Whey protein is among the best studied supplements in the world, and for good reason. It has a very high nutritional value, and scientific studies have revealed numerous health benefits.
Here are 10 health benefits of whey protein that are supported by human studies.
1. Whey is an Excellent Source of High-Quality Protein
Whey protein is the protein fraction of whey, which is a liquid that separates from milk during cheese production. It is a complete, high-quality protein, containing all of the essential amino acids. In addition, it is very digestible, absorbed from the gut quickly compared to other types of protein. These qualities make it one of the best dietary sources of protein available. There are three main types of whey protein powder, concentrate (WPC), isolate (WPI), and hydrolysate (WPH). Concentrate is the most common type, and is also the cheapest. As a dietary supplement, whey protein is widely popular among bodybuilders, athletes, and others who want additional protein in their diet.
2. Whey Protein Promotes Muscle Growth
Muscle mass naturally declines with age. This usually leads to fat gain and raises the risk of many chronic diseases. However, this adverse change in body composition can be partly slowed, prevented, or reversed with a combination of strength training and adequate diet. Strength training coupled with the consumption of high-protein foods or protein supplements has been shown to be an effective preventive strategy. Particularly effective are high-quality protein sources, such as whey, which is rich in a branched-chain amino acid called leucine. Leucine is the most growth-promoting (anabolic) of the amino acids. For this reason, whey protein is effective for the prevention of age-related muscle loss, as well as for improved strength and a better-looking body. For muscle growth, whey protein has been shown to be slightly better compared to other types of protein, such as casein or soy. However, unless your diet is already lacking in protein, supplements probably won’t make a big difference.
3. Whey Protein May Help Treat Type 2 Diabetes
Whey protein has been found to be effective at moderating blood sugar, increasing both the levels of insulin and the sensitivity to its effects. Whey protein has been found to be effective at moderating blood sugar, increasing both the levels of insulin and the sensitivity to its effects. As a result, whey protein can be effectively used as a supplementary treatment for type 2 diabetes. Taking a whey protein supplement before or with a high-carb meal has been shown to moderate blood sugar in both healthy people and type 2 diabetics.
4. Whey Protein May Enhance the Body’s Antioxidant Defences
Antioxidants are substances that act against oxidation in the body, reducing oxidative stress and cutting the risk of various chronic diseases. One of the most important antioxidants in humans is glutathione.
Unlike most antioxidants we get from the diet, glutathione is produced by the body. In the body, glutathione production depends on the supply of several amino acids, such as cysteine, which is sometimes of limited supply. For this reason, high-cysteine foods, such as whey protein, may boost the body’s natural antioxidant defences.
5. Whey Protein is Highly Satiating (Filling), Which May Help Reduce Hunger
Satiety is a term used to describe the feeling of fullness we experience after eating a meal. It is the opposite of appetite and hunger, and should suppress cravings for food and the desire to eat. Some foods are more satiating than others, an effect which is partly mediated by their micronutrient (protein, carb, fat) composition. Protein is by far the most filling of the three micronutrients. However, not all proteins have the same effect on satiety. Whey protein appears to be more satiating than other types of protein, such as casein and soy. These properties make it particularly useful for those who need to eat fewer calories and lose weight.
6. Whey Protein Can Help You Lose Weight
Increased consumption of protein is a well-known weight loss strategy. Whey protein has been shown to be particularly effective, and may have a superior effect on fat burning and satiety compared to other protein types.