Q. What is whey protein powder?
Whey is a substance derived from cow’s milk comprised primarily of protein, lactose, and minerals, with trace amounts of fat. Whey is a 100% complete protein, meaning that it contains all the essential amino acids required by the human body. Throughout much of the history of dairy production in the U.S., whey was not recognized as a valuable food source; rather it was considered a mere by-product in the cheese manufacturing process. By 1975, as the scientific community better understood the health benefits it offers, rudimentary efforts were underway to process whey as a supplemental protein powder. In the 1990s, more sophisticated techniques like advanced micro-filtration and ion exchange facilitated a higher quality product─whey protein isolate─in which the pure amino acids are retained while the fat and milk sugar (lactose) is removed, resulting in a pristine, easily absorbed form of whey containing at least 90% protein by weight.
Q. Who can benefit from whey protein powder?
This functional food is ideal for:
Q. How can you determine if a protein supplement is high-quality? It should:
- Growing children. Developing bodies need easily absorbed, high-quality protein every day, without added fat, cholesterol, sugar, or processed carbs. In fact, sugar and refined carbohydrates both largely factor into America’s childhood obesity epidemic.
- Teenagers. Many of the problems that kids experience in their teen years─from extra pounds, to mood swings, to acne─may be linked to poor diet and sugar from foods/beverages. Teens consuming lean, healthy, blood sugar-stabilizing protein daily are less likely to over consume junk foods/drinks.
- Adults: people of all ages need high-quality protein, especially over time. As we age, our ability to assimilate protein decreases, which can impair daily wellness. Whey protein─the most easy-digesting protein available─is not only ideal for optimal daily nutrition, it also helps to preserve lean muscle mass and protect immune health throughout our lifespan.
- Body builders, athletes, and anyone seeking fitness: Whey protein is especially valuable for those who exercise regularly by helping to promote fat loss while fuelling the development of lean muscle mass. Whey protein also facilitates a highly efficient anabolic response─your body’s ability to build and repair muscle.
- Pregnant women and nursing mothers: Easy-digesting, high-quality protein is ideal pre and post-natal nutrition, and may also reduce the risk of developing gestational diabetes. Complete protein on a daily basis is crucial for fetal and infant development─both for growing bodies and brains.
- People of all ages seeking healthy, permanent weight loss. Studies comparing whey and casein on appetite and satiety-related hormones found whey protein powder to be most effective in promoting satisfaction and fullness resulting in reduced appetite and decreased food intake.9,10
Provide the best available form of protein. For example, while whey protein isolate
contains optimal levels of all 9 essential amino acids, soy protein is limiting in the
essential amino acid methionine, which has many important functions in your body.
Have the highest possible biological value (BV)─a measure of how much protein is
actually absorbed into your body’s tissues.12 While soy has a BV score of only 74,
whey protein comes in at 104.13 Soy is also among the nine most common food
allergens afflicting Americans, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of
Deliver optimal levels of the 9 essential amino acids─histidine, isoleucine, leucine,
lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine─that must be
supplied by your daily menu as your body can’t produce them.
Consist of pure, undenatured whey protein. Due to the advanced method of cross-
flow microfiltration, whey protein isolate retains approximately 99% of the protein in
its natural form for maximum bioavailability.
Be rich in the branched chain amino acids (BCAAs)─isoleucine, leucine, and
valine─which work in concert to stabilize/regulate blood sugar and energy levels,
promote muscle growth and repair, and encourage the production of growth
hormones naturally. BCAAs also prevent oxidative damage, and enhance physical
Contain minimal sugar. Read the nutritional facts label carefully. Sugar comes in
many forms, such as sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, fructose, dextrose, glucose,
and lactose─milk sugar. Note the number of sugar grams you get per serving. Aim
for 1 gram or less, and be sure total carbohydrates are no more than 3-4 grams per
Be naturally sweetened. Commonly used sugar alcohols─such as sorbitol, mannitol,
malitol, and xylitol─can cause stomach upset for many people. Other sugar
substitutes─like aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame-K, and saccharin may pose
serious health risks. All chemical sweeteners should be avoided, especially for daily
Not include fat and cholesterol. Whey protein isolate is virtually free of cholesterol, fat
and lactose. If your protein powder does list fat as an ingredient, be sure it’s no more
than 2 grams per serving.
