In the last decade, whey protein has captured the attention of health, fitness and wellness professionals, earning its standing as a core nutritional component for optimal health. Studies rank whey highest among all proteins for its biological value, touting its superiority in both digestibility and nutritional impact. In fact, whey is among the most readily and completely absorbed proteins, making this super food the ultimate bang for your buck.
In the world of competitive athletics, whey is hardly breaking news. In fact, elite athletes have been incorporating whey into their routines for over 20 years, recognizing the performance advantages it offers in creating and maintaining lean muscle mass and sustainable energy.
But, what about those of us more interested in breaking a sweat than breaking world records? Recent research shows that whey offers numerous health benefits to those of us simply hoping to look, feel and function at our best. This power protein is not only ideal for lean muscle formation, but also for weight loss, recovery from stress, healthy aging and maintaining a balanced immune system.
Below are just a few facts on how whey protein can help you live a healthier and happier life:
Whey contains essential amino acids needed to keep your metabolism up and your body lean. Whey protein contains as many as 22 amino acids, including all of those required to boost metabolism, form and maintain lean muscle mass, and efficiently burn fat. As we age, the 50,000 different proteins and 15,000 known enzymes in our bodies become increasingly susceptible to breaking down, relying more and more on the nutritional intake of essential amino acids to promote metabolic health.
Whey helps maintain optimal immune functioning. Research shows that many health conditions of the brain, cardiovascular system, joints, muscles, eyes and skin are tied to imbalances in our immune response. Unlike many animal and vegetable proteins, whey protein has been proven to fight inflammation and keep our immune system functioning robustly. Because immune inflammations and imbalances are often triggered by toxins in our modern-day environment and foods, the benefits of whey protein have become increasingly important to maintaining long-term health.
Whey helps control appetite. Studies show that whey protein stimulates the release of appetite-suppressing hormones, glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1) and cholecystokinin (CCK). Additionally, whey protein has a balancing effect on leptin, the hormone that tells our brain to stop eating. Again, our modern-day toxic environment causes imbalances, in this case creating leptin resistance in the brain. The result is a gradual shutting down the fullness response, which is why we find it so easy to overeat. Whey helps to break this gut-brain resistance barrier, and switch off our hunger cues.
Whey helps regulate blood sugar. Whey protein has been found to slow the absorption of glucose into your bloodstream, helping the body to regulate blood sugar levels and avoid quick drops in energy. This also keeps insulin levels under control, enabling your body to burn fat more efficiently and help reduce carbohydrate and sugar cravings.
Whey makes healthy snacking convenient and delicious. When the all too familiar 4pm slump hits, many of us reach for the quick, easy fix of calorie laden foods. A high-protein, low-fat snack is tough to come by in the office vending machine, and carrying around chicken breasts is hardly a desirable, or satisfying, option for most. Whey powder is convenient to carry and can easily be added to yogurt, oatmeal or just mixed with water or juice. With whey, healthy snacking is totally hassle-free.
Whey protein is a dietary “must-have” for anyone looking to perform, look and feel their very best. Packed with vital nutrients that are highly digestible and easily absorbed, whey offers health advantages far beyond most other vegetable and animal proteins. Whether you’re looking to defeat the competition, or just claim victory over the stresses of life, whey should be an integral part of your day.
Baer DJ, Stote KS, Paul DR, Harris GK, Rumpler WV, Clevidence BA. Whey protein but not soy protein supplementation alters body weight and composition in free-living overweight and obese adults. J Nutr 2011, 141:1489–1494.
Bounous G, Gervais F, Amer V, Batist G, Gold P. The influence of dietary whey protein on tissue glutathione and the diseases of aging. Clin Invest Med 1989, 12(6):343-9.
Ebaid H, Salem A, Sayed A, Metwalli A: Whey protein enhances normal inflammatory responses during cutaneous wound healing in diabetic rats. Lipids Health Dis 2011, 10:235.
Frid AH, Nilsson M, Holst JJ, Bjorck IM: Effect of whey on blood glucose and insulin responses to composite breakfast and lunch meals in type 2 diabetic subjects. Am J Clin Nutr 2005, 82:69–75.
Gad AS, Khadrawy YA, El-Nekeety AA, Mohamed SR, Hassan NS, Abdel-Wahhab MA. Antioxidant activity and hepatoprotective effects of whey protein and Spirulina in rats. Nutrition 2011, 27:582–589.