Whey protein is the most popular protein supplement among fitness enthusiasts, athletes, and bodybuilders. It has even been established by some studies that whey protein can facilitate weight loss. So if you are worried that drinking whey protein can lead to weight gain, then you can put your mind at ease.
What is Whey Protein?
Whey protein is one of the proteins found in milk, together with casein. Whey is the liquid by-product of cheese-making. Whey protein powder is made by further processing this liquid to reduce the fat and lactose and drying the protein.
Whey protein is a complete protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids. It is loaded with branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) which are important in efficient muscle protein synthesis.
Whey Protein and Fitness
If you’ll gain anything from supplementing your diet with whey protein, it’s muscle mass. Whey is one of the best sources of high-quality protein, and adequate protein intake is necessary for muscle growth and strength.
Athletes, bodybuilders, and those who are serious about developing leaner and stronger muscles know that the muscles need quick access to amino acids in order to repair themselves and to grow new and stronger muscle tissue during and after an intense workout. Whey protein provides easily digestible protein, which means that the protein is rapidly absorbed and utilized by the body.
Through the process of thermogenesis, whey protein converts calories into heat energy. When you use your muscles a lot through exercise, whey protein burns more calories for your body’s energy needs.
Depending on your workout regimen and fitness goals, you can either gain muscle mass (bulk up) or you can develop leaner muscles (more toned and well-defined muscles) with the help of whey protein. But you will not gain weight from fat. In fact, whey protein powders typically have very low fat and carbohydrate content.
Whey Protein and Weight Loss
Whey protein also provides calories for fuel, but it also increases satiety and makes you feel fuller faster and longer. This means you will have reduced appetite, which will further facilitate weight loss as it will support your weight-loss diet plan.
With your protein intake from food supplemented by whey protein, your body will also be more efficient in maintaining lean muscle mass, and several studies have shown that supporting muscle health and growth boosts metabolism and burns more fat.
However, adding whey protein to your diet can make you put on weight if you are not making use of the additional fuel you’re consuming. You cannot simply take whey protein and expect to lose weight. While a protein-rich diet has been shown to support weight loss, you still have to do the work and maintain a calorie deficit. Simply put, too much whey and not enough physical activity will lead to weight gain.
You have to remember that protein is also a source of calories. If you are dieting and/or trying to gain leaner muscles, you will have to engage in regular exercise to avoid a calorie surplus or maintain a calorie deficit. It is also not healthy to simply replace real food with whey protein as a dieting strategy as you will be depriving yourself of many essential vitamins and nutrients.
Choosing the Right Kind of Whey Protein
If you are trying to lose weight, gain muscle mass and/or develop better muscle tone, it’s important to choose the right kind of whey protein. Make sure your supplement formula is a “clean” protein powder.
A clean whey protein powder does not have added sugar, artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavorings. The presence of these synthetic ingredients increases the calories per scoop/serving of the protein powder which might increase your daily calorie intake beyond your set limit for weight loss.
Additionally, choose only fresh, healthy, and clean ingredients for your protein powder mixture. For a protein shake, for example, mix your powder only with water and a handful of fruits that are also low in calories and sugar. Skip the milk if you’re working on shedding pounds. You can also mix whey protein powder with oatmeal, yogurt, and pancakes.
However you mix your protein powder, just keep track of the added calories to make sure that you’re staying within your daily calorie limit.
Whey Protein and Weight – Final Thoughts
Taking whey protein as a supplement provides great benefits if you are trying to gain muscle mass, build leaner muscles, and/or lose weight. But you have to keep in mind that whey protein is also a source of calories, so you should also keep track of how many calories your supplement adds to your daily intake so you can stay within your fitness and weight-loss goals.
How you mix your whey protein will also affect your total calorie intake and, therefore, whether or not you gain weight or lose weight from the supplement. Additionally, if you’re trying to trim down, choose whey protein supplements that have no added sugars, artificial flavors, and other synthetic ingredients.
As a dietary supplement, whey protein is a great source of high-quality protein. It contains all 9 essential amino acids and provides amazing support for muscle growth and strength. If you’re on a high-protein, weight-loss diet plan, adding whey protein to your daily food intake can be beneficial as long as you keep a close eye on your total daily calorie intake and engage in regular exercise.
Learn more about developing a personalized weight-loss strategy through Modern Fit’s various health and fitness plans!