1 Nutrition 23 (4): 323–31. doi:10.1016/j.nut.2006.12.013. PMID 17367997. http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/
2 Journal of Nutrition 136 (1): 227S–31S. PMID 16365087. http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/content/full/136/1/227S
3 Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2002 Sep;283(3):E565-72.
4 Wei Sheng Yan Jiu. 2011 Sep;40(5):617-9.
5 Biochem Cell Biol. 2002;80(1):131-6.
6 Veterinarni Medicina 53: 457. 2008.
7 Clin Invest Med. 1991 Aug;14(4):296-309
8 Yonsei Med J. 2011 Nov 1;52(6):892-7. doi: 10.3349/ymj.2011.52.6.892.
9 Br J Nutr. 2003 Feb;89(2):239-48
10 Br J Nutr. 2010 Oct;104(8):1241-8. Epub 2010 May 11
11 Aging (Albany NY). 2011 May;3(5):464-78.
12 Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2004) 3, 118-130
13 U.S Dairy Export Council, Reference Manual for U.S. Whey Products 2nd Edition, 1999 and Sarwar, 1997.
14 “Allergy Facts and Figures,” Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=9&sub=20&cont=518
Q. What should you consider when choosing a protein supplement?
Since many people fail to obtain enough healthy protein in their diets, supplementation is
a smart way to maximize your intake of this vital macronutrient. To ensure you choose the
highest quality product, ask these questions first:
Is it the best form of supplemental protein?
While whey and soy are common forms of supplemental protein, whey has many
advantages over soy. For starters, whey is a more complete protein, containing optimal
levels of all 9 essential amino acids─which must be consumed in your diet as you body
can’t make them. These are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine,
threonine, tryptophan and valine.
Soy protein is limiting in the essential amino acid methionine, which has many important
functions in your body. Whey also has a greater biological value (BV) than soy, which is a
measure of how much protein is actually absorbed into your body’s tissues.1 For example,
soy has a BV score of 74, whereas whey protein comes in at 104.2 Soy is also among the
nine most common food allergens afflicting Americans, according to the Asthma and Allergy
Foundation of America.3
What form of whey protein is used?
Whey protein typically comes in three major forms: concentrate, hydrolysate, and isolate:
How high is the sugar content?
- Whey protein concentrate contains some fat and cholesterol, and a fair amount
of carbohydrates in the form of lactose, varying by brand. Concentrate ranges
anywhere from 29%–89% protein by weight.
- Whey protein hydrolysate consists of pre-digested, partially hydrolyzed whey protein.
It generally costs more than other forms and can be bitter tasting.4
- Whey protein isolate─which is carefully filtered to remove the fat and lactose while
retaining the pure amino acids─is arguably the cleanest, least allergenic, most
palatable form of whey protein. Additionally, it’s extremely rich in protein: 90% or
more by weight.
If your protein powder is to be a healthy food staple, cheap, fattening fillers like sugar should
be avoided. Read the nutritional facts label carefully. Sugar comes in many forms, such
as sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, fructose, dextrose, glucose, and lactose─milk sugar.
Note how many sugar grams you get per serving. Aim for 1 gram or less, and be sure total
carbohydrates are no more than 3-4 grams per serving.
Is it naturally sweetened?
While most forms of protein powder contain some type of sweetener, make sure the one
you select offers a natural form. Commonly used sugar alcohols─such as sorbitol, mannitol,
malitol, and xylitol─can cause stomach upset for many people. Other sugar substitutes─like
aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame-K, and saccharin may pose serious health risks. All
chemical sweeteners should be avoided, especially for daily consumption.
Does it contain fat or cholesterol?
The best whey protein powders utilize 100% whey protein isolate, which is virtually free of
cholesterol, fat and lactose. If your protein powder does list fat in the ingredients, be sure it’s
no more than 2 grams per serving.
Is it gluten-free?
Nearly 15% of people have an allergy or intolerance to gluten─a component of many grains
and flour. Avoiding gluten can be difficult, as it is hidden in many foods, including some
protein powders. In 2006, the FDA required food labels to clearly state the 8 main allergens:
wheat, eggs, peanuts, milk, soy, fish, shellfish, and tree nuts. While this is helpful, listing
gluten specifically is still not mandatory, so be sure the product you select has “gluten-free”
on the label.
