Whey is the way to muscle out stroke and heart disease risk
If you’re not a body builder, you probably wouldn’t think it’s worth your while to take a whey protein powder supplement.
But building muscle is far from the only benefit they offer: protein powders can also boost your metabolism and help you lose weight.
Still, if you really want to know the most compelling reason to take a protein powder…
It’s to boost your odds against two deadly diseases… heart disease and stroke.
Researcher from the University of Reading in the U.K. found that taking a whey protein powder, which comes from milk, could reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by up to eight percent.
In their study, researchers gave the powder to people with hypertension, and after eight weeks they had lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and healthier blood vessels — all risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
But, you should know, participants in the study didn’t take wimpy amounts of whey protein powder to get these results. They took as much as a body builder would — two protein shakes a day which contained a whopping 56 grams of protein.
You should also know that adding two protein shakes to your diet per day not only gives you a lot more protein, it gives you a lot more calories. In fact, study participants added 214 calories to their daily diet. But since they used the shakes to replace other calories in their diet, they didn’t gain any weight by the end of the study.
What you need to know about whey protein
Whey protein is made from the healthiest part of milk — the protein. In fact, whey protein is a complete protein, and it also contains all nine essential amino acids. It doesn’t, however, contain the carbohydrates and fat you usually get with a tall, frothy glass of milk, which means you can load up on protein without inadvertently loading up on carbs too.
On top of that, whey protein is one of the easiest and quickest types of protein supplements for your body to absorb — unless of course you have issues digesting dairy. But even if you do have lactose intolerance, there are types of whey protein that contain less than one percent lactose that can even be tolerated by people with lactose intolerance. The three types of whey protein on the market right now are:
- Whey protein concentrate, which contains some fat and carbs. Its protein levels range anywhere from 30 percent to 90 percent.
- Whey protein isolate, which has no fat or lactose and is always at least 90 percent protein.
- Whey protein hydrolysate, which is the easiest whey protein to digest because it’s gone through a process that predigests it for the body.
Use whey the right way
Before you go shopping for a whey protein powder, there are a few things you should consider… like whether your protein powder contains any chemicals or additives. As always, the simpler the ingredients the better, so shoot for 100 percent pure whey protein.
You should also consider what type of milk your whey protein was extracted from. It will cost you a little more, but if you can get whey protein from grass-fed milk, you’ll get a higher dose of inflammation-reducing omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).
Now, according to fitness expert Debra Atkinson the best time to take your whey protein is before or after you work out… even if your workout is just a walk around your neighborhood and not an intense set of weight lifting reps. That’s because, if you take it at other times of the day it may cause blood sugar spikes, something that will sabotage your health rather than improve it. For more on tips to use protein powder from Debra, see her post Protein powder A-Z, here.
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“Whey Protein: Health Benefits and Side Effects.” Medical News Today. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
“What are the benefits of protein powder, and should you take it?” Cosmopolitan. http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
Fekete, et al. “Whey protein lowers blood pressure and improves endothelial function and lipid biomarkers in adults with prehypertension and mild hypertension: results from the chronic Whey2Go randomized controlled trial.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2016.