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How Much Whey Protein Should You Consume?

,Do you want to know what is whey protein and how much you need to consume? This post will answer all your questions about this ultimate source of protein.

People ask a lot of questions about protein in general and whey protein in particular.

Will whey protein build muscle? Will it help lose fat? How much whey protein should I consume? And many other questions.

Let’s see if I can answer some of these questions that you may have and at the end of this post, you will have a lot more knowledge about whey protein and how you can use it to your benefit.

What is protein?

Protein is a collection of building blocks known as amino acids.

There are around 20 types of amino acids and by combining them we can get several types of protein.

Examples could be protein in eggs, meat, beans, etc.

Once you eat protein from such sources, the body breaks it down into amino acids.

Out of the 20 amino acids, 9 are the essential amino acids that the body cannot create and needs from external sources such as eggs, fish, and meat.

Nuts, whole grains, and dairy products do not contain these essential amino acids and are therefore known as incomplete sources of protein.

What are the benefits of protein?

Helps build muscle mass

Probably the biggest benefit of protein is that it will help build muscle.

This is because when consumed it breaks down into amino acids that are the building blocks of muscle in the body.

So when you work out and break down your muscle fibers, you need a good amount of protein so that your body can rebuild stronger muscles.

Helps with weight loss

An essential component of weight loss is to undergo a calorie deficit where you consume a little less food than what your body requires.

A high-protein diet can help you achieve a calorie deficit because protein-rich foods keep you satiated for a longer period of time. This will help reduce cravings and hunger so you consume lesser calories.

Helps to regularize blood sugar

The body uses insulin to metabolize the food that you consume.

But more insulin is required to metabolize carbohydrates than proteins and fats.

This means that a high-protein diet will make your body release lesser insulin and this will cause a lower fluctuation in your blood sugar levels.

A lower fluctuation in blood sugar levels reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Helps to improve the mood

Some of the amino acids found in protein help to regularize hormones and improve your mood.

They also help to avoid anxiety and depression.

Since proteins also help to stabilize blood sugar levels they help you to avoid cravings and hence mood swings.

Helps to improve the brain functions

The brain needs a constant supply of amino acids so that it can concentrate, focus, and function properly.

So a high-protein diet can help to provide this supply to the brain and keep it functioning at optimal levels.

What is whey protein?

Milk contains two types of protein: casein and whey. In the process of cheese creation, whey gets separated into a liquid as a by-product.

This whey contains all the 9 essential amino acids and has a low lactose content.

Do you need to take whey protein?

To tell you the truth, you don’t need whey protein powder to build muscle. You just need to consume around 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.

It would be much better if you can get most of this protein from eating regular food that will help you stay full and provide you additional nutrients.

Most supplement companies and bodybuilding websites will tell you that you need to buy their protein powder supplements to build muscle. Please don’t listen to them as you don’t need to buy expensive protein powder if you can get all your protein from food.

Having said that, if you are unable to get the required amount of protein from eating food, then you will need a protein supplement.

And a whey protein supplement is generally a good overall protein because you can consume it at any time of the day.

It works well as a post-workout protein shake as the body is able to absorb the whey protein faster.

It is also lower in lactose and will not make you feel bloated unless you are lactose intolerant.

A whey protein shake is also convenient if you are tired of eating lots of food or have a very busy lifestyle and can’t have too many meals.

So, to summarize, technically you don’t need a whey protein supplement as what matters is the total daily protein intake that you get from all sources. But if you are looking for convenience then whey protein is a good and relatively cheap source of protein.

Will whey protein help you build muscle?

Whey protein is just a source of protein. Just consuming whey or any other source of protein is not going to help you build muscle.

What you need to do is start with a good strength training and muscle building workout program first.

When you workout with heavy weight, you damage your muscle fibers. And when you provide the correct nutrition and sleep to your body, the muscles grow back stronger and bigger.

A very important part of the nutrition is your protein intake. This is where whey protein can help you build muscle.

If you are unable to get enough protein from regular meals, then you can use a whey protein supplement to help build your muscles.

Whey protein is a complete source of protein as it has all of the essential amino acids that the body requires for building muscle.

It especially contains leucine that is supposed to play a major role in the recovery and building of muscle tissue.

Will whey protein help you lose fat?

No specific food will help you lose fat directly. The basis of fat loss is simply a calorie deficit where your body burns more calories than what it consumes.

However, studies have shown that a high-protein diet proves useful when one is on a weight loss journey.

This is because a high-protein diet will keep you satiated for a longer period of time. This will help you fight off cravings and hunger pangs.

A high-protein diet when used correctly with lean protein and a good amount of vegetables and healthy fats can help you consume a lower amount of calories than consuming processed or foods high in carbohydrates or fat.

This will also assist you in your fat loss goals. So whey protein shakes might be beneficial as a meal replacement or to keep you satisfied and avoid food cravings.

Here are some vegetarian and non-vegetarian sources of protein that you could also consider in a high-protein meal.

Can whey protein help you gain mass?

To gain mass means to gain muscle and fat. This is useful for bodybuilders who are bulking or regular people who just can’t seem to gain weight or are unable to eat lots of food.

