Whey protein is one of the most popular, and effective supplements in the world, but just like anything else, knowing how and when to take whey protein has a lot to do with how effective it is.
This article will go over the different types of protein, the best time to take them, and how different goals will affect how you take it.
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What Is Whey Protein
Whey protein is the combination of proteins isolated during the production of cheese.
When cheese is produced the fattier, heavier parts of the milk separates and the whey is separated from it as a byproduct.
If you’ve ever opened a sour cream, or cottage cheese container and saw liquid on top that’s whey.
That’s a long way off from what you’re used to seeing when you put it in your protein shake.
After it’s separated from the cheese production it goes through a few processing steps to become the powder form that you’re more accustomed to.
When Is The Best Time To Take Whey Protein
This is one of the most debated topics in the fitness world, with everyone having an opinion and a slew of reasons why they’re right.
To be honest, in the end, the most important fact is whether or not you’re hitting your daily requirements.
There is some scientific data that we can use to see if we can gain an edge to achieve our individual goals.
When To Take Whey Protein For Weight Loss
Protein is very important when it comes to helping you reach your weight loss goals.
It boosts your metabolism to allow your body to burn more calories and takes longer to digest keeping your appetite suppressed.
There’s a nasty hormone called Ghrelin that makes you feel hungry, foods high in protein restrict this hormone from being produced allowing you to go longer in between meals.
This is why you’re told to eat breakfast and lunch high in protein to help you refrain from eating a large number of calories at night time when you’re not as active.
If you’re trying to lose weight you’ll want to eat the most protein in the first half of the day to help you stay on track at night when a lot of people are the most undisciplined.
When To Take Whey Protein To Build Muscle
The right amount of protein is essential if you want to build muscle.
This is due to the fact that protein is made up of amino acids that play an important role in many of your body’s functions, including building muscle.
When you lift weights you create micro-tears in your muscles, to fix these tears your body looks for amino acids, the same amino acids that protein has in it.
Overtime the continuing filling and repairing of these micro-tears make your muscles bigger and stronger.
The best time to eat protein for muscle gain is during what’s called the anabolic window, which lasts up to two hours after your workout.
This is when your body is looking for certain nutrients, and amino acids and because of this you’ll receive a larger portion of these nutrients will be absorbed rather than wasted.
When To Take Whey Protein To Maintain Lean muscle
Unfortunately, as you grow older you’ll start to lose lean muscle mass, some studies have shown it to be as high as 8% for every decade after 40 years of age.
That’s a lot of muscle
This can be greatly decreased by working out and eating a well-balanced diet high in protein.
The best time to eat protein for maximum muscle maintenance is to spread it out into even increments all day long.
This will make sure that you have a consistent amount of protein in your system.
This is important since your body will break down your own muscle in order to attain protein, but if you’re giving it a constant supply of protein throughout the day then it won’t need to do that.
Effects Protein Has On Muscle Mass And Strength
It is 100% fact that you need protein to build muscle and to increase your strength. That is an indisputable fact that no one can challenge or underestimate.
What I disagree with is how you have to have a certain amount of protein within the so-called “magic number”
If you are comfortable with eating during this time period then, by all means, do it, but if you aren’t hungry after your workout do not feel bad or anxious.
I have had good results with eating 5 to 6 meals a day and only worrying about hitting my calorie, and macronutrient ratio.
I don’t worry about anything else.
Understanding Bioavailability Score Of Whey Protein
The definition of bioavailability is – The percentage of a drug or other substance that is absorbed by the body when introduced into your system.
Different types of protein powders and protein from whole foods have varying bioavailability scores.
This means that some have a higher percentage that is absorbed and actually used, while other protein sources have a higher percentage that is wasted.
You obviously want to use the powders, and whole foods that have a higher score, so that they are more effective, and more cost-effective.
Foods High In Protein
Protein source Bioavailability index
- Whey protein isolate 100-159
- Whey concentrate 104
- Whole egg 100
- Cow’s milk 91
- Egg white 88
- Fish 83
- Beef 80
- Chicken 79
- Casein 77
- Rice 74
- Soy 59
- Wheat 54
- Beans 49
- Peanuts 43
Is It Better To Drink A Protein Shake Before Or After A Workout
If you believe that consuming protein within the anabolic window 2 hours after your workout then you’ll want to drink your protein shake after your workout.
Some people like to drink it an hour or so before their workout, that way they don’t crash and they have enough energy to complete their workout.
This is another situation where there is no right or wrong answer, just a lot of opinions.
Is It Okay To Drink A Protein Shake On An Empty Stomach.
This is something you’re going to have to answer by doing it on your own.
