If you’ve ever even thought of lifting weights or undergoing any sort of weight training regimen, you have probably thought about purchasing the most fundamental supplement to ever grace the vitamin industry, whey protein. Known for its incredible popularity and its supposed ability to foster a more rapid development of stronger, more resilient muscle fibers, its negative associations often, all-too-often, in fact, slip under the radar.
So, in light of these aforementioned negative associations, I would like to elaborate. There are, in reality, two major hindrances to whey protein as a product:
Whey Protein Absorption: According to a study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, the rate of protein absorption is eight grams every hour. While there are certainly a variety of factors that contribute to this, the single largest influencing factor is undoubtedly the fact that the whey is not broken down into small enough peptides by our body’s natural enzymes in order to be absorbed in time, and if the protein is not absorbed in time, then it essentially useless.
Whey protein can only be absorbed efficiently over the course of 1.5 hours, so even if a particular protein has 60g in a single serving, only about 12-20g of that 60 will be put to good use. That means the vast majority of the rest of that whey protein is bound to be excreted, nutritious value and all. It’s wasted.
Insulin Release Associated with Whey: Let’s play a game. If I presented you with a serving size of generic white Wonder bread, and a serving size of standard whey protein isolate, and asked which if these causes a greater spike in insulin, what you say? Would you choose the well-touted, known to be terrible for you, nutritionally devoid white bread, or the muscle and nutritional supplement, whey protein? Remarkably, the answer is…you guessed it! Whey protein.
As outrageous as it seems, whey protein actually causes a greater spike in insulin than white bread. According to a study published in Nutrition & Metabolism as of 2012, the specific amino acids in whey protein actually emulate beta cells to such a degree that they secrete more insulin than a similar serving of carbs from white bread.
Of course, I am only referring to insulin release in this scenario. Obviously, when taking into account nutritional value as a whole, white bread is no match for whey protein. Yet, that said, there really is no ignoring the fact that your fat-burning capability is noticeably afflicted when there is a presence of excess insulin; so ideally, choosing foods with a lower insulin response is preferable.
The fact is that whey protein is by no means the best supplement around despite whatever its incredible popularity might suggest. The next time you’re shopping around for strength training supplements, I’d recommend you check out time-released proteins where your body is able to absorb the nutritious value of whatever you’re consuming over an extended period of time, and then you will be able to gain the most out of what you buy.