22 Apr Why Whey?
Walking into any supplement nutrition store, you’ll see walls and walls of whey protein powders that are advertised to help in recovering after a workout. But have you ever looked at the ‘other’ ingredients? Have you ever wondered where the protein is sourced from? Most importantly, what protein powder should you get? Most people don’t think twice to look deeper into protein powders. They just read the claims on the package & buy it. No worries, I’m here to help!
Why are protein powders used & why is protein essential?
Protein powders are used to have an easily absorbable source of protein to help muscles recover after working out. Of course, you could eat real whole food sources of protein, but it takes longer to digest and longer until it works in the muscles. Which is why protein powders are talked about so much because it’s a quick way to get those proteins sent to your muscle because it doesn’t take as long to digest. Protein will help build your muscles after ‘tearing’ them during a workout. Proteins are made up of amino acids and these amino acids help hormone regulation, building of your immune system, muscle growth, helps with blood sugar stability, eases depression, supports antioxidants in your body and more! So obviously, protein is ESSENTIAL, especially after a workout.
What’s the BEST kind of protein powder?
The best source of protein powders is protein coming from animals. Plant proteins such as soy and pea, aren’t as bioavailable as animal proteins. Plant proteins are usually not prepared correctly to avoid the detrimental effects of phytic acid, saponins, and other antinutrients. Antinutrients can inhibit absorption of essential nutrients to the body and cause us to be nutrient deficient. Most plant proteins aren’t complete, so you always have to pair it up with another protein to make it complete. Plant proteins are low in branched chain amino acids (BCAA), which is essential to muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth). This studyshowed that whey protein powder was more efficient in gaining lean body mass versus soy.
Whey protein is one of the most popular protein powders. It is a complete protein, meaning that it has all essential amino acids. It is an easy way to get those BCAAs. The three branched chain amino acids are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. BCAA helps protein synthesis, increase lean body mass, helps healing injuries, help with fat loss, balances blood sugars, and can increase energy. This study shows that whey also has lactoferrin, beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin, and immunoglobulins, which all help enhance immunity.
Whey has been shown to be an antioxidant, antitumor, antiviral, antibacterial, hypolipidemic, and antihypertensive. Whey protein is the protein powder that I highly recommend! BUT, there are so many whey powders on the market that are from cows that aren’t organic, eat GMO-feed, and the powder is processed so much that it becomes denatured and nutrient quality is lost. When buying a whey protein powder, look for ORGANIC, non-denatured and made from GRASS-FED cows. Organic grass-fed cows shouldn’t be using any antibiotics or hormones, which most whey proteins on the market do use cows that use hormones (gross!). The quality of where the whey comes from is HUGE. You don’t want to be using whey that is from a factory farmed sick cow. You want it from a grass-fed pasture-raised cow that is nutritionally rich.
There are usually two types of whey protein : whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate. The whey protein isolate usually has more protein (~95%), while the whey protein concentrate usually has a little bit less protein, but more fat. Some protein powders have a mix of the two.
What are some ingredients I should watch out for?
With supplements, ALWAYS look at the ‘other’ ingredients. I see so many supplements that the main supplement can be sourced great, but the ‘other’ ingredients are HORRIBLE. Watch out for artificial sweeteners and artificial flavors in this section. Be careful of any food coloring that may be added. Maltodextrin is another additive that is put into whey protein powders, which is sourced from genetically modified corn.
The ‘other’ ingredients should be super simple with just whey, maybe some stevia or other natural sweetener or raw cacao. If it’s a paragraph length, toss it. It’s not a good one.
Companies that Thrival recommends
Some companies that I have found that are more superior than the usual protein powders are Primal Kitchen (my favorite!) Reserveage Organics, Natural Force Organic Whey, Jarrow Grass-fed Whey, and Mattole Valley Naturals.
I hope this educated you on how to shop for a good quality whey & what not to look for! Do you use whey?