What is Whey Protein?
Whey protein powder is the powder form of whey protein. Whey protein is one of the proteins present in milk. Whey is the watery portion of milk that we get after separating the curds while making cheese. Here, whey is in liquid form, and the leftover curds are used to make cheese.
The other type of protein found in milk is called casein. Casein is a slow-digesting protein whereas whey is a fast-digesting protein. This is the reason for the popularity of whey protein. It is mainly used as a post-workout because of its fast digesting property.
Whey protein is a dairy product and its pure form contains some amount of fat and lactose. This can be problematic for lactose-intolerant people. There are many variants of whey protein available in the market which are lactose-free. Lactose intolerant people can use these products.
Types of Whey Protein
The most confusing among people is understanding the type of whey protein available in the market. There are mainly three types of whey protein. Let’s see how different they are from one another.
1) Whey isolate
When whey protein is processed under low temperature to remove excess lactose and fat, whey protein isolate is formed. These contain about 90-95 % of pure protein. Whey protein isolates are widely used for pre and post-workout as their digestion and absorption rate is high.
This property helps to supply the necessary nutrients to the muscles much faster and is light on the digestive tract. This is why whey protein isolates are more popular than the other two.
2) Whey concentrate
Whey protein concentrate contains 40-80% protein and lactose, which is why these are not as popular as whey protein isolates. As they contain lactose, there may be a problem for lactose-intolerant people.
Bloating is an issue observed in such cases. But the good thing about whey concentrates is that they contain growth factors like IGF 1 and TGF 1. These factors benefit intestinal health and improve immunity.
3) Hydrolyzed whey
Hydrolized whey protein is the whey broken down into peptides of varying lengths, which has a high digestion rate. It is a partially digested or partially broken form of whey that is rapidly absorbed and supplied to the muscles at a much faster rate than the other two.
The price of hydrolyzed whey is much higher than isolate and concentrate.
How is Whey Protein made?
Whey is derived from the cheese-making process. Enzymes are added to separate the curd from the liquid whey, and then the liquid whey is pasteurized. This pasteurized whey is concentrated and isolated.
To achieve these two types of whey are membrane filtration and ion exchange. Membrane filtration is a cold temperature separation process using porous membranes. Here, the bacteria are separated from the whey.
The ion exchange process isolates specific protein components. The proteins are separated based on their net charge. The lactose and minerals are washed away for different use.
The whey protein now obtained has less fat and lactose.
Is Whey Protein good for Health?
Whey is an excellent source of high-quality protein. It gets digested and absorbed instantly as it has significantly less fat and lactose. It is a complete protein that contains all amino acids. So, you get a complete amino acid profile if you consume whey protein.
Whey protein is the best for post-workout meals/drinks. It gets digested and absorbed very quickly, enhancing muscle recovery just after a workout. Whey protein is usually mixed with water and consumed right after training. Have a whey protein shake within 30 minutes of a workout session.
A high protein diet accompanies a weight-loss regime. It is not always possible for everyone to fulfill the required protein intake per day. One is usually advised to add whey protein supplements to their diet in order to do so.
Whey protein is the leanest protein source available on the market, making it a perfect fit for weight loss diets.
A study has shown that whey protein exhibit anti-carcinogenesis and anti-cancer activity. They increase GSH tissues in specific relevant tissues and may have an anti-tumor effect on low-volume tumors. (1)
Whey protein may help reduce the symptoms of certain chronic diseases by reducing inflammation. Chronic inflammation may cause health issues like heart disease, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and arthritis.
Does Whey Protein cause Hair Loss?
Hair loss is caused due to many reasons, including heredity, hairstyle treatments, medical conditions, hormonal imbalances, medication, and supplementation. So, does whey protein cause hair loss? Or is there any other factor causing your hair loss?
However, whey protein isolate is considered in the list of supplements that cause hair loss. (2) If you are already suffering from hair loss and are using whey isolate, you probably should go for whey protein concentrate.
Whey protein isolate has less amount protein as compared to isolate. Still, it has other factors which enhance the growth of your muscles. Other supplements like creatine, growth hormones and testosterone boosters also cause hair loss.
So, your hair loss may not be due to the whey protein you are consuming. Stop using each of the supplements for a few months and check which one is causing your hair to fall.
If your family background has a hair loss history, these supplements may accelerate it. Protein plays a major part in the formation of our hair. If your diet consists of less protein content, you may suffer from hair loss. Even iron deficiency can cause hair loss.
How to use Whey Protein?
Add a scoop of whey protein powder to your pre-workout meal. Whey protein has all the essential amino acids. This will increase lean protein in the system, which will help you recover your muscles faster and grow them. You can make a fruit smoothie or just add it to your oatmeal.
Add 1 or 2 scoops of whey protein powder with water, shake it well, and drink it. Make a whey protein smoothie with just fruit and water in it. (3)
Take a scoop or two of whey protein powder, and add it to your breakfast either as a protein shake or by mixing it into your breakfast meal itself. Your breakfast should have all three macronutrients, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. This will help you make your breakfast worth it.
Have a whey protein shake when you skip a meal. This will help you retain your muscles and lose fat. Our body tends to break down muscles for energy when we are starving, but the protein in the system will prevent muscle loss.