Whey powder takes up the lion’s share (55%) of the Australian protein supplement market that’s worth $122mn. It has gained a reputation as the most reliable means of building muscle mass. Continue reading to find out if whey protein powder is for you.
Whey is a type of protein derived from dairy. When milk is curdled and strained, the residual liquid contains whey, fats and carbohydrates. Once the fats and carbohydrates are removed, the liquid is dehydrated to form whey powder.
What are the types of whey powder available?
- Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC): It contains 70-80% proteins. It is ideal for post-workout recovery, building lean muscles, or weight loss.
- Whey Protein Isolate (WPI): It contains up to 90% protein and less than 1% fats and lactose. People who intend to quickly gain lean muscle mass rely on isolates.
Both the types are available in unflavoured and flavoured versions, with flavoured versions tending to contain added sugar. The choice between concentrates and isolates is based on personal preferences and usage.
Who can have whey?
- Athletes: Isolated protein supplements are Group A sports food according to the AIS Sports Supplement Framework. They are used by around 60% of sportspersons to improve their strength and reduce fatigue. In an eight week study conducted on basketball players, it was found that the participants who consumed whey showed elevated agility and stamina.
- Fitness Enthusiasts and bodybuilders:
People who are keen on gaining muscles consume whey protein concentrate. Whey protein is important for muscle-building, especially when combined with resistance training. Whey is 31% more effective than soy protein and 136% more effective than casein protein in promoting muscle synthesis.
- People seeking Weight loss:
People who want to lose weight consume a protein-rich diet because protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates. One feels satiated for longer and does not crave snacks in between meals. People may also opt for protein supplements as meal substitutes. Special blends of whey protein isolates contain all the macronutrients you would get from a meal, making it ideal for meal substitution. Additionally, high-quality weight loss protein supplements are infused with the benefits of green tea to enhance your metabolism.
- People seeking Weight gain:
Some people, such as the elderly, may experience unintended weight loss. They can consume whey protein powder regularly to maintain a healthy muscle and body weight. Patients suffering from conditions such as malabsorption, sarcopenia, and cachexia also find it difficult to gain weight. Whey protein supplements can strengthen them and help them lead normal lives.
- Injured Persons:
Doctors recommend whey protein to patients recovering from severe injuries. Whey contains the essential amino acids required for healing wounds, such as arginine, glycine, leucine, and valine. They promote reconstructive activities in bones, muscle tissues, and the skin. Furthermore, whey contains proline which helps in building collagen – an essential ingredient in cartilages and joints.
- Individuals with Allergies:
There is preliminary scientific evidence that suggests hydrolysed whey proteins (i.e., a processed form of protein concentrates and isolates) can reduce the risk of developing eczema and debilitating allergies.
Additionally, in a study conducted on lactose intolerant individuals, only 10% of the participants developed allergic reactions to hydrolysed whey protein isolates. Thus, whey protein isolates can be a viable option for people who cannot directly consume whey.
Protein from food such as dairy, fish, meat, eggs, and soy are essential for muscle, bone, and skin health. If your protein requirement is higher, you can always supplement your diet with whey protein powder in the concentrated, isolated, or hydrolysed form.