Those who regularly hit the gym are bound to have spotted fitness fanatics sipping on a whey protein shake. For many bodybuilders, whey protein supplements are an essential addition to their diet. This is due to their function as an aid in muscle protein synthesis.
However, whey protein intake isn’t only beneficial for helping to build muscle. Protein supplements can also be used by both men and women to help promote weight-loss. They have the potential to help combat body fat in a variety of ways.
To understand more about the potential benefits of whey protein powder for weight loss, we’ll be diving into all aspects of whey protein. Here you’ll learn how to potentially use whey protein for weight loss.
We will also cover the different types of whey proteins. This includes whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, and whey protein hydrolysate – so that you can make an informed decision on the best type of whey protein supplementation for you.
What is whey protein?
Essentially, whey protein is an alternative to whole foods. Building lean muscle mass and weight loss are often the main goals of taking a protein supplement.
Whey protein is a by-product of cheese production. It is drawn from liquid whey, the watery portion of milk that is separated from the curds during the cheese-making process. This leftover liquid product is processed to form a low lactose (sometimes referred to as “milk sugar”) content powder, known as whey protein, which contains all of the 9 essential amino acids.
As a supplement, whey protein powders can promote the growth of lean tissue mass, as well as improve muscle protein synthesis. Some evidence shows that drinking shakes made with whey protein powders can help women to lose fat, whilst retaining lean muscle mass.
In order to effectively use whey protein shakes to aid weight loss, it’s important to understand how to incorporate them into your regular diet. We’ve put together some suggestions below for the appropriate times of day for drinking whey protein shakes, that we have found beneficial for those aiming for weight loss.
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Do bear in mind that whey protein should not be used at all of these times.
While whey protein is widely tolerated by most people, those who suffer from lactose intolerance should be wary, and some may even find they’re allergic to it. In terms of taste, whey protein is available in many different flavors, making it a delicious addition to recipes such as smoothies.
Whey protein as a meal replacement / snack replacement
Given that we live in such a fast-paced world, many individuals struggle to find the time to eat breakfast. To save time, many look to fuel themselves for the day ahead by whipping up a breakfast smoothie. Opt for a combination of:
- a liquid, such as a healthy fat (avocado)
- handful of fruit or veg
- a spoonful of whey protein powder
Not only is this a quick and convenient alternative to a time-consuming breakfast, but it’s a great option for getting in all the nutrients your body needs to kick-start the day.
Compared to other food types, proteins – including whey protein – help to keep you feeling fuller for longer. This then reduces the temptation to graze. Avoid the mid-afternoon reach for a sugar filled snack, by whipping up a whey protein shake. It certainly makes for a more delicious alternative to a can of tuna, or a couple of boiled eggs.
Can whey protein help you to stop overindulging?
We’ve all been guilty of giving into the urge to overindulge in foods we shouldn’t. If you feel tempted to reach for the cookie jar, opt for a whey protein shake instead. Not only will it fill you up, it will help you to resist the temptation to make unhealthy food choices.
Whey protein: Both a protein boost and BCAA boost?
Proteins are an essential part of our diet, acting as the “building blocks” of the human body.
They are made up of chemicals called amino acids, which our bodies use to build various things such as muscles, tendons, and organs. They’re also essential for making hormones and enzymes.
While some amino acids are produced by cells in our bodies, we have to acquire others in our diets. The ones that we get from food are named ‘essential amino acids’.
The best type of proteins are those that apply all of the nine essential amino acids that we require for healthy bodily functions. Whey protein ticks this box, by providing us with all nine. Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), such as leucine and cysteine, are particularly important, and whey protein contains high amounts of these.
According to studies, leucine is the most growth-promoting of the amino acids, and cysteine helps to improve levels of the cellular antioxidant glutathione.
In fact, it appears that whey protein is especially effective in aiding growth in humans. Where cow’s milk is 20% whey, human breast milk is 60% whey protein.
Whey protein: Whey protein concentrate vs Isolate vs Hydrolysate
There are multiple popular types of whey protein, and the main differences between these types lies with the methods of processing.
- Concentrate: Concentrate whey proteins consist of around 70-80% protein, they contain some lactose and fat, and have the best flavor.
- Isolate: Isolate whey protein is higher in protein content, coming in at 90% protein, or higher. They also contain less lactose and fat, and lack many of the beneficial nutrients that are found in whey protein concentrate. However, they make for a better choice for those who are lactose intolerant.
- Hydrolysate: Whey protein hydrolysate – also known as hydrolyzed whey – is also a good choice for those who are lactose intolerant, but still want to reap the benefits of whey protein. Whey protein hydrolysate is pre-digested, meaning that it is absorbed by the body faster.
When it comes to deciding which type of whey protein concentrate to choose, whey protein concentrate takes the top spot due to the value for money of this option, and the overall quality of the ingredients.
However, although whey concentrate is the most popular form, most studies concentrate on whey protein isolate.
What about whey protein and muscle building?
