By now it’s probably common to associate whey protein, in both name and reputation, with fitness, overall health, even with the development of muscles and their recovery, but there’s always that one question in the back of the minds of those that are looking for ways to lose a couple pounds, go down a size or gain some lean muscle – will adding whey protein to my diet be counter productive and make me gain weight?
Unfortunately, the short answer to that is yes, although it is not that simple. It’s the same as with any aspect of additions to a diet, where the body is not making use of that added fuel, or the balance of intake and exercise is off , basically too much of whey intake and not enough exercise could in turn result in more body fat. Sure, the genetic factor differs from person to person, but that’s the gist of it.
Most of you surely at this point have considered this article useless to them by now and are considering clicking off of it, but don’t stop reading yet because learning more about this invaluable part of your gym supplement collection is very important. Now, let’s take a look at what whey protein really is.
What exactly is whey protein?
Whey protein is a protein that’s found in milk, along with another protein called casein, and when slowly digested is ideal for intense slogs and eating right before you go to sleep. It is created in the production of cheese, right from the liquid whey that’s left when curds come together. To make actual whey protein the remaining whey liquid needs to be processed and refined first to separate the proteins from the fats and lactose, and then dried to produce a type of powder.
The final result of whey protein in it’s regular powdered form is a blend of different various proteins including beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin, serum albumin, lactoferrin and immunoglobulins – also known as antibodies. As we know, all proteins are made out of amino acids, which are often referred to as the building blocks to protein.
Whey protein is an all-rounder in fact as it’s low in lactose (which causes problems for many people) and is a complete protein that contains all 9 essential amino acids! That’s why it’s so good for building muscle – high amounts of branched chain amino acids are the ones responsible for the muscle protein synthesis.
With this we know what it is and how it’s used in our bodies when building some muscle is concerned, but what about in practice? Where does all that whey go when you’re working out regularly?
Does whey protein make you gain weight ?
Or in other words – “does whey protein make you fat?”. This and similar questions are searched up and asked with any food item that you consume with regular exercise and otherwise.
For example – chicken is a highly searched up food with this exact question. Chicken being a healthy lean meat, that is low in the fats that you don’t want and high in protein like whey. Additionally, its great for building muscle and perfect for lean diets centered around losing weight. But, technically speaking, if you consumed too much chicken and that outweighs and outbalances your exercise regimen, you would gain weight from that.
By now it’s basically widely considered as a myth that whey protein will make you gain weight. It alone does not make you fat, and it’s actually a staple in many weight loss diets. Bouncing off the previous answer we gave to this question – yes, whey protein could possibly make you fat, but it’s all a matter of usage.
If it’s consumed in larger quantities without any exercise to balance the scales out, it could very much so contribute to weight gain. This is mainly because of the fact that whey is a quite the source of calories, in fact all macronutrients could potentially lead to weight gain when in excess.
While mostly fats and carbs are frequently the main usual suspects in this, protein is also a factor in your daily caloric intake. The human body only has a need for a certain amount of calories per day, as is suggested, and depending on your lifestyle and the level of your exercise that number may vary.
For example: people who are mass muscle gainers require a surplus of calories, for dieters and lean gainers there must be a balance between intake and exercise to avoid that surplus of calories.
However, there is another side to this argument – minus the scientific studies. The argument states that whey makes your body store more fat because of its effects on your level of insulin. It does this by practically raising your insulin levels, which are actually affected by the amount of energy you consume and the amount you burn off.
Now, if whey doesn’t actually make you gain weight, can it contribute to burning it?
The other benefits of whey protein
Whey protein has many beneficial properties other than the ones we already stated above. Whey can help you to increase your ability to burn fat when your body uses it as a source of protein right before exercise. This process is called beta-oxidation, it happens when the fatty acid molecules stored in your cells will begin to break down and produce acetyl-CoA, which is crucial for your body and it’s ability to metabolize.
Another benefit to it is that whey protein also plays a role in the process of thermogenesis, which is the body’s ability to convert calories into a type of heat energy. While you’re consuming whey protein, it leads to more calories being burned, which in turn makes you lose more weight by actually burning more calories for your body to use as an energy for muscle contractions.
The final benefit we’ll mention (even though there are many more), is that whey protein helps you to regulate your hunger by increasing the production of the hormone Cholecystokinin (CCK), which is a peptide hormone whose main purpose is to stimulate fat and protein digestion.