Whey Protein 101 - The ultimate Whey guide for beginners
- What is whey protein?
- How is whey protein made?
- Different types of protein?
- Why whey protein?
- Whey protein health benefits
- Whey protein side effects
- Organic vs full of bad stuff protein [different types of
whey protein] – Your choices
- Whey protein misconceptions
- Whey protein use cases
- Delicious whey protein shakes
We’ve been getting a lot of questions about whey protein. Our guess is you’re looking for the best whey protein out there, too. Let’s face it! There’s just no time for wild-goose chases. Yet, hunting for the perfect whey protein powder seems to be just that - a hopeless pursuit. If you’re sick and tired of sifting through thousands of products and claims, you’ve come to the right place.
Less confusion. More clarification. That is our goal. We’ve decided to create a simple guide that covers all there is to know about our favorite protein - whey.
The EnergyFirst Whey Protein guide has everything you should know about whey protein in one place. We are confident it will help you find and choose the best protein for you. Before we dive into the world of whey, though, it only makes sense to remind ourselves why we need protein in the first place. If we could squeeze a protein refresher course into one short paragraph, it would sound something like this:
Protein is one of the three macronutrients your body needs to live and run smoothly. It gives your body the tools it needs to build and repair itself.
Protein does more than just build muscle, though. Protein helps build hormones, enzymes, blood, skin, bone, and cartilage. Depending on our age, gender, and activity level, we all have different protein needs. Make sure to meet them! When you don’t get enough protein, your body is forced to tap into its protein stores. Where are these located? Mostly your muscles!
Preserve your body muscles and tissues. Get enough protein!
Could you use a little extra energy throughout the day? Trying to lose weight or burn fat? Are you determined to build muscle and gain more strength? Finding it hard to differentiate between a high-quality and low-quality protein?
This guide is for you! Learn how to use your whey of choice to meet these health and fitness goals. Are you an athlete? If so, this guide is for you, too! Getting adequate protein (as well as all your other macronutrients) can be the difference between participating and succeeding in your favorite sport, race, or marathon. Whey is the ingredient you need
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What is whey protein?
Remember Little Miss Muffet who sat on her tuffet, eating her curds and whey? What exactly was she eating anyways? Whey is a protein naturally found in milk. In fact, milk has two proteins: casein and whey.
Take its PDCAAS, for example. That stands for Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score. This score measures protein quality - it tells you how much of the protein you ingest is actually absorbed and used. The maximum score a protein source can get is 1.00. Whey scores at, you guessed it, 1.00. It doesn’t get better than that, now, does it?
Because it digests fast, it acts fast. It’s ideal for the critical time just before and just after your workouts.
It’s a rich source of all the essential amino acids you need every day to build protein.
Whey packs the most BCAAs (branched chain amino acids), which stimulates muscle growth and repair. Whey has a higher concentration of these amino acids compared with other protein sources (such as soy or wheat).
Known as whey protein isolate, contains the highest amount of protein and little to no fat, cholesterol, or lactose.
To sum up the reason why whey is the protein of choice in one word:QUALITY, QUALITY, QUALITY!
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how whey PROTEIN IS MADE?
You’re probably more familiar with whey than you think. In fact, you’ve probably been using it since you’ve been a kid. If you’ve ever attempted the lost art of homemade cheese, you are no doubt familiar with all the whey left over in the process.
Whey is one of the two main proteins found in cow’s milk. The whey protein you love is made in three steps:
To extract whey from dairy milk, the milk is first coagulated. As it coagulates it separates into two distinct parts: milk solids and liquid whey. Milk solids, which contain the protein casein, are used to make cheese. For the longest time, cheesemakers scrapped the liquid whey part, considering it a waste product. (Big mistake!) Once its rich nutritional content was discovered, whey went from waste product to co-product in the cheese-making process.
Whey is filtered to various degrees in order to remove fat and carbohydrates. The greater the filtration, the purer and more concentrated the protein is. Whey protein isolate is the purest.
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Different types of protein - how does whey match up?
As you’ll soon find out, not all proteins are created equal. See how whey compares to different types of protein.WHEY VS CASEIN
Dairy protein is made up of 2 major types of protein: 80% casein and 20% whey. Although both are complete proteins that supply all essential amino acids, they differ in the way they are digested and absorbed.
