What exactly is whey protein?
Before understanding the benefits of protein shakes, let us understand what exactly is whey protein and how it is made.
When milk turns to cheese, the liquid left behind is known as whey protein. While making cheese, milk separates into curd, which is known as casein and the liquid, called whey. Whey is most commonly known as the primary protein in dairy products. Whey protein is essential for individuals of all ages, from infants using it as baby formula, gym rats using whey protein shakes, or even older adults using it in their nutritional shakes. Whey protein is a great way of increasing your daily protein intake to promote a healthy lifestyle and fight various diseases. We have researched a few of whey protein’s most highlighted health benefits that have been vetted and proven.
Consuming whey protein shakes has several benefits –
1.Helps build muscle mass.
Whey protein is made up of branched-chain amino acids. Amino acids are used to build new muscle and restore damaged tissues. Our bodies generally break down the food we digest and extract amino acids; however, studies have shown that the human body may not receive all 9 amino acids needed to thrive from our daily diet. Whey protein is a great way to receive the needed amino acid to help heal existing tissues and build new muscle.
(Recommended to take after exercise since it is easier for the body to absorb the amino acids)
Inflammation is the body’s way of communicating certain damage and chronic illnesses. Whey protein reduces inflammation, in turn fighting several diseases. Whey protein reduces negative health risks by increasing glutathione levels. (Glutathione is known to reduce stress, improve cell damage and help fight auto-immune diseases). Studies show that whey protein supplements can help reduce CRP (C reactive protein), which causes inflammation in the body.
3.Helps in weight loss
Whey Protein is proven to help with losing weight. Protein is a very filling micronutrient that does not leave us immediately hungry for more food and helps fulfil our hunger. Certain foods are more satiating. This means that certain foods help us stay full for longer and suppresses food cravings. Whey protein is more satiating than other forms of protein like soy or casein. While following a calorie deficit diet, whey is extremely helpful. Therefore, whey protein can help reduce ‘snacking’ by keeping you full for longer. Increasing your daily protein intake helps by boosting metabolism, which in turn can you to lose more calories. (For best results, combine whey protein with regular exercise).
4. Controls Blood sugar and cholesterol
Evidence-based studies suggest that whey protein can help reduce cholesterol levels, especially bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol). Whey protein can also help regulate blood sugar levels. Whey protein stimulates gut hormones and insulin as well. While consuming a meal high in sugar, whey protein increases insulin production, which helps balance out the high-sugar meal. Whey is comparable to other diabetes medication; it is even said to be a much more appropriate form of protein intake than eggs or fish. (Consuming whey protein before a meal that is high in carbohydrates is recommended since it moderates blood sugar)
5.Increases quality of life
Studies show that whey protein supplements increase immunity and promote athletic endurance. Whey protein benefits have also reduced oxidative stress and increased concentration power. It can also help improve bone mass density and increase natural antioxidants in the body. Whey protein contains high cysteine levels, which help improve the body’s natural antioxidant defence. Since whey protein is also known for regulating high blood pressure, it prevents heart diseases. Whey protein contains cytokinins which have numerous benefits on blood pressure. It is also beneficial for inflammatory bowel disease caused by chronic inflammation.
All in all, whey protein has innumerable benefits. Although it has received a certain amount of backlash in the past for being heavily touted by gym junkies, whey protein benefits people of all ages despite going to the gym. We recommend you to check with your doctor before consuming whey protein if you have any pre-existing illnesses or conditions.