Derived from milk, whey protein is a mix of protein, amino acids, lactose and minerals. Whey contains very little fat since whey is the fluid that is left behind after the fats in milk form a solid called cheese. The liquid is then dehydrated to form a whey protein powder that is commonly used to build muscle. Whey protein is very easy to digest and quickly releases the proteins and amino acids to help repair and build muscle tissue.
How Does Whey Protein Work for Weight Loss?
Current research indicates that whey protein may actually help you to lose weight as you build muscles. There seem to be several mechanisms by which whey can help decrease hunger and affect hormones that contribute to weight loss.
1. Influence Food Intake
The hormone cholecystokinin is one of the hormones that seems to regulate appetite by controlling the feeling of fullness. In research studies, people who consumed whey protein prior to eating actually ate far fewer calories. The assumption is that the whey protein caused increased levels of cholecystokinin. This increase made the research subjects feel full before eating and, consequently, they ate fewer calories.
2. Increase Insulin Sensitivity
Any high protein diet can cause increased sensitivity to insulin. As the sensitivity to insulin increases plasma insulin levels decrease, blood sugar is controlled better and the storage of fat in the body diminishes.
3. Build Lean Muscle
Whey protein builds strong, lean muscles and burns fat when combined with a sensible program of exercise. In studies, it has been shown that consuming whey protein prior to exercise causes the body to burn fats rather than glucose during exercise. Since whey protein is easily digested, the protein and amino acids are available very quickly resulting in increased muscle mass while burning fat.
4. Affect Mood
Another substance that controls appetite is serotonin. This substance is derived from tryptophan. Whey protein is extremely high in tryptophan. In addition to increasing serotonin levels, whey protein may also decrease levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that is one of the leading causes of depression.
How Should I Use Whey Protein for Weight Loss?
Whey protein is available in many different brands and can be taken in many different ways.
1. Whey Protein Powder
Whey proteins are typically sold as powders under various brand names. Current research would indicate that ISO and Optimum brand whey protein powders are two of the top-rated brands. Other brands to try include:
- Bioplex Research Complete Whey
- Designer Whey
- Dymatize Elite Whey
- ISS Research Complex Whey
- NOW Foods Whey Protein
- Syntrax Nectar
- VPX Zero Carb Protein
Try several brands to determine which works best for you. Available in different flavors, you can have your choice of whey protein powders.
2. Whey Protein Shake
Whey protein shakes are an easy and tasty way to take in whey protein. These shakes will help fill you up while giving you the proteins necessary to help you lose weight. If you are drinking these shakes before an exercise routine, you can increase the amount of whey protein powder that you use. This will give you increased protein to use during the exercise resulting in increased fat burn and increased muscle building.
Ingredient and Instruction
Vanilla Whey Protein Shake
Mix the whey powder and milk in a blender until mixed. Add the other ingredients and continue to mix. The resulting shake should be served immediately in a cold glass.
Banana Whey Protein Shake
Mix the whey powder, banana and low fat milk in a blender until mixed. Add the other ingredients and continue to mix. The resulting shake should be served immediately in a cold glass.