Casein is the solid part that separates from liquid whey during the cheesemaking process. Casein gives milk its white color.
MUSCLE UP LIKE A PRO It’s slow-going with casein. Popularly known as a “slow” protein, casein tends to clot or form a gel in the acidic environment of the stomach taking it longer to digest. Casein’s slow absorption rate makes it a poor post-workout drink in comparison to whey. Slow protein digestion is not ideal for those who need quick delivery of amino acids to the bloodstream.
When studies compare whey with casein, results show that whey develops much greater strength and muscle gain.
CURB CRAVINGS THE SMART WAY Always ravenously hungry before lunch or just soon after breakfast? Researchers sought to find out which protein can help solve these common hunger dilemmas. The facts show that hunger pangs are no match for whey protein. While casein users were feeling hungry before mealtime, whey users reported little to no hunger sensations by the time their next meal came around.
Reference: European journal of clinical nutrition (Impact Factor: 2.71). 05/2014; 68(9). Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2006 Oct;16(5):494-509.
Although both are complete proteins with the full spectrum of essential amino acids, notice how whey and casein differ in content of two important amino acids involved in muscle protein metabolism:
|WHEY||21.9 g||11.1 g|
|CASEIN||11.6 g||8.9 g|
Source: Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2004) 3, 118-130
Whey, on the other hand, is a "fast" protein because it boosts blood concentrations of amino acids quickly. Whey survives the acidic environment of the stomach without curdling so it reaches the small intestine quickly. Once whey reaches the small intestine, however, it breaks apart slower than casein. The more time whey hangs around in the small intestine, the better! More time means more chances for greater, thorough absorption over the length of the small intestine.
Studies show that whey is superior to casein and even other protein sources, such as soy. Comparison studies show that whey led to greater increases in lean muscle mass and strength and greater decreases in fat mass.
Soy is derived from soybeans, which are legumes (mainly a source of carbohydrates). Soy does have the same PDCAAS score as whey (a 1.00).
Unlike whey, soy:
- is lower in two essential amino acids - methionine, lysine - and the non-essential amino acid proline
- is less digestible
- is 20% less biologically available than whey (soy doesn’t absorb as efficiently as whey). A significant amount of the protein passes through the body unused.
- is usually processed using hexane and other unsafe toxic chemicals.
- is linked to increased estrogen levels.
- has less amounts of the BCAAs leucine, isoleucine, and valine. A low BCAA level makes soy less effective in building muscle.
Bottom line: Whey is far superior to soy.
|Protein Type||BIOLOGICAL VALUE||PDCAAS|
Source: J Sports Sci Med. 2004 Sep; 3(3): 118–130; J Am Coll Nutr. 2013;32(2):122-35.
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WHY WHEY PROTEIN?
There’s way more to whey than just lean muscle mass. Research shows that whey protein can offer the following health benefits:
Whey protein fuels a healthy, active lifestyle. Get the full spectrum of essential amino acids you need each day from whey.
We can never underestimate the value of hunger control in weight loss. When it comes to curbing hunger, whey protein beats carbs and fats by a landslide (not to mention soy, egg, and meat proteins).
Whey protein curbs hunger and increases satiety, keeping you feeling fuller longer.
How can whey help your weight loss goals? It turns out the body burns more calories digesting protein than it does while digesting carbohydrates or fats. Thus, whey protein boosts metabolism. Whey also maintains muscle mass, which helps burn fat.
Researchers also found that whey stimulates levels of two hormones that control appetite: cholecystokinin and glucagon-like peptide-1. (Source: Brit J Nutri 89, 239-248, 2003)
Whey gives athletes the raw materials to:
- build muscle
- replace muscle tissue damaged during exercise
- replace the amino acids oxidized during exercise
Whey’s amino acid content is almost identical to the amino acid profile of skeletal muscle. It gives your body the the ideal amount of each amino acid to build skeletal muscle efficiently.
Combine whey protein with resistance or strength training to build more lean muscle mass than resistance training alone.
Whey is one of the finest natural sources of essential amino acids and leucine, both of which are stimulators of muscle synthesis. Leucine is a branched chain amino acid involved in muscle building. The body cannot make leucine on its own. Leucine acts as a signal that starts the process of building muscle in the body. Leucine speeds up the process of rebuilding muscles after a workout.
