Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Whey Protein Demystified: Little Miss Muffet

As soon as you start going to the gym, words like "Protein", "Supplement" , "Whey" , "Shakes" , "Protein Shakes" etc. will fall on your ears just like * insert your choice of analogy here*.

Before I tell you 'What Whey Protein IS" , let me clarify "What Whey Protein ISN'T"

  • A steroid
  • A magic potion that miraculously gives you a great physique
  • A hormone
  • A drug ( as in, for a Dope-head) 
  • A medicine 

  • Simply a "Dietary Supplement" 
  • Quoting Wikipedia : Dietary Supplement: A dietary supplement, also known as food supplement or nutritional supplement, is a preparation intended to supplement the diet and provide nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids, or amino acids, that may be missing or may not be consumed in sufficient quantities in a person's diet.
  • Supplements for the following nutrients are common: Vitamins; B C A D E K. Minerals ; Calcium, Magnesium, Iron. Proteins, Fats, Antioxidants etc. 

Now i bet you're thinking:
Whey is the liquid created/ by product of Cheese creation. Whey protein is a mixture globular  proteins isolated from this Whey.

Today your kids in India (If you have kids) are regular consumers of Whey Protein because, they drink "Bournvita" everyday! It contains Whey protein!

Yes, it is good for you. Following studies suggest the same (Mouse over for the Link on Study titles): 
  1. Effect of Dietary Protein on Resistance training induced changes on the body : Results prove that dietary protein has positive impacts on Body composition, Oral Glucose Tolerance & Skeletal Muscle content (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition/AJCN)
  2. Protein metabolism during intensive physical training: This study showed, Although the men who participated in the study did increase body protein stores and muscle mass with high-protein diets, the additional body protein did not enhance physiological work performance. It is suggested that in this sutdy 100 g of protein/day was adequate for men performing fairly heavy work.
  3. Whey of Life Research : Talks about Benefits of Whey Protein , like: 
    • Fighting cancer , healing wounds
    • Alertness, Bone growth
    • Managing Blood Pressure etc. 
Remember the poem : Little Miss Muffet

Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey;
Along came a spider,
Who sat down beside her,
And frightened Miss Muffet away.

Notice, Curds & WHEY in the above poem. So, Whey has been around for ages now and people have always been aware of the benefits it offers.

So is it necessary to consume Whey Protein to achieve your Fitness Goals?
 Certainly NOT!. Protein in the right amount is essential to achieve your goals. Now HOW you get that protein in your body is on you. Here's why I prefer Whey:
It's convenient!
  • A 32 gm scoop of Whey protein will give me 24 grams of proteins essential for my body. Time taken for preparation & Consumption: 3 minutes
  • 6 Egg whites will give me the same 24 grams of protein I require. Time taken for preparation & consumption: 30 minutes. 
So, it's on you. those xyz grams of protein for your body are essential. It's your choice where you take them from.

This brings us to Sources of Protein besides WHEY: 
  • Eggs, Milk, Meat, Curd, Cheese
  • Nuts & Seeds: Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Peanuts
  • Lean Meat : chicken etc. 
  • Veg sources: Chick Peas / Cholay, Kidney Beans / Rajmah , Tofu , Soy, Besan (Chickpea flour), , 
How Much protein should you consume:
A lot of varied research recommends consuming anywhere between : 0.4 gms per kg of bodyweight to 3-4 grams per kg of body weight. This depends on activity level, specialized nutritional requirements etc. 

One can safely consume 1-1.5 grms per kg of Body weight . That's approx 80 grams to 120 grams of protein for a person weighing 80 kgs.

My Conclusion: 
  • Consumption of WHEY PROTEIN is NOT ESSENTIAL
  • Consuption of PROTEIN from any sources IS ESSENTIAL ( This may or may not include Whey)
  • However, Whey Protein is good for you and offers numerous benefits
  • Whey protein is convenient, no doubt.
  • Consumption of Whey protein does not decide whether or not you will successfully achieve your fitness goals. It's your determination & discipline that will.
All the Best.