Whey protein is by far one of my favorite supplements for many reasons. One, it’s the quickest and easiest to make. Two, it kills any cravings for sweets. Three, it repairs your muscles and helps them recover quickly. And more importantly, whey protein preserves lean body mass and helps decrease body fat, especially when used either before, during and/or after a workout. (During these times, whey protein works more efficiently than eating healthy solid food).
In addition to supporting the body’s recovery from working out, whey protein shakes can be used to:1
• support protein absorption in people with damaged small intestines;
• support immune function in people who are ill;
• speed healing from injury and illness;
• assist in hormonal modulation;
• support some vegetarian diets;
• assist in treating people with chronic diseases;
• support and repair the digestive system.
What’s more, I was just reading an article in Life Extension Magazine’s May 2011 issue in which they point out that whey protein aids in lowering blood pressure. According to the magazine, “Whey-enriched milk products demonstrate convincing reductions in blood pressure, compared to placebo or casein supplemented patients.”
On the other hand, you need to know that NOT ALL WHEY PROTEIN POWDERS ARE CREATED EQUAL and may not be beneficial to your health.
Here are some of the side effects that can happen if you consume a low-quality whey protein or are using it for reasons other than those listed above:
• skin problems
• pungent sweat
• water retention
• poor concentration and foggy thinking
• digestive troubles
• muscle/joint aches and pains
• sinus and ear congestion
Because of this, there are a few things to consider when supplementing with whey protein:
1. Know where it comes from (the source): healthy grass-fed cows or goats vs. hormone-injected cattle. Where whey protein comes from is extremely important because you are what you eat. And if you are getting this whey protein from milk which was derived from a grain-fed cow that was given hormones and antibiotics, chances are, you’re getting a lower-quality whey. Other problems occur with the addition of synthetic vitamins and chemicals in the milk used to make the whey, which can destroy digestive enzymes and proteins, reduce the absorption of minerals and cause toxic buildup in the digestive system … just to name a few.2
2. Know how it was processed: Was the whey commercially farmed, organically farmed or certified organic? How was it shipped? Was it pasteurized? How was it handled and stored at the manufacturer? Was it cold-processed and non-denatured? These are all questions to ask in order to know the quality of the whey protein. Below, I list some of my favorites and some that I haven’t tried but are highly recommended by top doctors.
3. Know why you are using it: Are you using it as a meal replacement or to support your body’s repair and recovery when working out? Nothing compares to real whole food for your body, even if it’s the best supplement out there. I don’t recommend you use it just because… Whey protein is not a meal replacement and should be used for the purposes I listed above, such as for repairing your muscles and recovering after a workout.
My recommended whey protein powder:
o Warrior Whey (available at Warrior Whey) – This would be my first and only choice. It has no chemical additives, no artificial sweeteners, no sugar alcohol, no soy protein, no fructose and no gluten. And it’s also from grass-fed cows. It is non-denatured and cold-pressed. And it even contains colostrum (the first milk produced by cows during the first few days after giving birth). Colostrum is rich in immunoglobulins – certain types of protein that promote the immune system and can fight germs.
The last couple of things you should know is that most whey protein powders have cheap synthetic vitamins and minerals added, contain artificial flavors, sweeteners and colorings, stabilizers and add cheap protein like soy protein and casein. In addition the fats are poor quality and often processed, exposed to heat and pasteurized. So look at the ingredients please and ask questions! Other than that, you have some pretty great choices above.
One last tip: Try to buy whey protein in small containers because every time you open it, the protein gets oxidized and loses some of its original bioactivity.