Whey protein is the protein contained in whey, the watery portion of milk that separates from the curds when making cheese. Whey protein is commonly used for improving athletic performance and increasing strength, but evidence to support these uses is mixed. Whey protein provides substantial amounts of the essential amino acids that are needed to carry out the functions that proteins perform in the body. Whey protein typically in the form of a powder can be added to liquids or soft foods, such as applesauce, or blended with ice and fresh fruit to make a smoothie.
What are the health benefits of whey protein?
Aiding weight loss: In one study of 158 people, published in Nutrition & Metabolism, those who were given whey “lost significantly more body fat and showed a greater preservation of lean muscle compared to subjects consuming the control beverage.”
Anti-cancer properties: Promising results were published in the journal Anticancer Research for the use of whey protein concentrate in cancer treatment. More research is needed.
Lowering cholesterol: A study, published in The British Journal of Nutrition, gave whey supplements to 70 overweight men and women for 12 weeks and measured a number of parameters, such as lipid and insulin levels. They found that “there was a significant decrease in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol at week 12 in the whey group compared with the casein (group).”
Asthma: Whey protein could improve the immune response in children with asthma. One small study involving 11 children, published in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition, found that children with asthma who were supplemented with 10 gram whey protein twice daily for 1 month had an improved immune response.
Blood pressure and cardiovascular disease: Research published in the International Dairy Journal found that beverages that were supplemented with whey protein significantly reduced blood pressure in patients with hypertension; their risk of developing heart disease or stroke was also lower.
Reducing weight loss in people with HIV: A study published in the journal Clinical and Investigative Medicine found that whey protein may help reduce weight loss among HIV-positive patients. SEE:5 Strategies For Getting The Best Out Of Supplements
How does it work?
Whey protein is a source of protein that might improve the nutrient content of the diet. Like all proteins, whey protein is made of building blocks called amino acids. Protein in the body is primarily used for muscle growth and to repair tissues. When people digest food, they break down the proteins into amino acids and then use those amino acids to build new proteins.
How to Spot Fake Whey Protein Supplements
Fake whey protein supplements are a public health hazard because they are poor quality products that often contain heavy metals which can have far-reaching health consequences. Heavy metal toxicity can be acute or chronic effects. Long-term exposure of the body to heavy metal can progressively lead to muscular, physical, and neurological degenerative processes that are similar to diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and Alzheimer’s disease. Here is how to identify genuine and counterfeit whey protein supplements:
- Solubility in Water
Fake supplements aren’t there to improve your muscle mass, they focus on making the smugglers rich. These smugglers use the cheapest materials to make the protein supplements which leads to hard insoluble powders.
If you’ve ever used a genuine protein supplement, you would know how easy it is to dissolve in water. Fake protein supplements are the opposite of this. You won’t be able to mix fake protein powder in water with a spoon. You will need a blender bottle and some hard shakes of the wrist to dissolve the powder in the water.
- Texture of the Whey protein
If you’ve ever seen a protein supplement before this point, you know the powder has a constant texture. This might not be the case with fake supplements. You can expect to find irregularities in the powder.
These irregularities can be anything from vitamin powders to crushed chalk. It is recommended you buy supplements that have a unique flavor. Flavors like chocolate and vanilla are the most common to be tampered with.
- Taste of the Whey protein
When you tamper with the ingredients of a supplement, it will surely affect its taste. The best way to check if a protein is fake or not is to check its taste. If you know someone who is using the same protein powder, exchange one serving with them.
This taste test will be enough to reveal if you have the real thing. Fake protein supplements are also known to have a pungent smell and leave a bad aftertaste in your mouth. Also, check if your supplement has the same taste throughout. If the taste is changing after every serving, you have a fake supplement.
- Side Effects of Whey protein
Since fake supplements have cheaper ingredients or substitute elements, they can have a negative effect on your body. If you see any ill effects on your body after switching to a new supplement, it’s a sign of a fake protein powder. The most common side effects of fake supplements are the formation of acne and marks on your back and arms, and hair fall. Stop using the supplements when any of these signs start appearing.
Genuine Whey protein is LIKELY SAFE for most children and adults when taken appropriately. However, High doses can cause some side effects such as increased bowel movements, nausea, thirst, bloating, cramps, reduced appetite, tiredness (fatigue), and headache.
The product packaging of these fake supplements can be the biggest giveaway. Smugglers might use a substandard quality of jars or labels to save cost. If you have seen the original packaging, you would be able to tell the difference without a problem.
There are some cases where these crooks use the disposed and intact boxes of supplements to repackage their fake supplements. It can be hard in such situations to tell the difference between the real and the fake. It is always advised to crush your containers after you’re done using them to prevent piracy. SEE: Creatine Supplement Side Effects and Benefits