Recently, GNC (one of my favorite sources for fitness nutritional supplements) posted a photo on their Facebook page of the GNC Get Strong Athlete Stack . And of course, there was someone who made the alarmist commentary that “whey protein isolates are risky!”. Well, according to the internet, everything will kill you. According to common sense, we will all die one day anyway …
I decided I needed to Google the heck out of this because, hey, I LOVEGNC’s Pro Amp Wheybolic Extreme (I only take 1/3 of the dose). I use it as my post run recovery drink with some non-sugared Almond Milk and/or sometimes add a touch of 1% cow milk for froth. All in all, a good 20 grams of protein after a hard run, low sugar, and decent hydration. Mind you, I am not a huge meat eater so I’m not spending the rest of the day gourging on massive amounts of more protein. A little chicken later, an egg maybe, some protein from cottage cheese, etc. Nothing more in huge punches of quantity. All in all, I believe I keep reasonable and normal levels of protein into my daily diet and there is no extreme.
Benefits of whey protein for known health issues
The initial Google search for “whey protein isolate risks” didn’t yield much that appeared to be reputable so I decided to go to the Mayo Clinic. I prefer to believe they know what they are talking about compared to op-ed sources. Surprisingly, I found a very long list of BENEFITS of whey protein. As with most studies, they indicate more testing needs to be done, but with this list, many of the areas of health benefits indicate promising findings. Here are some of the health issues they have listed as showing possible benefits from whey protein:
Diabetes: whey protein may improve some symptoms of diabetes.
Allergies (prevention): Hydrolysed whey protein formula may be effective in preventing some allergies.
Allergies (treatment): Based on limited study, whey protein may have positive benefits in patients with atopic asthma or atopic dermatitis.
Bone density: Whey protein may improve bone density.
Cancer: Based on limited study, whey protein may have positive benefits for patients with cancer.
Cardiovascular disease risk: Early study suggests that whey protein may aid in reducing the risk of heart disease.
High blood pressure: Based on limited human study, whey protein may lower blood pressure.
Points to remember with whey protein
There are three major forms: concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysate.
The milk allergens are reported to come predominately from casein protein, not so much from whey protein. Of course, those folks who are truly allergic to milk/dairy should steer clear as one would with any full allergy.
Whey protein isolates are the purest form with the lactose and fat removed and tend to be easiest to digest. The GNC Pro Amp Wheybolic Extreme is isolate and hydrolysate form. I am a diagnosed IBS patient, yet never have digestive issues after taking it.
Not everyone will agree
I recognize there are many folks who are dead set against whey protein for fitness or health use. Whether they are vegetarian or have allergy or digestive issues, there are those in the vehemently-opposed camp. They will usually choose soy or egg protein alternatives. I don’t have a strong opinion about soy and egg protein, my thought is just simply that a) the Mayo Clinic reports a very long list of health benefits of whey protein, b) I am not allergic, and c) if I want to have egg protein, I’ll just make a tasty omelette!
I use the whey protein as my muscle repair and recovery and I want the one that will digest the quickest and be the most beneficial immediately after a run. Back in the Spring I started getting that runner’s gaunt look and I did not like it. After about 2 months of using GNC’s Pro Amp Wheybolic Extreme and a solid month of adding in core work as well, I started getting muscle definition back.
“That said the great thing about whey protein is that it digests very quickly, so taking a shake right after your workout can jump start the repair and recovery process.” – Angry Trainer
What are your thoughts on whey protein? Do you take any protein supplementation as a fitness enthusiast or do you just try getting your protein from full food sources?
(*I am not a health care professional, as with any product, discuss your individual use with your own doctor if necessary. I was not paid for this post.)