What is Whey Protein?

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Whey protein is one of the most common proteins found in most energy bars, protein powders, and supplements.  But some of you may be wondering precisely is whey protein and why is it so commonly used?

Whey protein is one of the two proteins found in milk (the other one being casein). Whey is low in lactose and is categorized as a complete protein because it includes all 9 essential amino acids. Aside from that whey also contains a number of other important nutrients.

Boosting your protein intake is linked to weight loss and muscle building. Our muscles rely primarily on protein to build and develop. Proteins are made up of amino acid chains. Our bodies make some of these acids, but the other 9 are obtained from the foods we eat: hence why they are termed essential amino acids.

Whey protein is often used as a way to improve muscle protein synthesis and increase the growth of lean muscle mass.  Taking whey can add 25-30 grams of protein to your diet with one shake or drink. Whey is usually flavored and mixed into a drink or shake. Be careful when ordering it: always read the label as some forms contain added refined sugars.

There are three different ways whey is produced and sold.

Concentrate: Generally having the best flavor, concentrated whey contains 70-80% protein.

Isolate: While lacking a lot of the nutrients found in whey concentrate, this is lower in lactose and fat. Isolates contain about 90% protein.

Hydrolysate: This version can cause a 28%-43% greater spike in insulin levels than the other two but is pre-digested, so it’s easier for your body to break down.

Protein, in general, has been shown to aid weight loss and reduce cravings. Whey protein is proven to help preserve and build lean muscle mass while promoting weight loss.

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