Haven’t you heard about WHEY PROTEIN? Yes, of course, who hasn’t! But have you ever tried to dig into, WHY to use it? Or, even what other benefits does this high-quality protein has apart from using it as a supplement for bodybuilding or weight loss. Well, Whey Protein provides far more than that. It has immune boosting and anti-cancer benefits as well. Researchers suggest that it may also be able to reduce stress, lower cortisol, increase serotonin levels, improve liver function, reduce blood pressure and undeniably help in weight loss.
So, let’s start by – WHAT IS WHEY?
WHEY is actually referred to a complex milk-based ingredient made up of protein, lactose fat, and minerals. Protein is the best-known component of whey and is made up of many smaller protein sub fractions which have their own unique biological properties.
WHAT IS WHEY PROTEIN?
Whey protein is a milk protein that is the liquid by-product of cheese production. In supplement form, whey protein comes in three main forms:
- Whey Protein Concentrate: Contains some fat and lactose and between 29% – 89% protein depending on the specific product. Whey protein concentrates often have more bio-active compounds.
- Whey Protein Isolates: Contains minimal fat, cholesterol and lactose and 90% or more protein.
- Whey Protein Hydrolysates: Are often used in clinical nutrition applications because they are partially broken into peptides, therefore, easier to absorb.
Is whey a weight loss functional food?
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There were several studies suggesting that there are certain properties of whey protein which make it potential as a weight loss supplement. These have also been supported by recent studies. Human hunger and appetite are regulated by the phenomenally complicated set of overlapping feedback networks, involving a long list of hormones, psychological factors as well as physiological factors. One hormone is getting attention by the researchers looking for a possible solution to obesity is Cholecystokinin (CKK).
Cholecystokinin (CCK) is a small peptide with multiple functions in both the central nervous system and the periphery largely responsible for the feeling of fullness after a meal and partially controls appetite, at least in the short term.
CCK is released by ingested food from the gastrointestinal tract and meditates satiety after a meal. The release of the “master hormones” like insulin and leptin depends on the concentration and composition of nutrients ingested. This means the type of nutrients (i.e., Fat, Protein and Carbs) eaten, the amount of each eaten, and the composition of meal, all affect which hormones are released and in what amount. Whey protein may have some unique effects on food intake via its effect on CCK and other pathways.
OKAY! BUT HOW DOES WHEY HELPS?
Whey Protein is essentially rich in Leucine. Leucine is a peptide that plays a key role in protein synthesis, a process that burns through quite a few calories. In addition, it stimulates fatty acid oxidation. Apart from protein digestion and absorption:
- Whey Satiates Your Appetite: Studies show that whey may satiate your appetite better than some other types of protein. Milk proteins contain glycomacropeptide – a peptide that stimulates the Cholecystokinin (CCK).
- Studies Show Supplemental Whey Helps People Drop Body Fat: There are at least two studies where scientists examined whey protein supplementation and weight loss. In one study at the University of Oklahoma, scientists told both groups of participants not to change their diet. However, one group was given a nutrition supplement containing whey (300 calories, 40 grams of protein) once per day for two weeks and twice a day for the remaining eight weeks of the study. Both groups engaged in a supervised resistance and endurance-training program for 10 weeks. After the 10-week study, both groups decreased fat mass but the exercise + food supplement group showed a significantly greater decrease in fat mass (-9.3% versus -4.6% in the exercise-only group). The supplemented group also showed significant gains from pre- to post-test in muscle mass and significant decreases in total and LDL cholesterol.
A 2006 study found that adding 60 grams of whey protein per day, in comparison to 60 grams of soy protein or 60 grams of carbohydrate, led to significant decreases in body fat and weight after 6 months.
Solid research suggests that by supporting satiety, reducing caloric intake, promoting fat burning, and boosting lean body mass, whey may benefit individuals striving to achieve or maintain a healthy weight. Whey may also support a healthy response to stress and help maintain healthy levels of the brain’s neurotransmitters.