Whey protein supplementation is mostly known for its ability to help increase muscle mass and strength. For this reason, many athletes and bodybuilders choose to start drinking protein shakes to promote muscle growth and to maintain the health of lean tissue mass. It’s also a popular choice for those who are simply aiming to improve their performance in the gym, in addition to those following a weight loss program.
Whey protein helps to promote muscle strength in the following ways:
- Building blocks: Whey protein is considered a complete protein, providing essential amino acids which serve as the building blocks required for muscle growth and repair.
- Hormones: Whey protein supplementation helps to stimulate muscle growth by increasing the release of anabolic hormones, such as insulin.
- Leucine: Leucine is present in high levels in whey protein, an amino acid known to stimulate muscle protein synthesis.
- Fast absorption: Compared to other types of protein, whey protein is absorbed and used quickly by the body. This makes a very efficient option for accessing the many benefits associated with adequate protein intake.
Given that muscle protein synthesis is higher in the period following exercise, whey protein is most effective at aiding muscle growth when consumed pre-workout, during a workout, or post-workout.
There are other types of protein available, such as pea or soy protein. While these options are preferred by vegan athletes, due to their plant-based credentials, whey protein tends to perform better.
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Regularly consume high protein foods? There may be little benefit to additional whey protein supplements.
Can whey protein improve satiety? And weight loss?
Studies have shown that an increased whey protein supplement dose could reduce dietary intake, helping to aid weight loss, by providing the consumer with a more satiating macronutrient.
Additionally, protein in general can help an individual to boost energy expenditure by 80-100 calories per day.
Some studies have found that opting for whey protein over other sources of calories can cause weight loss, while increasing muscle mass, when the intake of whey protein concentrate is combined with weight lifting.
Other health benefits of whey protein
Muscle mass and weight loss aren’t the only benefits of whey protein. It can also provide many other health benefits.
As a high-quality protein source, whey protein contains many beneficial nutrients including lactoferrin, beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin and immunoglobulins.
Whey protein can also help with lowering blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Reduced cancer and hepatitis risks, as well as improved immune function in HIV patients, have shown to be benefits of adding whey protein into your diet.
The high levels of the amino acid cysteine in whey protein seems to be an important factor in facilitating these many health benefits, by raising the levels of glutathione, which is the main antioxidant substance in the body’s cells.
The fact that whey protein is very high in the amino acid cysteine seems to mediate many of these health benefits. Cysteine does this by raising levels of glutathione, the main antioxidant substance in your body’s cells, which is important in promoting immune function.
Whey protein and exercise
It’s important to remember that whey protein shakes alone won’t help you to lose weight. Exercise, such as resistance training, is an integral part of staying fit and healthy. For maximum benefit, they should be a regular feature in your lifestyle, if you’re looking to lose weight.
Frequency and nutrition
A varied and balanced whole food diet is vital for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Whey protein shouldn’t replace all meals, even if your goal is weight loss. Whey protein should only be used as a supplement to your existing diet.
Make sure you’re aiming to eat a non-processed, natural whole food diet, incorporating a wide variety of different foodstuffs. This will ensure you’re intaking the right about of vitamins, minerals, and fibre.
Looking to incorporate a whey protein supplement into your diet? If your aim is to promote weight loss, we suggest limiting protein shake intake to just once per day. Once you have achieved your weight loss goal, whey protein shakes can be consumed post-workout to help with recovery.
The bottom line
Most healthy adults ingest enough protein to support their lifestyle without taking whey protein supplements. However, whey protein shakes can be an efficient, convenient, and effective way to boost protein intake and help with reaching the goals of a weight loss program.
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Those who consume whey protein may find that they feel satiated for longer. This will help reduce the temptation to snack! As a result of this, it can help you reach your weight loss goals. Additionally, whey protein can help individuals to lose weight by helping to boost metabolism as a result of muscle growth, which will help to keep body fat levels in check.
Is there another way to lose weight?
Whey protein shakes aren’t to everybody’s taste. Nor are they necessarily a long term solution for those who want to lose weight safely.
Plus, if you’re dairy, soy or gluten free, you’re probably gonna want to steer clear. We think we’ve found some contenders who are up to the task…
If your aim is to burn fat – fast – you’re going to love Trimtone. Made from 100% natural, proven ingredients, there are no nasty fillers or “secret” ingredients in sight. Plus, Trimtone is free from soy, gluten and dairy, with zero GMO ingredients.
There’s no need for a prescription. All it takes is one capsule each day to boost your body’s natural fat-burning abilities.
This max strength multi-action formula is one of our most popular products.
Packed with clinically proven ingredients, PhenGold is totally artificial-free, has zero side effects and also follows a vegan recipe!
Last but not least, enter Zotrim! A herbal weight loss aid, Zotrim works to suppress your appetite, so you can kick snacking to the curb.
Zotrim’s 100% natural formula comes in a convenient tablet form, utilizing natural ingredients that are clinically proven to reduce appetite.