See how whey protein’s leucine and BCAA content compares to other types of protein:
|Protein Type||LEUCINE CONTENT (G/100 G PROTEIN)||BCAA|
|FROM MEAT (CHICKEN, BEEF )||8||18%|
Want better exercise results? Research shows the protein needs of athletes involved in intense training or workouts are higher. Not surprisingly, then, coupling whey protein with resistance exercise is more effective for building lean muscle than resistance exercise alone.
During a workout, muscles are torn. Without an ample supply of protein to rebuild them, you could be wasting your workout. Whey increases exercise capacity and helps repair muscle after a workout.
You’ve worked a lifetime to build more muscle. Don’t let age-related muscle loss take that away from you. Whey protein helps the aging population slow down or avoid progressive, age-related muscle loss known as sarcopenia.
45% - an estimate of how many older adults in the US are affected by sarcopenia. This number is expected to increase as the population ages.
70 - After this age, muscle loss tends to accelerate to 15% per decade.
$ 1.1 billion - The amount of healthcare dollars that would be saved if 10% of sarcopenia cases could be reduced.
3.8% - That is the amount of muscle mass lost every 10 years after age 30.
Sarcopenia (which comes from a Greek word meaning “poverty of flesh”) starts a vicious cycle of health problems. It starts with less activity and decreased strength. It’s all downhill from here. Less activity leads to a higher risk of falls and fractures, accidental deaths, osteoporosis, frailty, mobility issues, and loss of independence and personal autonomy. Sarcopenia is even related to metabolic problems, such as type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Whey is one of the most easily absorbed proteins available, making it ideal for the elderly. Combine whey protein with resistance training to combat age-related muscle loss.
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WHEY PROTEIN HEALTH BENEFITS
There’s way more to whey than just lean muscle mass. Research shows that whey protein can offer the following health benefits:
- Healthy weight management
- Glycemic control: stabilize blood sugar and prevent diabetes by slowing down release of glucose in bloodstream
- Reduce stress and alleviate depression. Whey protein slows production of the powerful stress hormone cortisol and promotes the release of serotonin, a calming neurotransmitter.
- Promote fat loss (by enhancing the release of glucagon and inhibiting the release of insulin, which encourages fat storage.
- Optimize levels of glutathione - the mother of all antioxidants. This will boost your immune system, protect your cells and neutralize toxins.
- Fights infections
- Encourages normal bone growth and helps to prevent osteoporosis.
- May help lower triglycerides and cholesterol.
- May help prevent prostate cancer.
- May help prevent chronic periodontal disease.
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Whey protein side effects
When taken in normal doses, whey is safe for most adults and children. Whey protein increases blood and liver levels of an antioxidant known as glutathione. Glutathione is the body’s most powerful antioxidant and plays a key role in immune function. When liver glutathione levels rise, the liver effectively detoxifies the body. Some people (especially those who eat a highly toxic diet or are exposed to high levels of environmental toxins) may experience a mild temporary reaction. The liver mobilizes toxins, removing them from storage in body fat so as to excrete them from the body.
Whey is composed of the same basic proteins that are found in human breast milk and has the same side effects profile as human breast milk. Because it is a milk protein, people who are allergic to or cannot tolerate milk proteins may experience minor gastric distress from whey protein. This gastric distress usually disappears if you reduce the amount of whey protein you eat. If you have a serious milk protein allergy (which is very rare), you should not use whey isolate. Lactose intolerance, however, is not a milk allergy.
If you are sensitive to lactose, however, you may be able to tolerate whey protein isolate (wpi). WPI is a form of whey that is processed to remove (most if not all) the fat and lactose. Whey protein isolate may not cause a reaction to people who cannot tolerate milk products.
Whey protein is gluten and wheat-free. However, if you are considering a product such as a protein bar or beverage, check the ingredient list for possible gluten-containing ingredients.
“I have heard that whey can make me constipated. Is this true?”