Q. How much protein do you need daily to optimize your health and energy?
Protein is a vital building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. It’s classified as a "macronutrient," meaning that the body needs relatively large amounts of it, however unlike fats and carbs, our bodies can’t store protein. This means that every cell in your body depends on the protein you consume on a daily basis to perform optimally. So how much do you need?
Many Americans consume too little protein. Daily needs range from .8 grams per pound of body weight to 1.5 grams or more─depending on your activity level, and fitness and/or weight loss goals. Pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children should ideally consume 1 gram per pound daily. The best protein sources overall are whey protein powder, egg whites, seafood, turkey, chicken, lean meats, and non-fat dairy products like plain yogurt and cottage cheese.
One level scoop of EnergyFirst ProEnergy whey protein powder contains 19 grams of exceedingly well-absorbed, high-quality protein. A regular serving size is 2 scoops.
1 Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2004) 3, 118-130
2 U.S Dairy Export Council, Reference Manual for U.S. Whey Products 2nd Edition, 1999 and Sarwar, 1997.
3 “Allergy Facts and Figures,” Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=9sub=20cont=518
4 Trends in Food Science & Technology 13 (5): 151–9. doi:10.1016/S0924-2244(02)00111-5.
Protein is one of the three macro-nutrients (protein, carbohydrates and good fats) that your body needs to function. There are different types and qualities of protein. Lean and complete protein is your most important food! What makes a protein “lean”? Lean protein is a protein that derives less than 20% of its calories from fat. What makes a protein “complete”? A complete protein is one that contains all eight essential amino acids. So, why is it the most important food? Among other things, lean protein:
- Provides your body with the essential amino acids that are the building blocks of your muscles, bones and organs
- Triggers the release of “glucagon” which is a powerful mobilization hormone that minimizes the production of insulin, keeps your blood sugar stable, facilitates fat burning and lowers cholesterol
- Slows gastric emptying which slows the rate at which glucose enters your bloodstream, making the carbohydrates you eat time-releases and stabilizing your blood sugar
Eating lean and complete protein is a key to optimal health! The body is able to make non-essential amino acids from other amino acids in the body. However, the body is not able to make essential amino acids and the only way to get them is by eating high quality protein foods. It is also important to make sure you are getting enough protein. Research has found that, on average, we need 0.5 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day.
All protein foods are not created equal and can vary in a number of ways including the following:
- Number and quantity of essential amino acids
- Digestion and absorption rates
- Fat content
Whey powder is a very high quality complete protein with rich amounts of all the essential amino acids. Whey powder isolate is the purest form of Whey powder, which is why it is absorbed so quickly and efficiently into the body. That's why we make it the cornerstone of the EnergyFirst Healthy Lifestyle program.
But, for the Doubting Thomases reading this, you are probably asking "What is Whey powder? Is it just a new fad?" Whey powder is not something new and has been available for hundreds of years. Doctors and nutritionists have singled out whey powder as a super-star ingredient for weight loss, infant nutrition, immune support, and especially in the area of sports nutrition.
As noted above, research has found that, on average, we need 0.5 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. However, the ideal amount of protein for any specific person varies depending upon age, weight, sex and overall health.
Protein needs also vary with one's level of exercise and activity. For example, during and after exercise, our body needs higher amounts of branched chain amino acids (BCAA). The benefit of BCAA are that they are absorbed directly by the skeletal muscles instead of being metabolized through the liver, like other amino acids. If your body has low levels of BCAA, you may feel more fatigue. It is important to replenish your BCAA levels within one hour following exercise. This is why many athletes drink a whey powder shake before and immediately after exercise. A whey powder shake helps repair and rebuild lean muscle tissue damaged during strenuous exercise. But, you do not have to be a super-athlete to feel the benefits of replenishing our body's supply of BCAA and the eight essential amino acids. Your body needs all those amino acids for growth, energy and vibrant health!
Whey powder is the richest source of the eight amino acids and BCAA. Whey powder is the most biologically available source of protein. It is the highest quality source of lean protein. Whey powder is also convenient because it is available in powders which make tasty and easy to drink shakes!
Whey powder has a lot of benefits for you. We, at EnergyFirst, go the extra step and only use the highest quality whey powder in our products. Our whey powder isolate has the highest protein scores available on the market today. There is no better source of whey powder available today than our EnergyFirst ProEnergy 100% Natural Whey Protein Isolate.