Whey protein background

Beginner’s Guide: All what you need to know about whey protein

In this guide we will talk about the most popular protein supplement for athletes and bodybuilders. And if you are serious about your workout then whey protein will be definitely your best friend.

After you read this "in-depth" guide you will become a pro about the dosage, the precautions and the different kinds of the whey protein.

Other names: whey powder, whey, whey protein.

Notice: This guide covers only the whey protein sold for increasing muscle mass or improving physical performance because there are other, much more expensive whey protein that is used to stimulate the performance of the immune system.

What exactly is the whey protein?

Whey protein, or whey, is a natural substance, extracted from cow's milk. Its uses in sports nutrition are well known and it is best known for its properties which are very interesting for gaining muscles such as: high biological value, complete aminogram and especially the speed of absorption by your body.

One of the main characteristics of whey protein is its amino acid composition , almost ideal, because it is very similar to that of breast milk. The composition of amino acids is called aminogram , it defines the quality of body absorption of protein.

The whey protein is partially free of its fat, the average content is 2.5% to 5%. Almost all lactose is removed from whey (and even all of it in some products)

Whey helps increase muscle mass and improves physical performance

How much protein to take?

The normal daily dose, including protein in the diet, is between 1.2 g and 1.8 g per kg body weight (nearly 90 g to 126 g for a 70 kg person). It should not exceed 2 g / kg, otherwise the excess protein will turn into fat. 

When whey protein is used to increase muscle mass, it is important to take it about 1 hour before or after intense exercise. In general, the period after exercise (30 minutes to 1 h 30) is preferred because digestion of this protein during exercise can reduce your performance.

whey protein scoop

Total protein intake

Per kilogram of body weight

For a person of 70 kg

Recommended Dietary Allowance

0.8 g / kg per day

56 g per day

Average American

1.2 g / kg per day

84 g per day

Athlete (bodybuilding)

From 1.7 to 1.8 g / kg per day

From 119 to 126 g per day

Athlete (endurance)

1.4 g / kg per day

98 g per day

How exactly the protein is made ?

In the process of making cheese, the milk is separated into 2 compounds: the curd, semi-solid material that will become the cheese, and the whey, a liquid containing 90% water and the rest is not only protein but protein , carbohydrates , fats , vitamins and minerals.

Whey protein composition

The whey goes under various processes to be filtered and then dried to obtain a powder. Commercially available whey protein products are generally soluble concentrated powders to be mixed with a liquid of your choice to get the best protein dose.

Types of whey protein :

Over time, whey protein has evolved to become more powerful than what was expected. The first to make its appearance was concentrated whey, whose concentration rate reaches 80%. When the whey isolate appeared, with a purity of more than 90%, the road was ultimately traced for the arrival of the ultimate generation of proteins: hydrolyzed proteins.

Concentrated whey protein

Concentrated Whey is the cheapest and most common whey type of whey protein, frequently used to enrich a protein diet and maximize muscle mass. While the protein isolate normally shows a level of more than 90% pure protein in its concentration but the concentrated whey protein reaches a maximum of 89%.

The concentrated whey protein contains lactose, fats and some minerals, many of which have benefits.

Its 5 sources of protein make it a very good product for those who expect more than just whey protein. To maximize muscle growth, MusclePharm has created a protein based on several sources, so that it can grow muscles instantly efficiently!

It has awesome different tastes which were tested (chocolate, peanut butter, cookies & cream and vanilla). All tastes are great and most importantly, they keep their flavor when cooked in pancakes. No chemicals or other aftertastes.

Whey protein isolate

Representing the purest whey protein type, whey protein isolate (also known as 'whey isolate') consisting of more than 90% of pure protein. This supplement is obtained by processing and filtering the concentrated whey protein so that it is free of lactose, carbohydrates, fats and cholesterol.

One the main benefits of the whey protein isolate is that the body absorbs it more rapidly.