Low-quality whey protein can cause digestive upsets, including constipation. If you experience constipation using a high-quality whey isolate, it may be that you are not drinking sufficient water or that you are not getting sufficient essential fats. It is important to drink at least ten glasses of pure water every day and have at least three servings of raw seeds or raw seed oils (such as ENERGYFIRST® OmegaEnergy® Oil and OmegaEnergy® Mix). The seeds and oils contain soluble fiber and omega 3 and omega 6 fats that are essential to proper digestion and elimination. Physical activity can be helpful as well.
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With so many types of whey out there, how can you make the right choice?
Organic whey protein, whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, the list goes on. Here’s a checklist with what you want to look out for in choosing a high quality whey protein. Use it before you buy your next whey protein product!
WHEY BUYING GUIDE:
Full amino acid profile?
Cross-flow microfiltration processing? CHECK!
Low sugar content?
It is even recommended for diabetics because it is very low in carbohydrates (2-4 grams per serving) and uses only low-glycemic natural sweeteners, including stevialeaf extract, which has been provento help control blood sugar.
Milk from grass-fed cows?
EnergyFirst whey protein comes from grass pasture fed cows that are not treated with rBGH, rBST, or any other hormones or antibiotics.
Low lactose levels?
This is pharmaceutical-grade and has been used by physicians to improve immunity and muscle mass for patients with cancer and immune disorders. Our protein is completely undenatured and preserves all microfactions of the whey for a maximal immune system benefit.
This is the highest quality and most effective protein product that you will find anywhere.
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7 Common Whey Protein Misconceptions & Myth-Shattering Facts
Wrong! Whey protein has long been the protein of choice for athletes and bodybuilders because it is the most easily absorbed, purest source of complete protein available. But this is important for everyone!
Whey protein is ideal for:
Growing children and teenagers. Getting adequate protein is essential for their growing, active bodies. Whey protein stabilizes children’s blood sugar, increases production of feel-good brain chemicals that help increase mental clarity and focus. It also provides the protein essential for brain development.
Pregnant or lactating women. Protein is essential for proper fetal and infant development, particularly brain development, and helps prevent gestational diabetes.
Adults. As you get older, your body becomes less efficient at absorbing protein. Whey protein is the most easily absorbed protein available. It can reverse the aging process and rebuild the immune system. It can ensure that you are rarely, if ever, sick, and that you will begin to look and feel years younger.
Busy people. The busier you are, the more energy you need. Whey protein helps increase mental and physical energy instantly. A whey protein powder is a convenient choice for people often on the go.
And, yes, athletes and bodybuilders. Whey protein is the most easily and quickly absorbed protein available. It helps build muscle by stimulating maximum protein synthesis.
No addons. Whey is a protein that naturally occurs in milk. While some companies do add artificial flavors, sweeteners, fillers, and bulking agents, others don’t. Check the label to verify the purity of your product.
Not true! Whey is simpler than you think! It actually makes it easier to meet your protein needs. Whey powder can easily be tossed into any of your favorite recipes. It can be included in any meal, snack, or beverage of the day.
Need some post-workout protein and don’t have time to cook a protein-rich meal? Whey protein powder makes it easy to whip up a post-workout recovery drink.
Whey can be included in a meal replacement shake, a between-meal snack, or any other time you don’t have time to prepare a cooked meal.
Include whey in recipes for dips, sauces, smoothies, or even your morning oats! It comes in more delicious flavors, including vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry.
Not quite. Spacing out protein throughout the day brings the best benefits and results! You need to include protein at each meal both for proper nutrition, stable blood sugar, and optimal muscle growth.
You might be surprised! There are pure whey protein isolate powders out there (such as EnergyFirst® ProEnergy) that are lactose-free and hypo-allergenic, meaning they rarely cause allergic reactions. You may be able to tolerate whey protein isolate products since they contain very little lactose (usually less than 1% lactose).
Lower quality, cheaper whey protein products contain lactose and can cause allergic reactions including stomach upsets and other digestive problems. Whey protein concentrate, for example, can contain up to 50% lactose. Lactose content varies from product to product.
Ladies, whey won’t make you Mrs. Hulk. Whey protein alone cannot cause you to bulk up. In fact, it will help you sculpt your body into a toned, lean physique. Bulking up depends mostly on your diet and workout plan.
We see your point. The market is full of protein supplements with mystery ingredients. However, high quality whey with high quality ingredients you can trust in do exist. You just have to be selective. See our Whey Buying Guide Checklist for more info here.