To gain such mass, what could be used is a mass gainer.

A mass gainer is basically made using (usually) whey protein and ingredients that contain a lot of carbohydrates. This makes the mass gainer a calorie-dense supplement.

So it can help people who are looking to gain weight but just cannot seem to eat a lot of food.

However, please note, that gaining mass does not mean you will gain all that mass as muscle. How much of that mass is muscle and how much fat will depend on your workouts and the calories that your body burns.

If you use a mass gainer and your body goes into a big calorie surplus where you are consuming more calories than what your body burns then you will rapidly gain a lot of fat.

What are the different types of protein powders?

There are several types of protein powders available in the market. They may differ based on whether they are complete sources of protein or not. They may also differ based on whether they are an animal based product or a plant based product. Here are a few of them.

Whey protein

By now you know a lot about whey protein. To recap, whey is a by-product of the cheese making process.

Whey protein is a relatively cheap and popular source of protein. It is easily absorbed by the body and so is good if you are looking for a post-workout protein powder. Whey protein is also available in a variety of flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, banana, etc. to choose from.

Whey does contain a certain amount of lactose and will not be suitable for you if you are lactose-intolerant. Also, while whey protein powders are tasty due to the variety of flavors that are available, they do tend to contain artificial sweeteners and other chemicals that you might not like.

Casein protein

Casein protein is another protein that is created from milk. It is basically the separation of the protein in milk from the carbohydrates and fats.

Casein is different from whey because it is very slowly absorbed in the body. This makes it ideal if you are looking for a protein supplement before bedtime.

This also makes it less than ideal as a post-workout protein supplement and you should choose whey protein for that. Casein also contains lots of lactose and would not be suitable for people who are lactose-intolerant. It can also be a bit more expensive than whey protein.

Egg protein

Egg protein is a complete source of protein that is created by separating the egg yolk from the egg whites and dehydrating the egg whites into a powder.

Egg protein contains lots of vitamins and minerals in addition to the protein it provides.

Egg protein can act as an allergen to some people especially kids so one needs to be careful about that. Also, egg protein is a lot more expensive than other sources of protein.

Soy protein

Soy protein is another complete source of protein. It is created by drying soy and creating a flour out of it.

Soy protein can help improve the immune system as well as bone health. It could also protect against cardiovascular diseases and some types of cancer. Soy protein is a very cheap source of protein.

The problem with soy protein is that a lot of soy is grown from genetically modified seeds. Also, soy is found to cause a problem in the hormone levels.

Rice protein

Rice protein is another plant-based form of protein. This type of protein is created from brown rice.

Rice protein has a lot of complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and fiber that are beneficial to the body. It is also easily digested and so fully used by the body.

The disadvantage of rice protein is that it is not a complete source of protein. So you may need to combine it with other sources of protein.

What are the different types of whey protein?

There are three main types of whey protein that are available in the market. They are whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, and whey protein hydrolysate.

Whey protein concentrate

Whey protein concentrate as the name implies is created by taking whey in a concentrated form thereby increasing the protein content.

This is the most common and cheapest source of whey protein that is available.

The protein in it can be up to 70-80% with the remaining being carbohydrates and fats.

Whey protein concentrate is easy to flavor and have the best taste among the whey protein types.

Whey protein isolate

Whey protein isolate is created by processing the whey even further to isolate more of the protein.

It contains even lesser amounts of carbohydrates and fats. So the protein content can be around 90-95%.

However, this makes whey protein isolate less tasty and difficult to flavor.

Whey protein hydrolysate

Whey protein hydrolysate is created by processing the whey protein even further so that the protein content increases even further.

It is considered as a “pre-digested” form of protein that makes it absorb in the body even more quickly and also create a rise in insulin levels.

This type of whey protein can contain around 99% protein.

The disadvantage of whey protein hydrolysate is that it is not easy to flavor and has a very unpleasant taste.

Also, since it requires a high amount of processing to produce, it can tend to get expensive.

When should you take whey protein?

For a regular person who works out at the gym, it does not matter when you take your whey protein shake as long as you can hit your daily protein requirements.

However, studies show that the body is depleted of glycogen when you wake up and needs amino acids. So taking a whey protein shake when you wake up is beneficial.

Whey protein is also beneficial before a workout as a pre-workout because you can provide the body with the essential amino acids before a workout.

The same applies after an intense workout where the body is depleted of glycogen and is looking to get some amino acids to recover. As whey protein is absorbed quickly by the body, it is the best protein source to consume after a workout.

But as I said, the benefits will be subtle for the average person and you should not stress on when you take your whey protein as long as you get a sufficient amount of protein.

What are some of the good whey protein brands that are available?

It’s best that you choose a 100% whey protein when you are a beginner looking for a good source of protein. Here are a few of the options that you can choose from:

Conclusion

I hope this post was able to answer any question that you may have about whey protein and how it can help you on your muscle building and fat loss journey.

If you have any other question about whey protein that is not addressed above, please leave a comment below and we will do our best to answer it.

If you have any other fitness related questions, please let us know in the comments below.

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