Then the manufacturers can take that whey protein isolate to break it down even further to hydrolysis in which protein is broken down into peptides which are absorbed even more rapidly and at this point we get the whey protein hydrolysate.

The 100% Whey Gold Standard from Optimum Nutrition is one of the best whey proteins in the market. It is powerful and very effective, it is one of the most popular protein supplements for athletes, and has already won many awards. With an always pleasant taste, it is the ideal supplement for the bodybuilders and sportsmen in their journey for getting in shape.

Pros

  • The best-selling whey protein in the world.
  • Won the title of Best Protein of the Year and Best Food Supplement of the Year for 10 years in a row in bybodybuilding.com.
  • Stimulates muscle growth and helps in recovery.
  • Is made from blending 3 whey proteins to give optimal results.

Cons

  • Tastes unsuitable for certain consumers.
  • Sells quickly and is not always available in desired taste.

Hydrolyzed Whey Protein

As far as whey protein is concerned, hydrolyzed whey is considered the gold formula. Unlike the concentrate or isolate, this protein is obtained by hydrolysis: it has been pre-cut into smaller chains. Breaking long protein chains by enzymatic reaction, creating large peptides, allows maximum absorption speed.

Hydrolyzed protein supplementation can help stimulate and strengthen the immune system, increasing the rate of glutathione absorption, which helps detoxify the body and protect cells and the immune system.

As a result that the hydrolyzed whey is the fastest to be absorbed, it represents the best protein to take just after training. This is why it is “normally” offered at a higher prices.

PLATINUM HYDROWHEY is a ready-to-mix protein powder with added amino acids, digestive enzymes and sweeteners. 
PLATINUM HYDROWHEY contains a protein from a single source composed exclusively of hydrolyzed whey protein isolate.

By the hydrolysis of whey protein isolate, Optimum Nutrition has invented the fastest-acting whey protein in the market. Ideal for bodybuilders seeking to develop their muscle mass with a product of exceptional quality, Platinum Hydrowhey will be your favorite whey protein.

Hydrolyzed Whey Protein

Pros

  • Developed from pure hydrolyzed whey protein isolates for instant release of amino acids and faster muscle synthesis.
  • Zero lactose, cholesterol or carbohydrate.
  • Nearly 9 grams of BCAA.
  • Each preparation contains 30 g of pure whey protein.

Cons

  • The aftertaste is not good as we want
  • artificial chemical flavoring smell is overpowering

Why is whey protein superior to other proteins?

Whey protein stimulates and improve muscle mass more than casein and soy protein for young and elderly individuals, whether it is taken before or after physical activity. This difference depends, among other things, on the amino acid content and its ability to be well absorbed. When it is taken, whey protein is rapidly digested and, as a result, rapid and marked increase of amino acids in the bloodstream is seen, and this will lead to muscle mass stimulation.

On the other hand, soy protein and casein are digested and absorbed slowly. It is important to note that whey protein is a complete protein, i.e. it contains all the essential amino acids. It has a large amount of leucine, an amino acid that plays a key role in stimulating muscle mass.

Effects of taking whey protein on muscle mass and strength

The most known effect of whey protein, is that is helps the body to increase the muscle mass and strength. Whey Protein is so popular among most athletes (bodybuilders, fitness models, runners etc…) as well as other athletes looking forward to improving their physical performance.

The main effects / benefits of whey protein on muscle are:

Repair and Construction

Whey protein provides amino acids , which is considered as building blocks that accelerate muscle recovery and increase muscle growth rate.

Hormones

it increases the release of anabolic hormones like insulin, which can stimulate muscle growth.

Leucine

: It contains a lot of amino acid leucine, which is known to stimulate the absorption of muscle protein.

Rapid Absorption

Whey protein is absorbed and used very quickly compared to other types of protein.

Whey protein can help you lose weight.

It is well known that protein diet can help to you lose weight. Indeed, protein is the most interesting macronutrient. Protein can boost the metabolism by 80 to 100 calories per day, and lower you daily food consumption up to 441 calories a day.

