Is organic whey protein natural & healthy?
Whey protein is one of the most popular nutritional supplements among active adults so why are so many men and women taking it nowadays? In most cases, they’re likely hoping to gain lean muscle mass in combination with their strength training, lose weight with a high protein low carb diet and / or recover faster from workouts.
Are such expectations realistic? Is it really just an off-shoot of more desirable dairy products? Can it safely be considered part of a natural lifestyle?
With so many wild claims flying about between gym locker rooms and product marketing material it’s genuinely hard to know sometimes, so we took a look at the evidence-based research to help you make an informed decision. Read on to find out more.
first things first, what exactly is whey protein?
Whey protein powder is made from cow’s milk. When the milk is processed into curds to make cheese, whey is the liquid portion left over. When manufacturers put this liquid through a drying process, it forms whey protein powder. Nothing complicated.
how does whey protein work?
Muscle metabolism is a delicate balance of muscle protein synthesis and breakdown. Only when synthesis exceeds breakdown does muscle mass grow. When you weight train, this balance swings heavily in favour of muscle synthesis - as long as you can supply enough amino acids to support it. 
Whey protein is rich in amino acids, including the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) valine, isoleucine and leucine. Whey’s high leucine content gives it an edge over other protein supplements, as that particular type has the strongest effect on muscle synthesis of all the amino acids.
Furthermore, the body can absorb whey much faster than other proteins, making it the preferred choice for many.
whey protein for muscle growth
There’s plenty of evidence to show that whey protein can increase muscle mass and performance alongside an exercise routine of adequate difficulty, duration and frequency.
Results from a 2017 double-blind, randomized, controlled clinical trial with 24 active male participants support this. Researchers found that 20 grams of whey protein per day increased fat-free mass (+1.4% v.s. 0.0% placebo) and vastus medialis thickness (part of the quad) (12.1% v.s. 6.3% placebo) during an 8-week resistance-training program.
How much regular strength training is necessary to make an impact?
A 2015 review of 38 studies concluded that taking a protein supplement likely has no impact on lean mass and muscle strength during the first few weeks of working out. Gains only begin to appear as the duration, frequency, and volume of strength training increase. Our advice? Give it 6-8 weeks at least, we’re all in this for the long-term anyway, not just for a quick win.
whey protein for exercise recovery
The soreness and reduced muscle performance you experience after intense exercise are thanks to damaged contractile proteins. If you’ve been following so far, you might be thinking that whey protein’s ability to stimulate muscle synthesis could also help with repair and recovery. And you’d be right, partly.
Protein supplementation does help with recovery but only over the longer term. Studies that looked at recovery over less than 24 hours found no change. However, taking a protein supplement on a regular basis for extended periods reduced muscle soreness and indirect markers of muscle damage from subsequent exercise.
Flavored whey vs organic unflavored, which is better?
This one is obvious people! All of those flavored, sweetened whey products simply have no place in a natural diet so ignore them completely and hunt down the high-grade, grass-fed, organic whey protein from a source in your region.
If you’re in Europe, try to find whey from European cows for example. This is just common sense in our opinion.
Then to add interest and make the stuff vaguely pleasant to consume, add raw cocoa powder, organic peanut butter and your preferred nut mylk for a light, easily digestible and sugar-free pre or post-workout smoothie. Remember, keep it super simple if this is a drink you consume every day. Your stomach will thank you for it!
For more nutrition advice and all things natural health and fitness, simply visit my Biofit website.