Discover the Benefits of Whey Protein

By , Nutrients Direct

Beginning fitness fanatics looking to build muscle will come across whey protein, a supplement used by athletes all over the world. If you are not that familiar with whey protein and its benefits, this article will be a great learning tool for you. Read on to find out what whey protein is and the effect the supplement can have on your body.

How Does Protein Make You Gain Muscle?

Protein has numerous functions in the human body. According to Nutrients Direct, one of the most important of these functions is the support of structural tissues; this includes building tissue, cells and muscle. The specific function of protein means that muscle growth relies on the availability of an adequate amount of protein.

A good example of how protein affects your muscle growth can be found during heavy weight training. During this training, your muscles are forced to break down protein and acquire amino acids to provide the energy you need. The body also needs to synthesize new protein in order to continue with the training and get your muscles bigger and stronger.

The use of proteins after training is also beneficial, because the body needs that protein to promote muscle growth when you are done training; this is also done through the protein breakdown process.

Still, the most important denominator for muscle growth as well as fat loss is a healthy diet and good exercise routine. Athletes who take a protein supplement, but do not exercise or eat healthy otherwise, will not get the results they are after.

What Is Whey Protein?

Whey protein is a substance that is obtained during the cheese making process, because whey protein is a by-product of this process. Whey protein is rich in essential amino acids and branched chain amino acids, which have an important contribution to make for muscle growth.

Most people are not aware they actually have been using whey protein since childhood, because whey is actually a protein that is naturally present in milk. Of course, whey needs to be extracted before it can be used as a supplement. Before whey protein is offered as a supplement, the manufacturer removes the fat and the carbohydrates through a filtering process.

Are There Different Types of Whey Protein?

There are three different forms of whey protein available in the form of a supplement. The type of whey protein is determined by the filtering process and other manufacturing processes used to make a whey supplement. The form of whey protein that has been the least processed is whey protein concentrate, while whey protein hydrolysate is the most processed. Whey Protein Isolate is the third type of whey protein and lies between hydrolysate and concentrate where processing is concerned.

Due to the fact that whey protein concentrate does not require that much processing, it is often the cheapest whey protein supplement. Athletes who cannot afford to purchase some of the more expensive whey protein supplements on a regular basis will therefore choose whey protein concentrate.

Whey protein concentrate undergoes minimal processing and goes through the so-called filtration processes, more specifically micro- and ultra-filtration. Thanks to these processes, whey protein concentrate can hold on to 80 percent protein. The unique processes used to create whey protein concentrate also enables manufacturers to maintain beneficial peptide fractions in their formula. These peptide fractions provide additional benefits, including numerous antioxidant benefits and supporting the function of the immune system.

WPH (whey protein hydrolysate) is processed the most, but also the most expensive form of protein. The supplement is created through a process called hydrolysis, a process that breaks down whey protein chains into smaller peptide fragments; this makes the proteins easier to absorb.

Why Is Whey Protein Often Better Than Other Protein Supplements?

Whey protein is an amazing muscle builder for numerous reasons. One of the biggest benefits for athletes is its fast absorption rate; this means that the amino acids in the formula are absorbed into the bloodstream quite rapidly, giving benefits such as faster muscle growth and muscle repair.

Certain branched chain amino acids, more specifically leucine, isoleucine and valine, boost protein synthesis in the body. Protein synthesis is a fundamental biological process used by cells to build their own protein. It is this protein the muscle needs to grow and to heal.

Studies have shown that whey protein is not only good to gain muscle mass, it is also used as an aid in weight loss. A study executed by the USDA showed that both men and women drinking two shakes of whey protein over a course of twelve weeks lost a total amount of five pounds of body fat and dropped an inch of their waist.

When to Use Whey for Maximum Results?

Experts and supplement manufacturers recommend taking whey protein right before or right after your training, ideally 30 minutes before or after. The reason why it should be taken so shortly before and after training is due to the fast absorption rate of whey protein. Once an athlete has consumed a whey protein supplement, muscle is provided with a steady stream of amino acids.

Athletes focused on gaining both strength and muscle mass should consume approximately 10 to 20 grams of whey protein before their weight training. By doing so, they will gain more endurance and decrease muscle breakdown at the same time.

Some athletes will consume 20 grams of whey protein between meals to support muscle growth or weight loss. In order to determine the best time to take your whey protein supplement, it is advised to look at your specific training goals.

Can Whey Supplements Be More Effective Than Protein Rich Foods?

Having plenty of protein in your diet can be extremely beneficial for muscle growth, but in some instances, having protein-rich food does not give you quick access to these nutrients during training. Proteins from chicken breast, eggs, fish and beef will not digest quickly enough, which is why a protein supplement can be better to consume just before training.

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