Whey protein powder is a form of protein supplement that is obtained from the liquid left behind during cheese production. It has several important health benefits, which are discussed in this article along with some of its possible side effects.
Whey protein is one of the most popular bodybuilding supplements, as it is a source of high quality and easily digestible protein. It is actually a by-product obtained during the production of cheese. The liquid left behind during cheese production is removed and then processed to make whey protein. The non-protein components and lipids are removed from the liquid, in order to increase the protein content of whey.
Types of Whey
Whey protein basically contains globular proteins, along with lactose, minerals, and a small amount of fat. It can be usually found in the form of powder, which in turn can be found in three forms, concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysate. Isolates are considered to be the purest form of whey. They are about 90% proteins, but they contain lower amounts of bioactive compounds, as compared to concentrates. Concentrates contain fats, cholesterol, and carbohydrates or lactose, along with proteins. Hydrolysates are the predigested form of whey, and are more expensive than the other two forms.
Whey is considered to be a complete source of protein. Along with proteins or amino acids, it contains a small amount of lactose, fats, and minerals. The amino acids or proteins found in whey powder can be digested quite easily by the body. So, whey provides easily available proteins for muscle building. It can help build lean muscles, as it is more easily absorbed by the body. In addition to this, it can also help the muscles repair and recover following an intense workout session. Muscle building basically involves tearing and repairing of the muscle fibers.
Along with building muscles, whey can help you shed those extra pounds. It helps build lean muscles, and the body burns more calories while building lean muscles. Moreover, proteins can help curb hunger and regulate the level of blood sugar, which can help manage weight. Whey can promote the health of the cardiovascular system and the immune system. It contains the branched-chain amino acids, which can facilitate protein synthesis as well.
When used judiciously, whey is safe to be used as a supplement. However, its overdose can cause a few side effects, such as abdominal cramps, loose and frequent bowel movements, bloating, headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, and increased thirst. Its excessive and prolonged use can adversely affect the kidneys and the liver. Individuals having allergy to cow milk should better avoid this protein. People having lactose intolerance may be able to tolerate the ‘whey protein isolate’, as it is prepared by removing the lactose and fats from whey. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should confirm with their physicians before using this protein powder.
Whey powder can be used to make protein shakes, cookies, muffins, and smoothies. All you have to do is add or blend it with other ingredients of the recipe, and then follow the usual procedure. However, be sure to buy whey supplements only from a reputed manufacturer, in order to avoid the undesirable effects that can result from an adulterated product.