Protein is the body’s primary building block for repairing and developing muscle, skin, bone, hair, and many other types of tissue. Protein powders are an incredibly convenient way of adding high-quality, and often great-tasting proteins to your diet.
The most common variety of protein powder is made from whey protein which is actually a by-product of milk and cheese production. There are several kinds of whey protein on the market; however, the benefits mentioned in this article apply to all of them.
Whey protein has been shown to display many benefits including:
Protein has a higher thermic effect in the body than fats or carbohydrates, that is to say, the body burns more calories to digest and metabolize protein than it does with any other macronutrient. Protein also blunts the insulin response caused by food intake, suppressing the appetite and helping you stay fuller for longer.
Protein is absolutely essential to the building of tissues in the body with the most obvious one being muscle. Whey protein provides your body with all of the essential amino acids it needs for growth and repair, and kick starts protein synthesis making it the ideal tool in your muscle-building arsenal.
Increased recovery from exercise
Supplying your body with a full spectrum of amino acids and the hormone growth factors contained within whey protein will help to speed up your body’s recovery from exercise, meaning that your workouts will be far more productive and you will not suffer from as much soreness in your day-to-day life.
Also tied in with recovery from exercise, whey protein has powerful immune-boosting properties. Whey protein has been shown to slow the growth of cancerous cells and promote increased growth of new cells in flesh wounds and injuries. A study involving 130 US Marines involved supplementing with just 10g of additional protein. The marines were shown to suffer fewer infections, less muscle soreness, and less heat exhaustion.
Increase in antioxidant concentrations
Glutathione is an antioxidant that serves to protect the body from free toxins and free radicals. Animal studies conducted using milk proteins have also been shown the potential to reduce the risk of cancer.
Excessive consumption of whey protein can lead to bloating, flatulence, and in some extreme cases, diarrhea or even cramping. These and other symptoms such as headaches are typically caused by either the lactose – more prevalent in whey concentrate – or the artificial sweeteners and flavorings.
If you are sensitive to lactose then it may be a good idea to opt for a purer whey protein such as whey isolate. Isolates are more easily-digested due to the way they are processed, so your body will be able to handle them with fewer complications.
It is unlikely they you will consume enough protein to damage your kidneys; however, if you do have a pre-existing condition then it would be very wise to consult a physician before adding supplemental protein into your diet.