Ok this isn’t really sold as a superfood but whey protein is a worthy addition to this list, often mistaken for something only bodybuilders use and a product that is going to turn you into the next Mr/Mrs Olympia, whey protein can help your health and fitness goals. Whey protein can be very rewarding when it comes to achieving your goals, but this is only once you manage to get the bloody scoop out of the bottom of the tub! This will soon become the worst moment of your day each time you buy a new protein tub!
Whey protein is found in milk along with Casein which is a slow release protein, it is absorbed at a much faster rate than other proteins which is why it is often taken after a workout to help muscles recover at a faster rate and has been shown to increase muscle protein synthesis, the rate at which muscle fibres break down proteins.
Don’t worry the average person will not create bodies like these unless that is your aim!
When should I use it?
Whey protein is usually taken post workout to help aid the recovery of your muscles after a training session although they can be taken throughout the day to help you hit your protein intake goals and to keep you feeling full. Protein helps keep you feeling fuller for longer so using this as a way to boost your intake would be very beneficial to keep you on track and to stop you snacking on foods you shouldn’t be having in your plan.
What type should I use?
As stated before there is whey and casein, but whey is then broken down into other types like isolate, concentrate and hydrolysate. Concentrate is the most common and cheapest option and we recommend you look at purchasing isolate where possible as this is the purest form at 90-95% protein in your product as other protein types can drop to around 25% protein.
Casein is a slower released protein and usually is taken at night before going to sleep so the muscles can use the protein to help rebuild the muscles and replenish the body as you sleep and we will delve into this in more detail at another time, for now focus on getting whey isolate.
What brand should I buy?
This is completely down to you, it is trial an error until you find a brand you are comfortable with, as each brand will provide you with different benefit, flavour, texture and protein content. Do not give up on the first one you try as you may love another brand, if you can get some sample sachets so you are not stuck with a 5kg tub of protein that you don’t like, trust me from my own personal experience it is not fun!
Most people start out at my protein or protein works and then try other brands from there, so have a look at those 2 as a start point.
Remember to sample new brands until you are sure you like it!
Other benefits of whey protein?
Other health research has shown that whey protein can aid with weight loss and weight control by increasing your satiety and reducing your need to snack, promote muscle gain by providing the essential nutrients needed by the muscles to rebuild and grow after a training session, support heart health by increasing the number of HDL, healthy cholesterols while keeping the triglycerides levels within the healthy range. It also improve immunity as it provides Immunoglobulin which is an antibody used within the body. The studies that support most of these claims though are not taking into consideration that adding more protein to your daily intake could have the same health benefits, but whey protein is a lot either to intake rather than a couple of extra chicken breasts per day!
Definitely worth adding into your daily routine either as a snack to reduce you breaking your plan or as a post-workout recovery, it is simple and easy to introduce and comes in some incredible flavours but you just need to find a brand you like and are willing to stick to for a long period of time. It allows you to hit your required protein intake with a lot more ease. The amount you need to be taking in will depend on your health and fitness goals, your coach should be able to tell you how much protein you should be taking in each day, so be sure to follow the guidelines and do not exceed these.
Be sure to use isolate to get the most protein content per drink and keep an eye on the calorie intake from whatever liquid you use to mix it with as shakes can be created with water but usually taste better with milk, so you would need to note the additional calories taken in from the milk.