides stress to the body, be that weight, cardiovascular, endurance, or stamina, you will likely benefit from whey protein supplementation.
Your body will need a constant supply of amino acids in the form of Protein, and it is a good idea to get that primarily from food and then protein supplements.
Once the body has been provided with the essential nutrients, your muscle tissue’s recovery and rebuild process can begin, so having the right amounts (and levels) of Protein is critical to your progress and adaptation.
Whey Proteins are a high-quality protein source that are easily digested and well-absorbed within the human body.
They provide an excellent source of amino acids and so can augment your dietary protein requirements. Having the right amounts of Protein in the body, in conjunction with a fitness plan, will allow for muscle gain, limit muscle loss, and help lower overall body fat.
Adults need around 0.75g of protein/kilogram of body weight, and so for a 75kg person, they should aim for 56.25grams of Protein.
For those in regular training, this value can go up, and it is not uncommon for people to take up to 1.5g of protein/kilogram of body weight.
But a word of caution; before increasing or taking any supplement, you must speak to your Doctor and let them know of the changes you want to make.
Whey Protein comes in three forms (there is a fourth, but that is the raw form that is not used and not palatable)
Whey Protein Concentrate AKA WPC : The most popular form of whey protein in the market today, whey protein concentrate can range from 30% to 88% protein content. Whilst it has low-fat content, out of the three here it has the most fat within.
Whey Protein Isolate AKA WPI: The second more common form of whey protein, whey protein isolate, has between 89 and 92% protein and has virtually no fat. It is absorbed very fast in the guy and is used as part of a meal replacement or pre/post-workout plan.
Whey Protein hydrolysate AKA WPH: WPH is known as the gold standard of whey proteins as it is predigested (as it has gone through some hydrolysis, enabling the human body to absorb it faster). Whey protein hydrolysate is used for sports nutrition as well as medical formulas and infant milk powders.