According to the U.S. Dairy Export Council, there are nearly 6,000 different whey protein products sold worldwide. Between 2010 and 2015, the number of whey products increased by 34% (compared to just 6% between 2005 and 2009).
THE BENEFIT OF WHEY PROTEIN
Additionally, to the general benefits protein offers that we mentioned above, whey protein provides several benefits of its own over other protein supplement options.
PROMOTES MUSCLE DEVELOPMENT
The first and most important whey protein is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all the amino acids that are considered essential amino acids and must be consumed through food (the body can’t make them). This gives whey an advantage over most plant proteins that need to be combined with other types of protein powders or food to provide the full spectrum of amino acids in amounts that the body can use to build muscle. Additionally, whey protein delivers more amino acids per gram than other complete protein sources including casein protein, egg, and soy.
The real difference-maker is whey protein’s leucine content. Leucine is a branched-chain amino acid (BCAA), and research shows it’s the single most important amino acid for supporting muscle growth. The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) suggests for individuals looking to maximize muscle gains, they should eat protein in doses of 20 to 40 grams per meal with three to four meals throughout the day. Each meal should contain 0.7 to 3 grams of leucine, which whey protein hits those targets perfectly.
Your average 3 ounce serving of beef, poultry, and pork will provide you with 2 to 2.6 grams of leucine, with seafood not far behind. Tune providing 1.9 grams of leucine per 3 ounces serving. Compare that to our grass-fed whey protein powder which provides 25 grams of protein and a full 2.546 grams of leucine! Additionally, it also provides 1.351 grams of isoleucine and 1.415 grams of valine for a total BCAA count of 5.312 grams and 11.404 grams of essential amino acids per serving.
AIDS IN BODY RECOMPOSITION & OVERALL HEALTH
Whey protein is one of the purest sources of protein available and provides an excellent amino acid profile. Unlike other protein powders, whey protein is low in fat and carbs which leaves you with more of what you want—straight protein to help you build muscle and change your body composition with no excess calories or sugar. This makes whey protein an excellent choice for anyone who is watching their weight or maybe looking to lose weight.
A meta-analysis of nine studies showed that whey assisted overweight and obese individuals in losing fat and reducing risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Whey’s benefits for the heart have been demonstrated in other research as well. A study in the journal Appetite showed that overweight subjects who strength trained and supplemented with whey protein had higher levels of glutathione (a molecule that supports cellular health) and HDL cholesterol after six weeks than a control group that exercised without supplementation.
Another trial from the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition found a linear relationship between the amount of whey protein consumed and increases in glutathione levels. Subjects who took in 45 grams of whey daily for two weeks increased glutathione by 24%.
SUPPORTS FASTER RECOVERY
When you’re done with your training session, it’s time for your muscles to start their recovery process and rebuild themselves stronger and bigger. For this, they need protein and leucine. Whey protein delivers its amino acids to muscles faster than other protein sources. A study from Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that whey protein delivers leucine to the muscles faster, stimulating muscle protein synthesis sooner. This makes whey protein the better choice post-workout.
The sooner you get protein (and the leucine within it) into your muscles, the faster you can begin to recover from your workout. From hard training athletes to weekend warriors who partake in multiple activities per day, fast recovery between sessions is critical. Whey protein delivers leucine to the muscles more efficiently than other protein supplements, making it a must-have for any post-workout shake.
Other protein options can have their own advantages, such as casein. Casein digests more slowly making it better suited as a nighttime option before going to bed, so it can feed your body leucine gradually through the night as you sleep.