Getting the right amount of protein in the diet is important, however, it is not always all that simple. The average person is busy running errands, working long hours away from home and not taking the time to take proper care of themselves. There is little doubt that there are millions of people who need to get better control of their diets. There are 34 million people who qualify as obese in the United States. (Source: www.med.Stanford.edu) There are a number of conditions that are caused or worsened by being overweight, including:
– Cardiovascular disease, which kills over 16 million people per year worldwide. 30% of all deaths every year are directly related to this killer, with stroke and heart attack the two leading causes. In the US, cardiovascular disease causes 40% of all deaths. (Source: Natural News)
– Some cancers list obesity as one of the major risk factors. These include colorectal, esophageal, pancreatic, kidney, gallbladder, ovarian, cervical, liver, prostate and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The risk of death from these cancers is higher with a higher BMI as well. (Source: Ammer, 2005)
– Gall bladder disease
– Psychological issues related to the weight, including low self esteem.
There are diets that are suggested by doctors as well as diets that are found online, in books and from a number of magazines. Some of these diets are not well-researched or studied, not safe and most of all not effective for the long term. It is important to keep in mind that a healthy, well-rounded diet includes all of the food groups, has the right level of all of the macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat and protein) and ensures that all vitamin needs are met every day. A good diet plan has enough calories to keep the metabolism high without sending the body into a state of ketosis.
Using a liquid protein supplement shot, like Profect from Protica, is also a good choice, especially for those who do not want to or cannot use whey protein.
The Benefits of Whey Protein
Adding whey protein powder to the diet can be advantageous not only as a weight loss tool, but also for the many additional health benefits that can be realized with it. Whey powder is derived from milk, a byproduct of cheese. It contains lacto globulin, alpha-lactalbumin and serum albumin, making it perfect for pregnant women. It is also the highest food source of branched chain amino acids (BCAA), which have the advantage of being the only amino acids to metabolize directly to muscle tissue. These are used first for exercise and resistance training. Whey protein is also an excellent source of leucine (which is also needed for muscle growth.) Leucine is an amino acid that has been shown to decrease body fat. Finally, whey has glutathione, an antioxidant that is an important part of the healthy immune system.
Benefits of whey protein:
– Improves blood vessel function
– Helps insulin work better in the body and also helps to maintain a stable blood sugar level after meals
– Helps the optimal intake of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals
– Helps to preserve lean muscle mass
– Maintains the blood pressure within normal limits
– The whey-derived peptide NOP-47 increases vascular function
(Source: Mercola 2009)
Additional Benefits for Weight Loss
Whey has little or no fat and carbs. It has several benefits for weight loss, starting with its ability to stabilize the blood glucose. When the body digests food it is converted to glucose to be used for energy. If the body does not need the energy at that time, the glucose will be stored as fat and the body will gain weight. The faster that the body digests food, the more the blood sugar level will be raised, leading to a flood of insulin. Insulin is like the traffic cop, deciding where blood sugar has to go. If there is too much sugar and too much insulin, there will be more weight gain. It is a simple formula. Whey protein also helps to lower the amount of hunger that is felt by the body by releasing two hunger-suppressing hormones, cholecystokinin (CCK) and glucogon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1). Whey protein shows a greater impact on satiety than casein, which is found in milk.
There are two forms of whey protein: concentrate and isolate. The concentrate is the most common and usually less expensive of the two and contains between 30-85% protein. The isolate is 90% protein and has less fat and less lactose. A person who is lactose intolerant may be able to handle the whey protein isolate in some cases. Whey protein is appropriate for those who follow a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, but is not for vegans.
Whey Protein for Athletes
Whey protein is an excellent resource to enhance muscle recovery after a workout and prevent muscle breakdown. Glycogen in the body is stored as energy in the muscle and helps the muscles to retain water. During exercise, the muscle burns carbohydrates for fuel first because fat and protein cannot be burned fast enough to keep up with the demands. After the workout is completed, the muscle will continue to burn energy for up to 24 hours. During this time, if there is not a new protein source, the muscles will be broken down for fuel, leading to a loss of lean muscle mass. (Source: Quinn 2007)
Using Whey Protein Powder
Before buying a huge canister of whey protein powder, it is better to try a smaller container first (even though it will be more expensive this way) to make sure that you can tolerate the taste and that there is no allergic reaction. Whey can be a problem for those who are lactose intolerant, however, there might be a lesser problem if you stick to powders that are labeled as a whey protein isolate rather than concentrate.
When you find the right kind, make sure that you are using it correctly. For instance, some whey protein powders should be mixed with nonfat or low fat milk, while some can be mixed with water.
If you have any questions about whey protein powder and its use, you should discuss them with a nutritionist. In addition, before starting any kind of supplement, you should discuss the need for it with your own physician.
Drawbacks of Protein
One of the drawbacks of protein is the allergy potential, especially for those who are lactose intolerant. Some people may also find that the taste is not tolerable to them at all. Make sure that you are still following the protein guidelines when using any supplement so that you do not exceed the safe intake level from both food and supplements. In addition, an extremely high level of whey protein can cause liver damage. (Source: Be Well @ Stanford 2009)