There are so many protein powders to choose from and to be honest it really comes down to personal preference. Whey protein powder is one of the most popular protein powders out there but it’s not an option for vegans. Other protein powders you could try and I will discuss on other posts include:
- Soy Protein Powder (Find out what I think of Soy Protein HERE)
- Brown Rice Protein Powder
- Pea Protein Powder
- Hemp Protein Powder
- Egg Protein Powder
- Beef Protein Powder
- Collagen Protein Powder
- Casein Protein Powder
What is Whey Protein Powder
Whey is a by-product from making cheese, and is one of two major protein components of cow’s milk. The other is casein. Whey protein is considered a complete protein as it contains all 9 essential amino acids and can be a quick and easy way to add some protein to your day. As long as you choose a good whey protein powder. More on that later in the post but lets just say all whey protein powders are not created equal.
There are two primary types of whey protein: whey protein isolate (WPI), whey protein concentrate (WPC), and whey protein hydrolysate (WPH). WPI is the most concentrated form of whey protein and is usually at least 90% protein. WPC can range from anywhere from 30% to 90% protein so check out the label.
So what are some of the Pros and Cons of Whey Protein Powder?
Whey protein can be a great choice in a shake or protein bar as long as you choose a good quality brand. Some of the benefits of Whey Protein Powder include:
- Help you Lose Weight – There are numerous studies to show that consuming a whey protein shake can help reduce hunger and increase weight loss. In a twelve week study conducted participants lost more body fat and showed a greater preservation of lean muscle compared to subjects consuming the control beverage. In a separate Australian study, participants consuming a whey protein shake had significantly reduced levels of ghrelin (a hormone that tells your brain you’re hungry) up to four hours later.
- Anti-Cancer – There has been various studies conducted which show that whey protein may help in the fight against some cancers. Some promising results were published in the journals Anticancer Research and Cancer Letters.
- Help you Deal With Stress and Improve Your Mood – Researchers in the Netherlands found that participants who consumed whey protein while exposed to stress had fewer symptoms of depression and were in a better mood thanks to changes in their levels of serotonin than the control group. Consuming whey protein can also slow the production of cortisol, which is a stress hormone released when stressed. This helps to also reduce feelings of stress and improves your mood.
- Enhanced Muscle Recovery – Try a whey protein shake after exercise to help build and repair your muscles. It’s absorbed rapidly by your body which gets the amino acids your muscles need to them fast. Short of recipes to try? Check out my Recover Ebook here which is full of recipes specially designed to have after your workout.
- It may also help improve your asthma symptoms and lower your blood pressure. It has also been shown to potentially have benefits for those at risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Although there are some great potential benefits of using whey protein, there are also some potential negative effects to be aware of. For some people a vegan protein powder may be a better option such as pea, brown rice or hemp protein.
- Allergic Reaction – Whey protein powder does contain some lactose, although it is a low amount, which is a common allergen. So if you have any problems with other dairy foods or know that you are lactose intolerant, whey protein powder may not be for you. If you do still want to try it go for whey protein isolate as generally it only contains 1% of lactose, which is much lower than other types of whey protein powder.
- Other Side Effects – Some people do experience some other side effects from supplementing with whey protein powder. These can include headaches, loss of appetite, cramps and increased bowel movements and bloating.
Not All Protein Powders Are Created Equal
Protein powders can be a great supplement to your diet and I use them all the time for protein shakes and bars. But protein powders are notorious for containing lots of added nasties that will definitely not lead to better health! Watch out for artificial sweeteners, additives and preservatives and chemical flavors.
If you want a comprehensive list of things to watch out for check out my report on 10 Protein Bar Ingredients that are Slowly Killing You.
Whey Protein Powder in Recipes
Any protein powder can be used for your homemade protein bars and shakes. However whey protein powder tends to make your bars a little dry if substituting for a vegan protein powder. So you may need to add a little extra applesauce, coconut oil or another “wet” ingredient included in the recipe for your homemade protein bar. I have also been mixing whey protein powder with a vegan protein powder blend of brown rice, hemp and pea protein powder with great results.
Whey protein powder works really well in shakes though and any recipes where you see a vegan protein powder you can usually make a straight swap with Whey.
For some awesome recipes using whey protein powder check out my latest Ebook Series Prepare, Sustain & Recover. Recipes specially formulated for before, during and after your workout to help you perform at your best!
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