Welcome to the site! For our first post, we would like to educate our fitness-minded readers on 10 scientifically proven benefits of whey protein. We feel that whey protein, while having been around for decades has been in recent years unfairly maligned as a subpar protein source, and as a result many people are needlessly wasting money on more expensive forms of protein supplementation such as hemp protein and beef protein. Without further ado, here are the benefits.
#1: Whey protein is a superior protein source
Whey protein contains all nine essential amino acids (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine) and a significant number of non-essential ones as well. In particular, whey protein is very high in leucine, which is the most essential amino acid for the purposes of protein synthesis and muscle growth. Further, whey protein is highly digestible and gut absorption is easy, making it a high quality, fast acting protein source.
#2: Whey protein has a higher thermic effect
Have you noticed that after a meat heavy meal your body temperature starts to rise? That’s what we mean by the thermic effect; your body is burning calories to digest all that protein. As a result, net caloric intake is actually less; when digesting pure protein, the net calorie intake is only 75%. Of course that is a hypothetical pure protein, however out of all the various protein powder types, whey has the highest protein effect, which is attributed to its high amounts of leucine.
#3: Whey protein has the highest appetite suppression effect
In addition to building muscle, whey protein works well for cutting fat too. If you are restricting calories, whey protein will help you preserve muscle while cutting overall calories due to its appetite suppression effect which is higher compared to other sources such as egg, casein, or soy protein. The reason is again due to the higher leucine concentration in whey, which triggers the release of appetite suppressing and satiety inducing transmitters from your brain.
#4: Whey protein improves insulin sensitivity
Looking at the obesity crisis in America today, there is little doubt that many of our fellow citizens are suffering from insulin resistance and poor blood sugar management. While whey protein does cause an immediate spike in insulin (which by the way is good right after workouts because insulin is an anabolic hormone) overall it improves insulin sensitivity and leads to better blood sugar levels. Insulin levels when not eating are also lowered overall. A study using type-2 diabetics where whey protein was added to a high glycemic meal resulted in 21% lower post-meal blood sugar levels compared to the control group despite the fact that insulin levels were higher!
#5: Whey protein can help reduce body fat
Wow, build muscle and lose fat; isn’t that every lifter’s dream! Not so fast, unless you’re a total beginner to lifting, you can’t build muscle and lose body fat at the same time; you’ll have to focus on one goal at a time for optimum results. However, regardless of whether you want to build muscle or lose body fat, whey protein can help. A lot of this is due to the reasons we’ve already mentioned such as appetite suppression and better insulin sensitivity, however whey protein supplementation was also found in a study to improve thyroid function, leading to a decrease in body fat.
#6: Whey protein can help build muscle
This one’s pretty obvious; protein is the building blocks of muscle after all. However, not all protein is created equal and the high quality amino acid profile found in whey protein, particularly its high leucine concentration. Don’t think that you can build those guns just by drinking whey protein however; intense resistance training is a must for any muscle building to occur.
#7: Whey protein can increase antioxidant levels
Bet you didn’t know about this one! The reason that so-called antioxidant-rich foods such as blueberries actually work is by increasing the activity of an enzyme known as glutathione, which naturally occurs inside our bodies. And guess what glutathione is made out of? Amino acids, specifically cysteine, glutamine, and glycine, all of which are found in whey protein, meaning that your body will be able to synthesize more glutathione to fight those damaging free radicals.
BONUS: Whey protein is the cheapest form of protein supplementation
This isn’t exactly a health benefit so we’re putting this one in the bonus section, but make no mistake, it’s a benefit nonetheless. In fact, a study conducted by The Protein Investor showed that 100g of protein (from whey protein) costs on average of $3 -$4, less than your daily cup of coffee! And we’re not talking about low quality no-name brands here, but established industry players with good reputations.