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Frequently Asked Questions about Whey Protein

Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions about Whey Protein - and their corresponding answers.

#1. Does Whey Protein Have any Side Effects?

Whey protein is found in milk. There are no documented side effects provided a person does not have an allergy to dairy proteins or does not need to restrict dairy products for medical reasons. If you are allergic to dairy proteins please consult with a physician prior to consuming any type of whey protein.

#2. There are so many different kinds. Which Whey Protein Supplement is right for me?

When it comes to choosing a whey protein supplement that's right for you there are two main things you need to take into consideration: budget and quality. There are 3 main types of whey protein available:

    Whey protein isolate - the most pure form of whey protein - more expensive.

    Whey protein concentrate - not as pure, slightly higher fat & lactose - cheap.

    Whey protein blend - a mixture of isolate and concentrate - moderately priced.

Obviously, the more pure and high quality the product is then the higher the price tag will be. This is why whey protein isolate is the most expensive form of whey protein. But you get what you pay for, pure whey protein is literally zero fat, zero carbs and zero lactose. It's the highest quality protein and will give you the most protein per serving with the least amount of calories. So if you have the money to spend, then whey protein isolate is the best quality protein available.

#3. What are the Pros and Cons of Whey Protein Isolate?

Pros of Whey Protein Isolate:
  1.     Purest form of whey protein available
  2.     Fat free, lactose free, carb free
  3.     Excellent amino acid profile
  4.     More protein per serving
  5.     Ideal for both muscle building & fat loss
Cons of Whey Protein Isolate:
  1.    More expensive than concentrate & blends.
#4. Which whey protein brand name company is the best?

There isn't a "best". That is like asking which clump of sand is best. Sand is sand. Whey protein isolate is whey protein isolate, it is chemically no different from other whey protein isolate.

However when it comes to whey protein concentrate and whey protein blend, there will be definite differences in purity between different companies because they will be filtered differently and some concentrates will be higher quality than other concentrates, and the same goes with blends.

For someone who is looking for weight gain - muscle mass - they might want the concentrate or blend because it will give them more energy during their exercise routine. For someone who is actually looking to LOSE weight, but wants to gain muscle while shedding fat, they might want to pick the isolate instead - or if they feel they need more energy, the concentrate.

So it isn't a matter of which is the best brand name company, it is a matter of which product suits your needs in terms of protein, energy and price.

A quick rule of thumb, the bigger and shinier the container, the more likely the contents are overpriced. Myself, I whip out my smartphone and start doing protein per price calculations with the calculator on my phone.

#5. What are the Pros and Cons of Whey Protein Concentrate?

Pros of Whey Protein Concentrate:
  1.     Well priced, with 5lbs starting at under $30
  2.     High in amino acids
  3.     Great for muscle building
Cons of Whey Protein Concentrate:
  1.     Higher in fat and carbs than whey protein isolate
  2.     More calories per serving coming from fat
#6. What are the Pros and Cons of Whey Protein Blends?

Thankfully there is some middle ground - Whey protein blends, as the name suggests, is literally a blend of whey protein isolate and concentrate. Roughly half and half, depending on the company. By doing this, supplement manufacturers have found a good middle-ground between price and quality.

Not all protein blends are created equal though. Some have more isolate than concentrate, and vice versa. So like I said earlier, now is a good time to get out your calculator and do some calculations to determine the price per protein.

Pros of Whey Protein Blends:
  1.     Good mix of isolate and concentrate protein sources
  2.     Great value for money
  3.     Excellent amino acid profile
  4.     Less fat/carbs/lactose than whey protein concentrate
  5.     Loads of brands to choose from
Cons of Whey Protein Blends:
  1.     More fat/carbs/lactose than whey protein isolate
  2.     Some blends contain a lot of whey protein concentrate
#7. Can I mix whey protein with other supplements?
Yes of course. Whey protein goes well with a whole host of supplements. A few examples are creatine, dextrose and glutamine. In fact, the uptake of protein can be improved by combining it with high GI carbohydrates. This produces an insulin spike that delivers nutrients to muscles faster than water or milk.

However what really matters is what your goals are. If your primary goal is to add on muscle, then you need to learn more about whey protein and the other supplements you are using to see how each works independently.

#8. How much protein should I take?

How much whey protein you need is completely dependent on your weight, exercise level and goals. No 2 people are the same. Bodybuilders generally consume between 1 and 2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day - but to be fair, not everyone is a bodybuilder and doing that much exercise. If you are an average joe who is trying to put on extra muscle, 1 scoop is probably all you need.

#9. When is the best time to take whey protein?

When you take whey protein depends on your goals. Whey protein is fast digesting, so it's ideal for when you need it quickly. The most common times whey is used is first thing in the morning, after sport or training and sometimes before exercise. So you can mix it with milk, water, yogurt - I even enjoy mixing it with my cereal and milk in the morning to make my Kellogg's Vector flakes taste chocolaty.

#10. Will whey protein help me lose weight?

More likely you will add weight first - as you put on more muscle weight.

However assuming you are exercising, especially cardio exercises, adding whey protein to your diet will add more muscle mass to your heart and lungs and give you a greater endurance.

And greater endurance means you can run faster for longer periods of time - which will ultimately burn more calories and shed fat. Thus yes, whey protein can help you lose weight - but only in combination with regular cardio exercises.

Studies have also  found that individuals who combine diets with leucine rich protein foods, like whey protein, and exercise have more lean muscle tissue and they lose more body fat. As they lose fat their metabolic rate increases and they naturally burn more calories each day. Another way that whey protein helps manage weight is by promoting satiety, or a feeling of fullness.

#11. What is better, whey or casein protein?

Whey protein has the highest BV value, and is the richest source of BCAAs of any protein. This means it is far superior to any other type of protein for muscle building, weight loss and general health. Casein protein has its place though. Casein protein is absorbed much slower by the body (up to about 7 hours). This means it's ideal for a "night time" supplement, taken before bed. Bodybuilders and professional athletes have used casein for decades as a slow release protein to repair muscle tissue during sleep.

Thus for best results, use whey protein in the morning, before and after workouts, and consume casein protein as part of your evening meal.

#12. Is whey protein OK for vegetarians?

    Absolutely. Whey protein is an ideal protein source for vegetarians who include dairy products in their diet. However for vegans, who don't consume dairy, they won't like where the source of the whey is coming from: Dairy farms.

#13. Is whey protein easy to digest?

Whey protein is water soluble and a very easy to digest protein. It quickly enters the body to provide the important essential amino acids needed to nourish muscles and other body tissues. This is one of the reasons it is a common ingredient in infant formula and protein supplements for medical use.

Some people also make granola bars, biscuits and cookies using their whey protein. There are lots of recipes online for you to browse.

#14. Can whey protein harm my kidneys?

No. Bodybuilders frequently consume up to 500g of protein per day for months - even years. There is no scientific evidence that this ridiculously high protein intake causes kidney problems. (Although there is evidence of bodybuilders taking steroids, and that DOES cause kidney problems and all sorts of other problems with internal organs.)

For animals studies have shown that animals with high protein intakes (like cats, dogs, bears and other carnivores) they don't suffer kidney damage for the first half of their life time. The kidney damage they sometimes suffer later in life is more closely linked to aging and getting older.

High protein intake may be hazardous only for individuals who have abnormal kidney function or kidney disease, and the reason is because their kidneys are the first to suffer if they become dehydrated.

Even for the disease-free individual, the most serious concern with high protein intake is dehydration, because it takes a lot of water to metabolize protein. Thus for best results, drink between 250 mL to 500 mL of water for each scoop of whey protein you take.

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