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Whey is the way

Whey is the way

A recent study from the Whey Protein Research Consortium (WPRC) shows that whey protein may be more beneficial to our diet and body composition than previously thought. Whey is a simple protein found in most dairy products, but containers of the protein in powder form can be found in almost any major food store, making it highly accessible to anyone.

According to the study, published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, participants in the trial lost, on average, about nine pounds when whey was used to replace certain calories in their everyday diet. On the other hand, when whey was used as a supplement along with a resistance training plan and a normal diet, participants in the trial gained on average around five pounds of lean body mass, or muscle.

This research really interested me. Personally, I grew up a very skinny kid. I was always tall but never really seemed to gain any weight, whether it was muscle or fat. When I went to school last fall, I made it a priority of mine to work out more frequently and gain more muscle. When trying to gain muscle, you might hear a lot about steroids or creatine, which are supposed to help you gain muscle but have damaging long-term effects.

According to Michelle Remkus, a registered dietitian at the Advocate Good Samaritan Health and Wellness Center in Downers Grove, Ill., “Whey protein is the best protein supplement because it is fast-acting, quickly digested and has beneficial branch chain amino acids of BCAA. BCAA are important specifically in an athlete’s diet because they fuel your muscles during exercise and improve your muscle recovery after exercise.”

A nutritionist at school also steered me towards whey protein. So I followed their instructions and it helped me gain very necessary pounds of muscle.

If you want to use it to gain muscle, experts say it’s important to take protein very shortly after working out, say no more than 15 minutes. This will give you the best results and help you get in a good habit.

If you buy one of the tubs mentioned previously, certain brands come with a shaker bottle that will help break the powder down and mix it with the liquid of your choice, normally water or milk. Try bringing the bottle with you to the gym to avoid a long wait between working out and getting protein.

You can also buy protein shake drinks at a lot of gyms to help cut down on that time. Experts says to always ensure you are consuming the recommended amount of protein, as too much can be unnecessary, as your body will not be able to digest it and use all of it to repair muscle.

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6 Comments

  1. I’ve heard whey is much better then soy protein but I was never sure why. Thanks for sharing your own experience with whey protein.

  2. After reading this I am definitely going to try and bring my protein shakes with me to drink on the way home from the gym – I use an organic, whey, vegan (chocolate) protein that I mix up with some almond milk after workouts.

  3. I have used whey protein before and noticed a difference after workouts. I broke out of habit though, and would like to get back into it!

  4. I love whey and what’s it done for me, but my goodness. In the first sentence, you cite a study by the Whey Protein Research Consortium. Of COURSE they’re going to come out of that study with positive results that pushes their product!

  5. Jerome Schwich

    Lauren, I understand where you may see some bias. I read the study. How it was conducted, the results, and read countless statements from doctors independent of the research who agreed with the results and would recommend it. The consortium is interested in advancing knowledge of the product, not merely making a profit. If you visit their website, you will see that they are solely interested in finding more and more benefits to whey protein and informing the public of these benefits. Next time I will note the possibility of bias. Thank you.

  6. Well, this puts the lie to any assertions that cow’s milk is indigestible for adult and adolescent human beings (an assertion that typically comes from extreme vegetarians). After all, cow’s milk is the source of whey protein. Looks to me like it’s even more beneficial than we thought. Moreover, this persuades me that I’m better off exercising first thing in the morning — even though I’m NOT a morning person and will grouble through the whole ordeal — and immeditely following that up with either a smoothie than includes whey powder or else oatmeal with whey powder added to it. Which means my usual first-thing-in-the-morning cup of green tea will have to wait a few hours after breakfast (according to researchers at Purdue U., milk products make most of the EGCG and other catechins/polyphenols unavailable to the body, whereas sugar and lemon actually help absorbtion). For details, see ‘Citrus Juice, Vitamin C Give Staying Power To Green Tea Antioxidants” in Science Daily at: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071113163016.htm

    BTW, I’d find these results more persuasive if they hadn’t been industry sponsored. After all, if it turned out that whey protein didn’t help, would they have published the results – ? Maybe; maybe not.


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About the Author

Jerome Schwich
Jerome Schwich

Jerome Schwich, health enews contributor, is a marketing intern with Advocate Health Care. He is currently studying Sport Industry and Strategic Communications at The Ohio State University.

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