Are you taking whey protein supplements? Fun Fact: Poland farmers first discovered whey protein in goat milk around 5500 BC. Whey is one of the two proteins found in milk, while the other one is casein. You can consume both proteins by simply consuming dairy products like full-fat milk, Swiss cheese, and Greek yogurt. Whey like milk itself is one of the “complete protein” foods. In other words, you can get all the essential amino acids (EAAs) required from foods/supplements by consuming whey protein powders or tablets/capsules. Just as important as how much to take is when to take whey protein. This can provide the best results when combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
The time of day you take protein supplements might not seem like a big issue. However, it can affect the results you get. For example, do you take the protein supplement before or after meals? Is before or after workouts better? How about one or multiple daily servings? These are some of the many options you have. They’re just as important as other issues like what kind or how much of the dietary supplement to take. The ultimate goal is to reach your health and fitness goals as quickly as possible.
What in the World is Whey Protein?
This is the first issue to take up before discussing other issues like when to take it. The famous nursery rhyme Little Miss Muffet mentions “curds and whey.” The curds are the casein protein and the whey is the other milk protein found in milk. Whey is produced during the cheesemaking process. It’s similar to the watery stuff you see in store-bought yogurt when you remove the lid.
It’s similar to whey protein when cow’s milk is converted into cheese. This is one of the main proteins in milk and is made up of amino acids, which are protein’s building blocks.
Whey is one of the various “complete proteins” we can get from foods. Other sources include:
However, dairy is considered to be one of the best protein sources. This is due to factors like being high in branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). These are some of the most critical EAAs, including Leucine. The body needs more Leucine than all other EAAs.
The body breaks down whey proteins like others. It converts it to “peptides” and then to amino acids. The aminos are small enough for the body to absorb easily. The process is complex, but the key is that whey contains all the amino acids you need daily.
There are generally three kinds of whey protein supplements. They include:
The products vary in their amounts of whey purity. The figure is 90%+ for isolates and 75% for concentrates. The main issue in terms of production costs is isolates are more expensive to make than concentrates. It has resulted in “blends” that are a mix of the two kinds of whey supplements.
Each of these products has pros and cons. It’s important to determine which one is right for your particular needs.
When to Take Whey Protein
Today many athletes/weightlifters are looking for the best pre-workout supplement. Protein powders are popular, including whey. One of the main benefits of powders/tablets is they can help to boost your body’s nitrogen levels.
What’s the big deal? It helps promote “protein synthesis,” which is needed for building lean muscle mass. Studies show you can get the best results when taking whey protein right before weight-resistance workouts.
Another issue is making sure you’re adding enough protein to your shakes. It is recommended that you add 25g to 35g for the best results from your pre-workout shake.
It is a good time for athletes to take whey protein supplements. The reason is you’ll want to start the recovery process after pushing your muscles to the limits. It’s time to add nutrients for fast repair/regrowth. Fast-acting whey is a good option
Studies show that the body absorbs more protein after workouts since the muscles need more. It can speed up the recovery process so you can get back into the gym.
If you want to boost your blood sugar levels, it is best to take whey protein in the morning. The key here is to reduce muscle breakdown. Whey digests fast, so it’s an excellent way to jump-start your day with protein instead of carbs.
It’s common for people to go 12+ hours between dinner and breakfast. If your muscles have no fuel they start getting them from amino acids. Drinking a protein shake before bedtime can help to stop this process. Casein might be a better option due to the slow-release of protein versus whey’s fast-action property.
Top Benefits of Whey Protein
- Less Inflammation: Inflammation can be helpful, but long-term varieties can cause major health issues. It’s closely linked to diet and an unhealthy lifestyle.
One study identified that high amounts of whey protein caused something called CRP to drop greatly.
- Type-2 Diabetes Treatments: The rates of insulin resistance, prediabetes, and diabetes continue to sky-rocket across the globe. This is due to the so-called Standard American Diet (SAD) that’s high in salt, sugar, and fat. Studies show that whey protein can help to lower blood sugar levels. This can provide benefits like a lower risk of type-2 diabetes.
- Lower Blood Pressure: It might be surprising, but it makes sense if you consider that warm milk is a home remedy for sleepless nights. Various studies have connected dairy products to lower blood pressure. It is due to various peptides found in the food known as ACE-inhibitors. Many animal studies show that whey protein is effective in lowering blood pressure.
- Muscle Gains: If you want to build lean muscle mass, you must experience more “protein synthesis” than muscle breakdown. You can achieve this goal through protein sources like whey protein. You need enough of all 20 amino acids, but the EAAs are especially critical since the body doesn’t make them.
- Complete Protein: It’s easier to get enough amino acids from options like milk proteins than combining “incomplete proteins.” These require 2+ foods so it’s better to learn when to take whey protein.