Protein powders have proven their timeless power in strengthening our bodies, gains and performance. But that’s not all they help with. Whey protein powder in particular is also an effective weight management tool. Let’s explore the specific benefits of whey protein for weight loss to understand how it can contribute to our everyday diets and weight loss goals.
Why whey protein?
Whey boasts proteins of a very high biological value. Whey protein is loaded with an impressive range of essential and non-essential amino acids, including lean muscle-supporting branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), glutathione and immune-boosting cysteine. When weighing up the benefits of whey protein for weight loss and lean muscle preservation versus other protein sources, whey protein reigns supreme ahead of all others.
What types of whey protein are there?
Whey protein concentrate (WPC): WPC typically contains approximately 80% protein along with a small amount of lactose (milk sugar) and milk fat, which contributes to it typically being the best-tasting source of whey proteins.
Whey protein isolate (WPI): WPI supplies roughly 90% protein and is almost completely devoid of lactose and fat, but at the same time often lacks some of the beneficial nutrients and bioactive fractions contained in WPC.
Whey protein hydrolysate (WPH): Also known as hydrolysed whey, this type of protein has been pre-digested for faster digestion, absorption and assimilation in the body. This makes it ideal to help kick start the muscle recovery process immediately after exercise.
Weight loss versus fat loss
First things first, let’s clarify what we mean by weight loss. In most instances, the goal is to lose fat, rather than losing both fat and muscle. Fat loss is also oftentimes coupled with muscle gain, supporting physique and performance goals without necessarily leading to weight loss and in some cases even resulting in weight gain. So although we’re exploring the benefits of whey protein for weight loss, we’re really referring to fat loss as the objective.
Benefits of whey protein for weight loss
Protein is known to be more filling than carbohydrates and fats, so increasing your protein intake can help you feel more satisfied and reduce your appetite. This can make it easier to stick to a calorie-controlled diet and reduce overall calorie intake. Whey protein in particular increases the production of a particular peptide that stimulates the satiety hormone, helping you feel fuller for longer and resist those pesky food cravings.
Is convenient and easy to use
They say the best diet (or workout routine, healthy habit or hobby, for that matter) is the one you stick to. Healthy habits that are easy, quick and automated are the ones that go the distance. When considering the benefits of whey protein for weight loss, it ticks all three boxes. Whey protein powder is a convenient and easy way to increase your protein intake, especially if you don’t have time to prepare or cook high protein meals. It can easily be mixed with water or other liquids, making them a quick and portable option for on-the-go nutrition.
Protein has a higher thermic effect than carbohydrates and fats, meaning that it requires more energy to digest and process. This can increase your metabolic rate, helping you burn more calories and therefore body fat throughout the day.
Preserves muscle mass
As discussed a little earlier, when we refer to weight loss, the goal is typically to lose fat rather than muscle. Adequate protein intake can help to preserve muscle mass during weight loss, which is important for maintaining your metabolism and overall health.
When it comes to lean muscle preservation and protein synthesis (which is responsible for muscle growth), whey protein is the most effective protein source thanks to its high branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) content. This means it will more effectively preserve muscle mass and support muscle growth than many other protein sources.
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