You know you’re leveling up your fitness game when you start adding supplements to your diet. Scouting for the best protein powders to supercharge your smoothies and snacks? Here’s everything you need to know about whey protein, an all-too-familiar staple among athletes, bodybuilders, and wellness junkies alike.
WHAT IS WHEY PROTEIN?
Whey protein is one of two proteins derived from milk (the other one is called “casein”). It’s a supplementary protein that contains a high level of essential amino acids and it’s easily absorbed by the gut.
3 TYPES OF WHEY PROTEIN
1. WHEY CONCENTRATE. Water-soluble and nutritionally dense. The most well-made concentrates contain high levels of growth factors, immunoglobulins, and lactoferrin (a glycoprotein which is showing promising benefits for mild acne);
2. WHEY ISOLATE. Further processed and denatured whey concentrate that yields higher amounts of protein at the cost of losing almost all fat and lactose, and;
3. WHEY HYDROLYSATE. Whey isolate or whey concentrate processed to a “pre-digested” state. This requires even less digestion time relative to the other two, but its protein content may vary depending on its source.
Whey protein is great to add to post-workout drinks because it helps enhance lean muscle development, support fat burning, and aid in exercise recovery. In other words: it’ll help with toning your bod!
TRY: Fitique Nutrition Skinny Whey Isolate With Collagen, P1800
WHEN AND HOW DO YOU CONSUME WHEY PROTEIN?
Whey protein is best consumed 1-2 hours before or after a workout, so consider incorporating it into your recovery routine. You can also take it as a dietary protein source: you can add it to your breakfast oatmeal or smoothie, have it folded into snacks, or you could even bake with it. It’s a very versatile nutritional supplement.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should chuck it into every meal! Too much of anything can be bad, too. Be sure to calculate your recommended daily protein intake first and spread it out as you see fit.
HOW CAN IT CAUSE ACNE?
Whey protein is sourced from milk. Studies have shown that any form of dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese) can cause or increase acne in individuals aged 7-30 years. There have been studies that directly link whey protein consumption to acne among teenage athletes, adolescents, and bodybuilders. One study even found that this was more prominent in females and in individuals with no current acne or family history of acne.
In these studies, whey protein was found to increase levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factors. An increase in insulin can lead to an increase in sebum production, and excessive sebum creates an environment primed for acne.
SHOULD I KEEP IT IN MY DIET?
Note that just because it’s been shown that whey protein can cause acne, it doesn’t automatically mean that it always will. Just as there are people who break out from consuming whey protein, there are also people who don’t.
It’s easy to take these claims to the extreme when you’re struggling with a breakout, but everyone has different acne triggers. If you’re interested in supplementing your fitness diet, then don’t cross whey protein out of your options just yet!
First, try to determine if dairy consumption affects your skin. Eliminate milk and dairy products from your diet for at least two weeks and see if it makes a difference. If it doesn’t, chances are dairy is not an acne trigger for you, and that means you can try adding whey protein to your diet.
As a general tip, get whey protein that isn’t loaded with artificial flavorings and preservatives. Not only is this better for your diet, it’s also less likely to cause you any bad reactions.
TRY: Wheyl Nutrition Co. Just Clean Caramel Whey Protein (454g), P550; Hammer Nutrition Strawberry Whey Protein (24 Servings), P2500; Wheyl Nutrition Co. Just Salted Chocolate Whey Protein (454g), P550
3 ALTERNATIVES TO WHEY PROTEIN
If you are unable to consume whey protein for whatever reasons (e.g. lactose intolerance, acne triggers, dietary restrictions), there are alternative protein supplements you can include in your diet instead.
1. COLLAGEN PROTEIN
Collagen protein comes from bones, skins, and cartilages of animals. They have high amounts of glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline—three amino acids that help build collagen, the main protein making up our bodies. Our collagen production declines as we age, thus the wrinkling skin, brittle hair and nails, and increased pain in our joints and bones. Collagen protein is a good option for those who can’t consume dairy products.
TRY: Bulletproof Unflavored Collagen Protein (22g), P2,160
2. BONE BROTH PROTEIN
Often derived from chicken bone broth or grass-fed beef bones, bone broth protein comes with a wealth of nutrients. These include those that are good for joints (chondroitin, glucosamine) and skin (hyaluronic acid, collagen, proline).
TRY: Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth Protein (25g), P180
3. VEGAN PROTEIN
If you want to go plant-based, opt for vegan protein. Vegan protein is packed with skin-saving antioxidants and weight loss-supporting fiber. While many look down on it because it doesn’t contain all of the essential amino acids, there are ways to combine it with different sources to ensure you’re getting all the necessary nutrients. There are even ready-made options that do it for you!
TRY: The Superfood Grocer Vegan Pea Protein Powder (454g), P900; Roarganics Pure Pea Protein (1000g), P2000
So, which one would you trust with your #gains?
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