Not at all.Since it dissolves quickly in liquids, it doesn’t have a gritty texture or chalky taste. Whey protein actually has a neutral, clean flavor. It should add little to no taste when added to shakes and recipes.
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Whey protein Use cases
Got food on your mind all day long? Do you find yourself overeating or late-night snacking? Those nocturnal munching sessions and extra calories are the culprit behind many stubborn weight issues. When whey protein is included in a reduced calorie, higher protein diet, it can help you lose weight.
Protein is a filling nutrient! It satisfies hunger. (When was the last time you felt comfortably satisfied after a meal?) It fights cravings better than carbohydrates or fats. To make it work for you, though, evenly distribute your protein intake throughout the day. A steady intake of protein throughout the day cuts the extra calories that cause weight gain. In fact, research shows it can cut about 200-400 calories per day.
The USDA decided to study the effect of drinking two whey and soy protein shakes for 12 weeks on body weights of men and women. To make matters more challenging, they decided the subjects wouldn’t diet or exercise over the course of the study (not that we’re encouraging that!). What were the results?
Those who consumed whey protein were 5 pounds lighter, had thinner waistlines, gained more muscle, and had lower levels of hunger hormones. Their hunger was under control! If these are the results without exercise, imagine what results you get when you combine whey with a regular exercise program and a healthy diet!
Remember: steady weight loss is the healthiest way to drop the pounds while preserving those muscles you’ve worked so hard on.
Weight loss itself raises your protein needs because weight loss is a stress on the human body. Any stress raises protein needs.
So, here is your successful weight loss strategy:
Replace 1-2 meals with a whey protein meal replacement shake each day. The rest of your meals and snacks are self-selected and should include low-glycemic carbohydrates and healthy fats. For example, use whey protein for a healthy, filling breakfast and after your workouts. To ensure you get all the nutrients your body needs to work at its best, make sure to include other healthy food sources of protein, too.
Healthy food sources of protein include eggs, lean poultry, meat, and fish, or low fat and fat free dairy. Also, there are plant-based proteins like nuts, seeds, lentils, beans, and peas.
J Nutr. 2011 Aug; 141(8): 1489–1494.
Whey is not just for men. It is just as essential for women. Also, the female body cannot produce as much testosterone that builds muscle mass the way men do.
The amount of protein you need depends heavily on your lifestyle and goals.
For weight loss, whey is a perfect part of a higher protein, lower calorie diet. Aim for 0.8-0.9 grams of protein/kilogram/day.
Aim for 25-30 grams of protein per meal. Add ½ -1 scoop of whey to your breakfast smoothie, yogurt, or oatmeal. Add 2 scoops to your favorite recipes, such as a pasta sauce, a salad dressing, or a tomato soup.
J Nutr. 2011 Aug; 141(8): 1489–1494.
After 30, you risk losing much of your muscle mass. This ends up being replaced by fatty tissue. To prevent sarcopenia and to maintain or increase muscle with age:
POWER UP ON PROTEIN: In general, older individuals benefit from 1.0-1.2 grams/kilogram of protein a day.
Spread out your protein intake. Aim for about 30 grams of high-quality protein at each meal. Instead of piling up all your protein, say, at dinner, keep your protein intake steady throughout the day. Typical breakfasts contain only about 10 grams of protein. Try to boost your breakfast protein intake up to 30 grams.
As a rule of thumb, about 1 tablespoon of whey is 5 grams of protein. Sneak that tablespoon into your favorite recipes (soups, sauces, breads, pancake mixes, smoothie, oatmeal, or yogurt).
Stay involved in a regular exercise routine.
USE IT OR LOSE IT
The two most critical times to get your whey protein are about 15-30 minutes before your workouts and within 30 minutes after.
Whey digests fast. If all your essential muscle-building amino acids quickly reach your bloodstream, you can maximize muscle growth.
Pre-workout recipe: Take 10-20 grams of whey protein isolate about 15-30 minutes before your workout.
Post-workout recipe: Opt for 20-40 grams of whey protein isolate within 30 minutes after your workout.
To enhance muscle strength and decrease muscle breakdown, consume about 10-20 grams of whey protein isolate 15-3- before weight training.
