Whey protein has been around many years and is most notable for use with athletes to assist build muscle.
Over the last few years, whey has been gaining much more attention for weight loss. Many manufacturers have started to develop their products making some of the choices harder to make.
Whether you are planning on using whey primarily for weight loss or building muscle, there are some important facts you should know when choosing the best whey protein.
What Is Whey?
Whey protein is formed as a by-product of making cheese when milk is forced through a filter either from a cold or a heat press. Cold press is preferred and produces an undenatured whey. Simply put, it doesn’t destroy the nutrients in the processing, unlike a heat press.
This cold process will provide a higher level of branched chain amino acids, specifically leucine. Leucine is considered a significant element in building muscle as well as preventing muscle breakdown such is seen with sarcopenia.
Different Forms of whey protein
- Concentrate – This form contains fat and carbs but also has a higher level of bioactive compounds
- Isolate – Is when the whey is processed more and has removed the fat and carbs but has a higher level of protein. On the downside, you have removed a good amount of the organic elements.
- Hydrolyzed Whey – Is whey protein even further broken making it easier to metabolize and deliver more protein but is also more costly.
- Native Whey – Is not a by-product of cheese production but skim milk and is considered the purest form of whey.
For you to best provide the best whey protein in your meal, you need to have enough in your shake. Studies have shown that having 20-40 grams of protein at each meal will lead to better weight management and increased muscle synthesis. If you are an athlete, you will benefit from using a higher amount, such as 36 grams. Higher levels of protein can also be helpful for weight loss for those who are trying to break free of a plateau.
Other important things to look for are avoiding any unnecessary additives such as artificial flavors, colors and sweeteners.
Meal Replacement VS Protein Shake
Whey can be found as a meal replacement or simply a protein shake. Meal replacements are most commonly used by those whose goals are primarily for weight loss, but athletes may use either form. A proper meal replacement shake should have at least 24 grams of protein along with a healthy balance of fat and carbs as well as fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Low fat or low carb shakes defeat the purpose of a meal replacement and do not provide a healthy balance, therefore, steer clear of those who promote low calorie shakes for meal replacement!
Many products on the market contain soy whether it be protein shakes or bars which may provide some help with your appetite but not for the purpose of building muscle or help with weight loss.
Whey has a higher amount of branched chain amino acids which many studies have concluded are considered the most effective for muscle growth. Having more muscle helps to burn fat because of the amount of calories needed when being used. No other tissue in the body burns as many calories as muscle.
A recent study even showed that using whey protein compared to soy after a workout was far superior for building muscle. Soy proved to be about as good as drinking water.
If you are serious about using the best whey protein, you should also think about the quality of what you are putting into your body. Make sure the product has been tested for herbicides, pesticides, heavy metals and all those other nasty toxins which serve no purpose except to further pollute your body.