Dosage for bodybuilders and side effects

The recommended doses are 1 to 2 scoops (about 20 to 50 grams per day), usually after the workout. According to a Canadian study conducted at McMaster University in 2009, 20 grams of protein consumed in a snack after training is the minimum dose to stimulate muscle protein.

In fact, the dose depends mostly on the amount of muscle you have. The more muscular  mass you have, the more protein your body needs to maintain its lean mass. There is also the "age" factor that has to be taken into account.

When to take whey protein?

This is an inevitable question asked during sports coaching, or by bodybuilders. There are different times of the day during which it can be taken.

Before your training

The snack will be taken at least 30 minutes to one hour before training. The quantity depends on your muscle mass: between 20 and 40 g of whey depending on your body weight and muscle mass. Again, if your training is long (more than 2 hours) you can opt for a blend of whey and casein

Waking up

After a good night's sleep, offering a good amount of protein to your body and your muscles is perfect .A good dose of protein on awakening is a good plan.

Right after your training

When you do your training, the blood that circulates in your veins will be a little diverted to your muscles. It be fantastic to take your protein right after your training. The goal is to maximize the protein synthesis that initiates muscle building. The appropriate protein dose at this time is about 40 g.

During your training

If you take a protein before and after training it is not necessary to add a catch during your session.

If you take whey protein within an hour after your training, it is useless to resume the whey right after the effort.
On the other hand, we are not all equal. Blood diverted to the muscles means less blood for your digestive system, which explains why some people cannot eat or take a protein right after their training.

How to take your whey protein?

It is advisable to consume 1.2 to 2 gr of whey per kilo of body weight per day , depending on your muscular activity.

And it is advised that you take the following doses for these purposes :

Weight maintenance

1.2 to 1.6 grams per kilogram of body weight per day

Muscle mass development

1.6 to 2 grams per kilogram of body weight per day

Getting Shredded

1.5 to 2 grams per kilogram of body weight per day

Precautions for use of whey proteins

Whey proteins contain lactose. If you are lactose intolerant , try a lower lactose supplement like whey protein isolate or whey protein hydrolyzed. You also need to know that the concentrated whey contains a little bit of it. 

Whey protein is probably safe for most adults when used appropriately. High doses can cause side effects, such as increased intestinal movements, nausea, SED, swelling, cramping, loss of appetite, fatigue, and headache.

whey protein allergy

Whey proteins can cause, albeit rarely, allergies. Avoid them if you are allergic to milk or lactose. A person with an allergy to milk or whey protein, may suffer from diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal colic, gas and bloating.

 

If you are allergic to dairy products, you should stay away from all dairy products and make sure you read the labels. And if you are unsure of the type of protein that causes your allergy, move away from anything that contains whey.

Which protein is lactose-free ?

A low lactose content of whey is a common feature. But, if you want lower content of lactose,which is more safe for those who are allergic to lactose , we recommend you the whey protein isolate .it is almost free of fat and lactose (<1%), but at an additional cost, which is justified by its higher purity and protein concentration. 

This means that a good whey protein isolate contains very little lactose and you may be able to consume it even if you are sensitive or intolerant to lactose and milk products because you will be taking “nearly” pure protein.
You can also go for whey protein hydrolyzed for high concentration.

Is whey dangerous for the kidneys?

A common misconception about the dangers of Whey is that it can harm the kidneys. How many times have you heard it "too much protein will destroy your kidneys". 

This is a common statement, heard when talking about high-protein diets. You might think there should be a lot of evidence to indicate that. Like many other statements about nutrition, they are false and can only be verified by scientific or practical studies. 

Scoop of chocolate whey isolate protein in a black plastick containter on white

How to treat lactose intolerance?

The most effective treatment against the symptoms of lactose intolerance is to take a lactase supplement before taking your whey.  Taking the supplement will provide your body with the necessary amount of lactase to successfully digest the lactose. 

But this is not really an ideal long-term solution, the best being really to remove the sources of lactose from your diet.

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