Search This Blog

Friday, March 20, 2015

No Whey? In Defense of this Popular Powder

Whey is the way!
With a growing array of plant-based and even defatted beef protein powders, it isn’t a good time to be whey as experts pounce on this once-respected protein.

“For many, whey protein shakes can cause gas, bloating skin irritation congestion and even weight gain because whey shakes have the tendency to cause insulin spikes leading to fat storage,” writes Jorge Cruise, clearly not a fan of commas or whey, pushing instead a beef-based protein powder he's selling.

Thankfully among the backlash, a few respected colleagues stand behind whey.

“Whey protein is the perfect food for
building muscle, losing excess weight and supporting good health,” writes Dr. Josh Axe. “It provides a more absorbable source of protein than any other source and is super-easy to digest.” 

Likewise, Dr. Jonny Bowden argues that “whey protein may be one of your best weapons in the weight loss war.” 

Whey Provides a Superior Amino Acid Profile

Whey becomes tops in my book for many reasons. Even though combining plant proteins yield a similar amino acid composition, they can’t match whey’s rock star profile.

Within that complete, superior amino acid profile, whey provides an impressive amount of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which comprise 35 percent of the essential amino acids in muscle protein.

Leucine, the most prevalent of the three BCAAs, is the only amino acid that can stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Leucine might also slow down protein breakdown.

The Science Behind Whey

Whey provides numerous benefits, including boosted immunity, thanks to an impressive array of protein fractions like beta-lactoglobulin and immunoglobulins.
If you don’t have a few hours to check out whey’s copious research, let me briefly describe a few benefits.

If you lift heavy, whey should be your go-to powder. One study shows whey stimulates muscle protein accretion better in older men than casein. 

Whether you’re a weekend warrior, a year-round athlete, or frequent heavy lifter, recovery becomes crucial for consistent peak performance. Whey can help replenish protein stores around your workout and improve muscle synthesis. One study found whey protein had a more dramatic effect post-workout increasing muscle protein synthesis compared with other powders. 

If becoming lean for an upcoming vacation is your goal, whey provides your ticket to curb cravings and burn fat. One rodent study found whey reduced appetite and decreased visceral as well as subcutaneous fat. Researchers here found whey improved insulin sensitivity, meaning you become a better fat burner. 

Quality and Taste Matter

I’m convinced the bargain-basement powders that dominate supermarkets and vitamin shops earn whey a sometimes-bad rep.

Among its problems, Dr. John Berardi notes cheap whey often contains the highly reactive protein component casein, lactose (sugar), and potentially harmful ingredients not listed on the label. Most commercial whey powders also have fillers, added sugar, artificial sweeteners, and unpronounceable names among its ingredients.

Whey derived from cows fed their natural diet, treated humanely, and ethically sourced, with as few ingredients as possible trumps those mass-market protein powders even if they cost more. Think beyond dollars here for your long-term health.

Whey-ing Your Other Options

If you notice bloating, fatigue, or other symptoms after a whey shake, you might be one of the few people ultra-sensitive to any form of dairy.

Many of these problems stem from casein and other reactive fragments “slipping” into the powder, yet occasionally someone absolutely can’t tolerate whey. For those folks, I recommend a high-quality pea-rice protein powder.

Whey also absorbs very quickly, unable to provide lasting satiety like slower-absorbing proteins. Around your workout, when your muscles demand fast-absorbing amino acids, whey becomes ideal. When you want a filling meal-replacement powder, not so much.

For a meal replacement, loading a protein shake with fiber-rich berries, healthy fats like avocado, freshly ground flaxseed, and coconut milk can help slow whey’s absorption so you stay full longer.

Even if you don’t suspect food intolerances or other problems, rotating so you aren’t using the same powder every day isn’t a bad idea. You might do whey one day and a pea-rice powder the next.

Is whey your go-to protein powder? If not, are you using a plant-based or defatted-beef powder instead? Share yours below or on my Facebook fan page.

You have permission to do so, free of charge, as long as the byline and
the article is included in its entirety:

Fitness expert and strength coach Jini Cicero, CSCS, teaches intermediate exercisers how to blast through plateaus to create incredible transformations. Are you ready to take your fitness to a whole new level?  Find out now!  Take Jini's "Are you Ready?" Quiz at© 2011 Jinifit, Inc.

If you use the article you are required to activate any links found in the article and the by-line. Please do not use this article in any publication that is not opt-in (spam).


Post a Comment