The Link Between Whey Protein and Physical Fitness

While trying to build muscle mass, people often turn to proteins and other supplements for help. They help to rebuild the muscles after exercise, as well as speed up their body metabolism. If you’re not a fitness enthusiast, you might not have heard of whey protein. However, it’s currently one of the most sought-after supplements when it comes to staying fit.

What’s Whey Protein?

Whey protein comes from milk. Milk is made of two proteins – casein and whey. The whey can be separated from the casein as a stand-alone supplement. It can also be formed as a byproduct of the process of cheese-making. Even though the substance is separated from another protein, whey is considered a complete protein. This is because it contains all nine essential amino acids. Unsurprisingly, whey protein is low in lactose.

Different Types of Whey Protein

There are three basic types of whey protein – whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, and whey protein hydrolysate. Whey concentrate has low levels of fat and carbohydrates. Whey isolate, on the other hand, has been processed to remove even more fat and lactose. It’s usually about 90% protein. Whey protein hydrolysate is the predigested form of whey protein. In essence, it’s easier to digest than the other two types.

Another kind of whey protein you might come across is known as grass-fed whey protein isolate. As you know, whey protein is gotten from milk, which is gotten from cows. The cows in the production chain were fed healthy and organic grass for the entire length of their nurturing. This ensures that the milk, and ultimately, whey that’s extracted, is of supreme quality.

Whey Protein and Your Body’s Metabolism

Some studies have shown that whey protein has a positive effect on the body’s metabolism. For starters, research published in 2011 on ResearchGate shows that whey has the potential to lower blood glucose and insulin. The mechanism of this action isn’t fully understood, but researchers speculate that it has to do with incretins.

Incretins are hormones found in the body, and their job is to decrease the body’s glucose levels. Whey influences these hormones and prompts their actions. Additionally, the substance has also been shown to increase protein synthesis. The synthesis is particularly interesting because whey is consumed as a protein supplement. This means that besides forming a part of the body’s protein deposit, whey can also prompt the synthesis of new proteins. 

Other Benefits of Whey Protein

Besides reducing blood glucose, some of the other documented benefits of whey protein include the following:

  • Aiding in weight loss: Individuals who consume whey protein during their physical fitness programs were found to lose more weight than people who consumed control beverages.
  • Reduces blood cholesterol: Whey protein reduces the quantity of low-density lipoprotein (bad) fat in the body. It has also been shown to reduce the total amount of cholesterol in the body, as compared to casein.
  • Regulation of blood pressure: In one study, a group of people with hypertension was given whey protein and observed over a period of time. A control group was given non-whey beverages. It was found that the group given whey had a significant reduction in their blood pressure, as compared to the control.

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