Protein FAQs


1. What is whey protein?

Whey protein is derived from milk proteins as part of the cheese manufacturing process. Remember the nursery rhyme “Little Miss Muffet” – who sat on her tuffet eating her curds and whey? For decades, whey was used as animal feed. Veterinarians noticed how healthy the animals became when they were fed whey, which led to research into the benefits of whey. By 1992, a process was developed to extract the pure amino acids from milk proteins leaving behind all the sugar (lactose), fat, and cholesterol. What the nutritional scientists came up with is the purest, cleanest, most biologically-available (most easily absorbed) source of protein in history. Whey protein isolate is the richest source of the eight essential amino acids and branched-chain amino acids that your body needs for growth, energy, and vibrant health.   

2. Who is whey protein powder for?

Whey protein powder is ideal for:  

  • Children and teenagers. Whey protein helps stabilize children’s blood sugar, increases production of feel-good brain chemicals that help increase mental clarity and focus. It also provides the protein essential for growing bodies, particularly brain development and lean muscle.
  • Adults. As you get older, your body becomes less efficient at absorbing protein. Whey protein is the most easily absorbed protein available. It can reverse the aging process and rebuild the immune system. It can ensure that you are rarely, if ever, sick, and that you will begin to look and feel years younger.
  • People on the go. The busier you are, the more energy you need. Whey protein helps increase mental and physical energy instantly and can taken on the go.
  • Athletes and body builders. Whey protein is the most easily and quickly absorbed protein available. It helps build muscle by stimulating maximum protein synthesis.

3. What are the benefits of whey protein powder?

Research shows that whey protein powder has the following health benefits: 

  • Stabilizes blood sugar and prevents diabetes by slowing assimilation of carbohydrates into glucose in the bloodstream.
  • Reduces stress and alleviates depression by slowing production of the powerful stress hormone cortisol and by promoting the release of serotonin, a calming neurotransmitter.
  • Promotes fat loss by enhancing the release of glucagon (which builds muscle and burns fat) and by inhibiting the release of insulin (which encourages fat storage).
  • Builds muscle by stimulating maximum protein synthesis.
  • Enhances the immune system by raising the body’s levels of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant produced by the body to protect cells and neutralize toxins.
  • Increases exercise capacity.
  • Has the highest biological value of any protein (a measure of nitrogen retained for growth or maintenance) because it is absorbed, utilized, and retained by the body better than other proteins
  • Encourages bone growth and helps to prevent osteoporosis.

4. What is the difference between soy protein and whey protein?

Soy protein comes from soybeans, which are legumes (a source of carbohydrates). The protein from soy is not complete. It is missing one of the essential amino acids, called methionine. Most soy protein powders are fortified with this amino acid, making them complete, but they also are processed using hexane and other toxic chemicals that are not safe for the body. In addition, the body does not easily absorb soy protein, giving it a low biological value. This means that a significant percentage of the protein passes through the body unused. Soy is an inferior source of protein to whey protein. Soy has also been linked to increased estrogen levels.

5. Are there any side effects associated with whey protein?

Whey protein increases glutathione levels in the blood and liver. Glutathione is the body’s most powerful antioxidant and plays a key role in immune function. When liver glutathione levels rise, the liver is able to more effectively detoxify the body. Some people (especially those who have had a highly toxic diet or who have been exposed to high levels of environmental toxins) may have a mild temporary reaction to the mobilized toxins as the liver is removing them from storage in body fat. Whey protein isolate is composed of the same basic proteins that are found in human breast milk and has the same side effects profile as human breast milk. Because it is a milk protein, people who are allergic to milk proteins may experience minor gastric distress from whey protein. This gastric distress usually disappears if you reduce the amount of whey protein you eat. If you have a serious milk protein allergy (which is very rare), you should not use whey isolate. Lactose intolerance is not a milk allergy.

6. Is whey protein just for athletes and bodybuilders?

No, absolutely not. Whey protein has long been the protein of choice for athletes and body builders because it is the most easily absorbed, purest source of complete protein available. But this is important for everyone, not just athletes and body builders. Plus, it comes in a convenient powder that can be added to a variety of foods making it a great choice for people on the go. Whey protein is also so pure that it is perfect for babies (after being weaned off breast milk), growing children (strengthens bones), teenagers (helps prevent and treat ADD and ADHD), and adults (provides extra energy for busy people and slows aging as the ability to digest protein lessens). Whey protein isolate is very easily absorbed and is extremely anabolic, meaning it helps build muscle mass. It is also a powerful immune booster that helps prevent sickness and disease.

7. What should I look for in a high quality protein powder?

There are various factors to consider when looking for a high-quality protein:

  • A high-quality supplement should first and foremost have generous amounts of all eight essential amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of all proteins, and proteins are the building blocks of muscle. “Essential” means that your body needs it but cannot manufacture it so you must eat it. The eight essential amino acids are tryptophan, lysine, leucine, methionine, phenylalanine, valine, threonine, and isoleucine. Leucine, valine and isoleucine are branched chain amino acids (BCAA) which make up one-third of all muscle protein and are absolutely essential components of a protein supplement.
  • Research has proven that whey protein isolate produced using the cross-flow micro-filtration processing method is best for maximum nitrogen retention and optimum anabolic response (muscle building/repair). This processing technique keeps 98-99% (or more) of the proteins in their natural form. This means that it does not denature the proteins. Keeping proteins in their natural form is essential to the whey’s anti-cancer and immune-boosting activity. Next best are whey concentrates that are usually about 80-90% undenatured.
  • Next, a protein supplement should be very low in sugar. Look at the carbohydrate content on the nutritional facts label. If there are more than a couple of grams of sugar per serving, it is not high quality. Total carbohydrates should be no more than 3-4 grams per serving. 100% whey protein isolate is the only type of whey that is lactose-free, fat-free, and cholesterol-free.
  • Whey protein should be naturally sweetened. Avoid any product that contains artificial sweeteners because they are known to accelerate brain aging and have a host of other detrimental side effects. Stevia leaf extract is the best sugar-free natural sweetener.
  • Protein supplements should also be fat-free and should be cholesterol-free.
  • Finally, there are many soy and vegetable protein supplements, particularly popular with vegetarians. But soy is not a complete protein, meaning it does not contain all the essential amino acids. Also, soy proteins are not as biologically available as animal sources and whey protein, meaning they are not as readily usable by your body. This makes them an inferior protein supplement.

8. How much protein does the body need?

Protein is the raw building material for muscle tissue and other body proteins. 60-70% of the body’s protein is found in muscle tissue. In order for muscle growth to occur (which is key for getting lean), you must consume more protein than you utilize. The amount of protein you need ranges anywhere from .8 grams per pound of body weight to 1.5 grams or more, depending on your activity level and training goals. The bigger you are, the more active you are. And the more under stress you are, the more lean protein you need. Pregnant and lactating women, children, and carbohydrate-sensitive people need 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day.

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