For best results, consume whey no more than two hours after exercise - either by itself or with a carbohydrate - to enhance muscle growth and repair. This will also reduce muscle soreness.
According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, exercising individuals need 1.4-2.0 grams/kilogram a day.
If you follow a general fitness routine, your protein needs can generally be met by ingesting 0.8-1.0 grams/kilogram a day.
If you are a power athlete, your protein needs are higher. Strength or speed training will require 1.2 - 1.7 grams/kilogram of protein a day.
If you are an endurance athlete, your needs are slightly lower than power athletes. Aim for 1.2 -1.4 grams/kilogram a day.
After an intense bout of exercise, athletes need about 0.5 grams/kilogram of whey and about 1 gram/kilogram of carbohydrate. For example, a simple post-workout snack can be as easy as 25-30 grams of whey protein mixed with a fruit (such as bananas) and water.
Post-resistance training whey plan:
Take 20-40 grams of whey + a dose of carbohydrate (20-40 grams) + water during the hour before training. Repeat the exact same mix immediately after resistance training.
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Delicious whey protein shakes
Can “delicious” and “whey protein shake” justifiably be put in the same sentence? You’ll be surprised. Whey protein’s neutral flavor allows you to get creative! Rather than chugging it down to “get it over with”, you’ll find yourself savoring every sip.
Check out some of our delicious whey protein shake recipes.
Use whey to add some oomph to your oatmeal, a protein kick to your fruit salad, or a protein punch to your soups and sauces (not when they’re boiling, though).
FRUIT JUICE OR WHOLE FRUIT?
While you can mix EnergyFirst whey protein isolate with fruit juice, it will defeat the purpose of the EnergyFirst exercise and health eating program. Fruit juice is very high in sugar, even if it is freshly squeezed. It quickly breaks down to glucose in your bloodstream. This translates to an INSTANT spike in blood sugar and insulin.
Opt for whole fruit in your shake instead of fruit juice. Whole fruit packs natural fiber in your shake. Also, whole fruit blends well with raw oils and whey protein to keep your stomach fuller longer and your blood sugar stable longer.
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Whey protein is a superior source of protein. It’s only part of the picture, though. A healthy, nutritious game plan that includes healthy, whole food choices is a must! Without it, your whey protein won’t do much for your body.
Your body needs all the nutrients a balanced, whole foods diet provides to function properly and to use the protein you give it optimally. Consuming whey as part of a balanced, nutritious diet also prevents muscle protein breakdown that occurs when your body doesn’t get enough of the other macronutrients it needs (carbohydrates and fats).
Make sure to include low-fat food sources of protein as well. This includes grass fed meat, poultry, fish, and legumes.
Protein supports muscle growth and muscle repair
Whey is superior to casein, soy, egg, and most other proteins
Whey protein isolate is a higher quality protein
- Delivers all essential amino acids to your muscles
- Provides better results after training
- Creates the optimal environment for preserving muscles
- Nature’s richest source of branched chain amino acids
- Low in fat and cholesterol
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How much protein do you need? You’re not going to find any universal number here! The answer is going to require a little bit of math work. Nothing too complicated, though.
Your protein needs are unique. It depends on your body mass, lifestyle, age, overall health, and the nature of your workout regimen. Check out our protein needs calculator tool to figure out your individual protein needs. Then, plan your diet and whey supplementation accordingly.
Exceeding your protein needs will not provide additional benefits and can potentially harm you.
First Level - Gender
Second Level – Weightr
Third level – End GoalHealthy Lifestyle
Dedicated athletes and bodybuilders aren’t the only ones who want to maintain fitness and overall health. For men and women age 19 years and older, the U.S. recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams of protein/kilogram body weight per day.
This amount is suitable for sedentary lifestyles, those involved in low to moderate activities such as sitting, light walking, or other light exercises (such as yoga or hiking).
Since exercise demands more protein, this amount of protein is often not enough for those who regularly participate in exercise. It doesn’t provide enough amino acids for building muscle mass or repairing muscle tears caused by exercise. Women who are pregnant need about 1.1 grams of protein/kg each day. Lactating women need up to 1.3 g/kg/day.
Nutrition 2004, 20(7-8):662-668.
