Essentially everything in our body is made of proteins; protein is a big molecule that’s individually composed of small molecules called amino acids. The tissues, muscles and organs in the body cannot survive if we have insufficient intake of proteins.
Protein also plays an important role in the building, maintenance and repair of muscles in the body that are damaged as a result of training or exercise. While protein intake is important for everyone, it is especially vital for people who are strength training or exercising. Several studies show that protein (especially whey protein) when combined with strength training, can increase the lean body mass, muscle strength and muscle size. Some people also opt for protein supplements because they are allergic to other protein sources like soy or egg, or because they are lactose intolerant. Compared to cow’s milk protein, whey may help prevent the development of skin disorders like eczema or atopic dermatitis.
There are many protein-rich foods out there, such as meats, nuts, eggs, milk etc., but the trouble arises when one is unable to consume enough protein post-workout to sustain the muscles. In such a scenario, the muscles start to break down instead. There is only so much protein that one can eat in a day. For this reason, supplementing protein in the diet is important.
Protein supplements come in the form of powders generally, and they are added to a liquid to create protein drinks and protein shakes. A significant grammage of protein can be taken in per day with the help of these supplements.
Apart from weight trainers and bodybuilders, protein is also popular amongst people who are trying to lose weight. This is because protein is a great form of nutrition; it provides the body with essential nutrients while being low in fat, carbohydrates and cholesterol. Moreover, it keeps mid-day cravings at bay and prevents overeating at mealtimes—because it keeps the body fuller for longer.
Before you start on whey protein, it is important to know everything about it inside out but more importantly you need to consult with a nutritionist and get to know all the risks and health benefits whey protein can give you. DHA medical center in Karachi has multiple nutritionists on its panel and thus can provide you with the required services.
What is whey protein?
There are different types of protein, but the most popular is whey protein. Whey Protein is a food product that occurs naturally in the milk. From the protein contained in milk, 20% is whey and the other 80% is casein. It is, therefore, a naturally occurring protein that is separated at the time of cheese production. When cheese is produced, the fatty part and the watery part of milk separate; whey is found in the watery portion as a byproduct, and the fatty part makes the cheese. Whey is also found on top of the liquid floating on top of yoghurt.
Why is whey protein good?
Whey is the most popular protein supplement. This is because whey has an excellent amino acid profile. As mentioned before, proteins are made of amino acids, and several of these amino acids are essential—which means that the body cannot produce them on its own, and thus they have to be replaced through the diet. Whey is particularly high in these Essential Amino Acids (EAA)—leucine being one. Several studies show that of all the essential amino acids, leucine, in particular, is important for stimulating protein synthesis.
Excellent digestibility is another feature of whey that makes it ideal for daily use. While most proteins take a long time to digest (which is why people feel fuller for longer), whey is a protein that is digested and absorbed quickly by the muscles. In fact, whey can start providing the muscles with energy merely thirty minutes after ingestion.
What are the different types of whey protein?
The main types are Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) and Whey Protein Isolate (WPI). WPC has a protein content of 30-80% and WPI is 90% protein. Depending on what you prefer, you can opt for a higher content WPI, or a more cost-effect WPC.
How much whey protein to take?
A good guideline about daily consumption amount is around 25 to 50 grams of whey, which is about one to two scoops of powder (or as mentioned on the protein supplement). Keep in mind, how much protein is needed by your body as per your total weight and requirement, so that you don’t overdo the intake.
There is no specific time for consumption of protein, but a few tips can help maximize its benefits. People often opt for protein shakes as a post-workout snack, to help with muscle repair and regeneration. Thirty minutes after a work-out session is a good idea.
Conversely, some people opt for protein shake as a pre-workout snack, to provide the muscle with added energy for an intense work-out session.
For people who are not a fan of the protein shake, there is always the option of adding it in your food, for instance, making power-packed oatmeal, smoothie or protein pancake. Protein powder can also be used to make a protein-rich healthy dessert-like Greek yoghurt protein pudding.
Thus, how you supplement protein is solely your personal preference.
Choose a varied and nutritious menu for yourself and consult multiple nutritionists before actually settling on one. You should also consult a gastroenterologist before changing your diet drastically if you have had digestive issues in the past. The doctors plaza in Karachi has multiple nutritionists and gastroenterologists on its panel and can thus be a good institute to visit in this regard.