Whey protein is a popular sports supplement of choice, however, there are queries over its apparent benefits and potential harmful effects. So does consuming whey protein regularly actually enhance our physical prowess without deteriorating our health in the long run?
What is Whey Protein?
In the cheese making process, milk is being solidified into curds whilst leaving a clear liquid by-product known as whey. Initially discarded as waste, it was later found out that it contained rich amounts of beneficial, complete proteins (both essential and nonessential amino acids), thus, giving rise to the formulation of whey protein supplements.
The Benefits of Whey Protein
Effective fat burner : A study showed that whey protein was used to replace part of the calories consumed in participants. At the end of the study, the whey protein group saw significant reduction in body fat and lean muscles retention as compared to the control group.
Muscle growth and strength : Whey protein as providers of protein and amino acids which are fundamental building blocks necessary for muscle growth, on top of that, Whey can be easily absorbed by the body. It also helps increase anabolic hormones, such as insulin, which acts as stimulants to muscle growth.
Control Hunger : Protein takes a longer time to breakdown and digest as compared to carbohydrates and fats. This extended period of digestion will mean that the body will tend to feel for longer.
Other health benefits : Whey provides an array of other nutrients that are said to keep symptoms of stress/depression in check and lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Side Effects of Whey
Whey is generally safe for most adults, but some of the side effects through high dosage of protein include :
- Thirst (dehydration)
- Stomach bloats
It is important that you seek medical advice before beginning your supplement regime.
Whey Protein Myths Busted
Increase protein intake will hurt your kidneys : People with existing kidney issues will have to be careful when increasing their protein intake and done under strict medical supervision. Other than that, a fit and active person should have no issues in maintaining a protein rich diet. The key thing to take note is to drink lots of water to prevent dehydration.
Bone health risks due to high protein diet : Till date, there is still no proof that bone health deterioration is linked with high protein diets.
Suggested list of daily protein intake recommendations for individuals with varying tiers in lifestyle.
The recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein intake of an average adult hovers at around 0.8g/kg of body weight daily.
For weightlifters or bodybuilders who seek to build and maintain muscle mass should have a protein intake of 1.5 to 2.2 g/kg of body weight per day.
Endurance athletes (running, swimming etc.) should consume about 1.2 to 1.4 g/kg per body weight of protein daily.
Read also: Where to Buy Protein Powder in Singapore
If the daily diet is already rich in protein (poultry, lean red meat, low fat dairy products), then there might be little need to supplement whey protein into the dietary mix. The key is to consume everything in moderation.
(1) Kris, G. (2014, October 5). Whey Protein 101: Surprising Benefits of Powders and Shakes. Retrieved September 1, 2015, from http://authoritynutrition.com/whey-protein-101/
(2) Shannon, C. (2015, March 17). Women And Protein: Your Complete Guide – Bodybuilding.com. Retrieved September 1, 2015, from http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/women-and-protein-your-complete-guide.html
(3) Lisa, F. (n.d.). Whey Protein. Retrieved September 1, 2015, from http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/supplements/whey-protein
(4) Denise, W. (2014, June 1). Athletes and Protein Intake. Retrieved September 5, 2015, from http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/060114p22.shtml
(5) Kris, G. (2014, March 20). Protein Intake – How Much Protein Should You Eat Per Day? Retrieved September 1, 2015, from http://authoritynutrition.com/how-much-protein-per-day/
By : Alvin Ho
B (Eng), MBA, Certified Allied Healthcare/Fitness Professional (EIMS), Master Fitness Trainer / Fitness Nutrition, Resistance & Endurance Training Specialist (NFPT)