Based upon the available research, I generally recommend that hard training athletes consume at least 2½ grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily, in order to support muscle tissue and maintain a positive nitrogen balance i.e. where muscle repair and growth (anabolism) equals or exceeds muscle break down (catabolism). Without this sufficient high quality protein in ones diet, muscle cannot be optimally repaired or new muscle tissue built and strength, power and performance are therefore compromised. In physique conscious men and women, this often means a loss of lean muscle tissue and “tone” and a resultant decline in metabolic rate as muscle is the body’s most metabolically active tissue.
Realising this most athletes and physique conscious persons supplement their diets with a high quality protein supplement as a means to ensure adequate daily protein intake. Reliance on whole food alone makes preparing and consuming sufficient protein on a daily basis, a tedious and impractical task. Amongst the protein supplements available to consumers, Whey Protein based products, such as Muscle Science’s Whey Supreme, have established themselves as the firm favourites amongst the more informed consumer. Not only is Whey a very high biological value protein source, which is easy digesting, but it provides an exceptional amino acid profile and is particularly rich in the all important branched chain amino acids. (refer to last weeks cutting edge article as a reminder of the importance of branched chain amino acids).
The “Whey” to a Lean Body
”Bodybuilding” protein drinks aren't the only products in which the nutritional and physiological benefits of whey protein ingredients are increasingly coming to the fore. With whey protein's ability to promote fat loss and create a feeling of satiety now well documented, weight-management and body-tone products incorporating whey protein are two areas offering consumers more than just a “muscle-building” benefit. (Look for Muscle Science’s Lean Body “Perfect Whey” available soon as a valuable addition to our Lean Body total body sculpting solution).
The science behind the mechanisms responsible for Whey proteins 'slimming effects'
- Peptides in whey known as lactokinins have been shown to inhibit a compound called angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE). If unhindered, ACE encourages fat cells to grow.
- The high calcium content of whey, meanwhile, suppresses a different set of hormones that also stimulates fat cell growth.
- In combination with branched-chain amino acids, the lactokinins and calcium work to direct the body's energy away from producing fat and into producing lean muscle. We often refer to this as a “nutrient partitioning” effect.
- Another whey-protein component, glycomacropeptides, may act as an appetite suppressant by stimulating cholecystokinin - an intestinal hormone that reduces gastric secretion.
- The combined effect of these ingredients in whey protein appears to have a much stronger slimming effect than any of them alone.
The “Whey” to Improved Immunity and Enhanced Health
Whilst whey protein has attracted lots of attention for its ability to promote muscle growth and repair as well as assist in ones “body toning” goals, these are by no means the only health benefits associated with whey protein.
"Whey protein, due to its amino-acid profile, has been shown to be able to enhance the immune system by stimulating an increase in glutathione. Glutathione is one of the body’s most important anti-oxidants and plays a major role in combating free radicals, disease prevention and anti-aging.
As a complete, high-quality protein, whey also supplies all the essential and non-essential amino acids for the human body. Specific whey-protein peptides and fractions have also been shown to have nutritional applications for hypertension and cardiovascular-health products; renal nutrition; PKU [Phenylketonuria] nutritional products; and products for improving sleep, mood and memory function.
The growing realisation of these health benefits of whey protein has prompted us to look at whey in a new light. In the space of 20 years, whey has gone from being a by-product of cheese production, considered fit only for pig feed, to a functional, nutritional, value-adding ingredient.
As the science behind the benefits offered by whey protein continues to build and become more widely understood, we can expect it Whey protein based supplements to become an integral part of any serious athlete or body conscious person’s daily supplement plan.