If you’re new to bodybuilding, you will have probably thought about supplements at one point by now. There are so many kinds of supplements available that it can become quite overwhelming which one to choose. However, the most popular without question would have to be whey protein.
Whey protein is a by-product during the production of cheese, and it has the highest known levels of branched chain amino acids of any natural food source.
Since whey protein is in a powdered form, it is very useful when you need a quick fix of protein. You will often need protein quickly after your weight lifting workouts to encourage protein synthesis. It is recommended that people eat something high in protein 0-30 minutes after their workout.
The reason for eating so soon after your workout is to inhibit the production of a catabolic hormone known as cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone which shuts down muscle growth. It increases in our body after we have used up a lot of energy and in order to prevent a build up of it; you need to refuel your body with calories. The easiest way of doing this is to have a whey protein shake as it takes literally no preparation time whatsoever and will be digested quicker than solid food.
It is also useful to have in the mornings. Your muscles will be craving for some more food in the mornings since most of the time you won’t have eaten since dinner. Having a protein shake prior to or alongside breakfast will satisfy your muscles quickly and allow them to continue to rebuild.
Bodybuilders ideally need to be eating something nutritious every few hours so that they can keep feeding their muscles and allow them to grow. It is time-consuming and difficult to eat so many meals throughout the day. Whey protein allows you to have a high protein snack very quickly and can feel less filling than solid food.
Whey protein contains an antioxidant called glutathione which is required for a healthy immune system. Whey can help athletes maintain a strong immune system as glutathione levels may be reduced by exercise and resistance training.
Whey protein can also help those who are trying to lose weight. If you choose a protein shake which is low in carbohydrates, it can be a useful method of having a low-calorie/low carb snack in between your meals.
If used correctly, whey protein can help you with muscle gains or weight loss. However, you should remember that whey protein is just a supplement at the end of the day and is no substitute for a good diet. Having a good diet should be your priority, once you do that, whey protein on the side can be beneficial. Before you start supplementing with whey, I would highly recommend that you read these whey protein dangers.
More recent research indicates that whey protein may actually be advantageous for diabetes. Specifically, some studies have found that whey protein may have a blood glucose and/or insulin lowering effects (mediated by incretins). However, there’s no conclusive research that shows it has any effects on blood pressure, cholesterol levels or vascular health.