Yes, read the title carefully. This is not a matter of asking if you are including whey protein in your diet. But are you having the right amount? Why is this protein so important?
Numerous studies show that whey protein supports weight loss, improves sports-fitness performance and reduces high cholesterol, among other health benefits.
Jose Antonio, Ph.D., CEO and co-founder of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (www.theissn.org), explains that researchers from McGill University in Montreal Canada gave 20 young adults (10 men, 10 women) a whey protein supplement (10 g, twice daily) or a casein placebo (casein is actually the main protein found in milk) for three months. After 3 months of consuming their supplements, they found that the whey protein group was superior to the casein group in percentage of fat lost, time spent in activity, peak cycling capacity and glutathione levels (one of the most important anti-oxidants in the body).
“Whey protein increases cellular glutathione which in turn improves the free-radical fighting ability of your body. This should improve muscle recovery and overall health. In a 2010 study from the British Journal of Nutrition, scientists found that whey protein isolate (WPI), compared to casein and glucose, when given to overweight individuals for 12 weeks were enough to drop blood levels of triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and insulin,” adds Antonio.
How much is enough?
You don’t need to stuff yourself with huge amounts to get the benefits. In fact, a study from University of Texas shows that around 30 grams or less of dietary protein in a meal are enough to aid with muscle nourishment. No improvements were shown when given more that the 30 grams.
Whey protein is the preferred recovery meal after working out for the experts but also one of the most recommended for kicking off the day. It keeps hunger at bay while preserving body mass. However, when deciding which to buy, may sure that you choose a high quality protein from an established company such as Protein Rush RTD (VPX) as Antonio suggests.
Likewise, when undecided to get a protein shake or a bar, the shake may be the best option. Unfortunately, many bars are too high in sugar, sodium and unhealthy fats, which will defeat the purpose. In general, look for whey protein isolate (which means that it is 90% pure or so), around 100-120 calories per scoop. Check out the ingredients, which shouldn’t be any more than whey protein isolate.
Blueberry nutty whey protein bar
If you can’t help to have another shake or smoothie, you can add this powerful protein to pancakes, homemade bars, oatmeal and quinoa.
Since bars can be a diet disaster – some higher in calories than a piece of cake – but very practical as snack or as favorite meal to go, nothing beats a homemade one.
This is a recipe by chef and food expert Michelle Austin
Ingredients (for 12 bars)
1 c. non- GMO oat flour
1 c. steel cut oats
2 oz whey protein
1 oz apple pectin powder
? tsp baking powder
1/3 c. raisins
1 oz ground almonds
? c. dried blueberries
2 oz brown rice syrup
3 oz unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp almond butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp of egg whites
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients and stir well. Pour onto dry ingredients.
- Spray 9” cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes.
- Cool and cut.
Marta Montenegro inspires people to live healthy lives by giving them the tools and strength to find one’s inner athlete through her personal website MartaMontenegro.com. She created SOBeFiT, a national fitness magazine for men and women, and the Montenegro Method DVD workout series – a program she designed for getting results in just 21 days by exercising 21 minutes a day . Marta is a strength and conditioning coach and serves as an adjunct professor of exercise physiology at Florida International University.