Am J Clin Nutr 2003, 77(1):109-127.
A high protein diet that aids weight loss aims for about 1.4-1.5 g of protein/kg a day. This is about double the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance).Athlete
True, athletes need more protein than non-athletes. Recommendations vary, however, depending on the type of athlete you are, current body weight, exercise intensity and duration, age, etc. These protein recs will only help you if you keep up your exercise routine. Exercise increases your protein needs as well as your ability to use protein efficiently. Make sure to ingest about 20-30 grams of total protein during exercise or the recovery period after exercise to increase whole body muscle protein synthesis.
-Endurance athlete (vigorous exercise that includes running, marathon running, swimming, or cycling): 1.2-1.4 g/kg/day
-Power athletes (strength and speed): 1.2-1.7 g/kg/day
-Muscle building: 1.4 to 1.7 g/kg of body weight. Muscle building is not just about getting a set amount of protein a day, though. It’s also about distribution because the body cannot stockpile protein for later use. To max out the potential for muscle growth and repair, distribute. Include at least 30 g (minimum) and no more than 50 g of protein with each meal (B,L,D) to stimulate muscle building. This increases muscle synthesis by about 50%.
Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;86(2):451-456.
J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;109(9):1582-1586.
Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2007;10: 40-45.
Fink HH, Burgoon LA, Mikesky AE. Endurance and Ultra-Endurance Athletes: Practical Applications in Sports Nutrition. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett; 2009.
- Weekend warriors or “recreational athlete”? You may not be a professional competitive athlete, but you make time in your busy schedule to train or play hard whenever you get the chance. Your protein needs are 1.1-1.4g/kg.
J Sports Sci. 2011;29(Suppl 1):S29-38.
J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2013 Aug;14(8):542-59.
For good health, physical function, and quick recovery from illnesses, older adults need more protein than younger adults. Older adults need more protein to meet their increased protein metabolism rates and decreased protein building rates. Chronic diseases associated with age also increase protein needs due to inflammation and stress on the body.
Adults aged 65 and over need 1.0-1.2 g/kg of body weight per day to gain and maintain muscle mass and function.
Remember to combine a high-quality protein, like whey protein, with exercise.
Older athletes also have increased protein needs. Older weight lifters, endurance athletes, or strength athletes need up to 1.5 g/kg of body weight.
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RECSWhey to Spread it Out
So, you’ve got your whey protein isolate. Quality? Check!
And you’ve calculated your needs based on your body weight and activity level using our protein needs calculation tool. Quantity? Check!
Don’t let your protein or workouts go to waste! Protein timing is just as important as protein quality and quantity.
Include protein at each meal. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Don’t forget snacks! Research shows that most people tend to squeeze most of their daily protein at dinner. Breakfast suffers the lowest protein intake. Even distribution throughout the day, however, helps your body use all the protein you ingest to the fullest. Immediately after exercise, consume about 20 grams of whey protein to maximize protein synthesis.BREAK THE FAST:
Skip the bagel and cream cheese! After a long, roughly 8 hour overnight fast, your metabolism needs a jumpstart. Start your day with fast-acting whey protein. Opt for 20-40 grams first thing in the morning.PRE-WORKOUT:
Get your body in muscle-building mode by drinking a protein shake up to an hour before your workout. A whey shake is quickly digested to supply the essential amino acids, especially the BCAAs (branched chain amino acids), your body needs for growth.POST-WORKOUT:
If there’s a time of day you don’t want to forget to take your whey, it is THIS one. You’ve just finished working out, placing a crazy amount of pressure on your muscles. In fact, at the microscopic level, they are slightly damaged. (Don’t worry, this is a completely natural process that allows muscles to re-grow and rebuild to become stronger.) Your muscles and your body are now craving energy and nutrients to help them repair and rebuild the torn muscles. After your training session, your muscles are as receptive as they’re ever going to get to protein. They absorb it like a sponge. Here is your window of opportunity!
This is where whey comes in! Whey is the perfect recovery protein. It has concentrated protein and is easy to absorb. It supplies your muscles with the full spectrum of amino acids.
Now your muscles are ready for the next training session.BETWEEN MEALS:
A quick protein shake between meals can help keep your weight and body fat under control. Protein gives that “full” feeling...
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