Whey protein has undeniably made its mark in the health industry over the recent years, and although fitness and health professionals are continuously taking advantage of the benefits the protein offers, you may still find yourself asking: what exactly is whey protein?
Essentially, milk is made up of two different proteins: casein and whey. As whey is considered to be a complete protein, containing nine of our essential amino acids while also being low in lactose, it can be removed from the casein protein so we can bask in the bountiful range health benefits it provides. Ranging from effective weight loss to potential anti-carcinogenic properties, here are six proven benefits of whey protein.
Promotes Muscle Growth
When it comes to the fitness and training rewards of whey, gym-goers may be surprised to hear how the protein can significantly advance their results. Coupled with active resistance training, whey protein can increase the synthesis of protein in the body.
A study published in 2009 concluded that the consumption of whey protein in young, healthy men, following a resistance training session, stimulated skeletal protein synthesis to a greater extent than casein or soy.
This means people incorporating whey protein into their training scheme can potentially see greater muscle growth over time compared to those using alternative proteins or if they were solely undergoing the resistance training with no supplementation.
Weight Loss Effects
Not only can whey protein be a useful tool in the process of resistance training, but it has also shown potential to significantly assist with weight loss. For example, following the intake of a whey- protein supplement, a randomised study concluded that a 500 calorie diet coupled with whey protein resulted in a significant difference in regards to body fat loss compared to individuals only on the low calorie diet.
On top of this, subjects on the supplement also showed a greater preservation of lean muscle. This means, for those trying to get a leg-up in the weight loss game, whey protein may prove to be a useful tool.
Protein has a reputation for being an important element when it comes to weight loss, although whey protein may have an advance effected. Whey protein can increase the concentrations of satiety-related hormones in the body, leading to feelings of fullness. Needless to say, this effect comes in handy when trying to lose weight.
Known to be a weight loss, muscle growth, and even a cholesterol-lowering tool, whey protein proves to be an asset to have on your fight towards a healthy lifestyle. A study investigating the effects of whey protein on various bodily components established that those consuming whey protein over 12 weeks had a decrease in cholesterol compared to those consuming casein. This signifies that whey protein has the ability to lower the amount of LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) within our body, which would otherwise lead to artery wall hardening and a variety other health complications that we would much rather avoid.
An anti-carcinogenic? No…Whey! (sorry). Whey protein is a train that just won’t stop. This benefit has been the subject of research for many years with the protein showing some promise with regards to its anti-carcinogenic properties. An investigation involving rats, the incidence of colon cancer, and the consumption of whey protein produced some interesting results that may offer an insight into the prevention of cancer. In summary, the study concluded the rats that were fed a casein diet had a higher chance of developing colon tumours compared to rats on a whey based diet. More research needs to be done and is continuously being undergone to further examine this relationship, but needless to say, these are fascinating results.
Aside from cholesterol-lowering effects, whey protein can benefit the heart in more ways than one. In overweight or obese individuals, whey protein has shown the ability to reduce blood pressure and support general cardiovascular health. As blood pressure is typically a precursor for a variety of chronic diseases later in later, this blood pressure effect that whey protein can offer, while simultaneously increasing weight loss and lowering cholesterol, is an effect that can help transform and shape a healthy lifestyle.
The list of benefits that whey protein can offer its users is rather extensive, and yet, scientists are still uncovering many different therapies that incorporate the benefits of whey. It seems we are only scratching the surface of this milk-based protein, so there’s simply no telling what the next 10 or 20 years of scientific research could deliver.