I’ve had clients tell me that they have stomach pain, and gas problems when they drink a protein shake on an empty stomach.
Then others tell me they have no problem what’s so ever, It’s obviously one of those situations that will be different for everyone.
Can Whey Protein Make You Gain Weight
Too much of anything will make you gain weight, just like anything in a diet you have to make sure you’re accounting for your calories and macros to make sure that everything is aligned for you to reach your goals.
Do your research on the different types of proteins, they vary greatly in calories per serving size, and this becomes important especially if you’re planning on taking protein shakes right before bed when you won’t have as much of a chance to burn away the calories.
Should You Drink A Protein Shake Before Bed
It has been proven that taking protein before bed improves protein synthesis, which is the driving force behind muscle development.
Many athletes have been practicing the strategy of consuming a slow-digesting protein like Casein at night to furthermore take advantage of your body is inclined to build muscle at this particular time.
The best results have been shown when the protein dose is 40 grams or higher.
The one negative is that this is going to be around 300 calories right before bed, so make sure you are accounting for this in your daily caloric intake to avoid gaining excess fat.
Recommended Dosage For Whey Protein
Every protein has directions on the label giving you the recommended dosage.
You will have to check out the number of calories per serving compared to the number of grams per serving, and then figure out how this fits into your nutrition plan.
Different Types Of Protein Powders
Casein Protein Powder
It’s a very slow-digesting protein, it’s derived from milk like whey, and an excellent source of essential amino acids.
You’ll want a slower digesting protein if you are trying to stay satiated during the day or to take full advantage of your body night time habit of ramping up protein synthesis.
Soy Protein Powder
Soy protein isolate powder is derived from soybean flakes that have been processed in alcohol or water to remove the sugars.
They’re then dehydrated to turn into a powder. You would look for a soy protein if you wanted a product with very little fat and no cholesterol.
Pea Protein Powder
Pea protein is made from yellow peas. It’s very easy to digest making it perfect for anyone who has stomach problems. It’s also rich in iron, arginine, and BCAAS (branched-chain amino acids)
Rice Protein Powder
Rice protein powder is a vegetarian protein isolate that is a substitute for anyone on a plant-based diet who can’t use whey and soy proteins.
The rice is treated with enzymes that make the proteins separate from the carbohydrates to be made into a powdered supplement.
Hemp protein powder
Hemp is another source of a vegan protein powder made by grinding pressed hemp seeds into a fine powder.
Hemp is a high-quality protein source containing all 9 essential amino acids, plus fiber, healthy fats, and minerals.
The Health Benefits Of Whey Protein
Whey protein has a very high nutritional value, and numerous case studies have proven the positive benefits of supplementing with it…
Here are some examples.
- Excellent source of high-quality protein
- Promotes muscle growth when combined with strength training exercises
- It can lower blood pressure since it’s high in bioactive peptides called lactokinins.
- It can help treat type 2 diabetes since it helps moderate blood sugar levels.
- High-Level doses can help reduce inflammation by reducing levels of C-reactive proteins that cause inflammation.
- Has been shown to treat Inflammatory bowel disease in lab rats.
- Whey protein has been proven to promote the production of glutathione which is one of the body’s main antioxidants.
- Will help reduce hunger since it’s highly satiating (filling)
- It can help you lose weight by stimulating your appetite and keeping you satisfied longer.
Side Effects Of Whey Protein
There are very few negative side effects, but some people may notice..
- Digestive problems
- Nausea when taken on an empty stomach
- Some forms can cause bloating. If you experience this you should look into buying a dynamized brand.
- Another bad side effect is what’s known as protein farts, it happens oh well.
Who Should Take Whey Protein
Everyone can benefit from supplementing with it, and knowing when to take whey protein is key to target different goals.
Here are some reasons to look into whey protein supplementation…
- People that can’t get enough protein in their daily diet
- If you’re strength training and want to make sure you have enough protein to achieve protein synthesis.
- If you’re over 40 and want to make sure you maintain as much lean muscle mass as possible.
- When you’re trying to lose weight, and you want to take advantage of proteins appetite suppression qualities, and the fact that it keeps you feeling satiated longer.
The Difference Between Hydrolysate Isolate And: Whey Protein
Just like a fruit juice, the biggest difference here is the way their processed
- Hydrolysate: You will also here this type be referred to as Hydrolyzed whey, it’s pre-digested which makes it absorbed very quickly. It also creates a 28 to 43% insulin spike, so don’t take this type of protein if you’re taking it before bed.
- Isolate: For it to be an Isolate the protein quantity has to be 90% or higher, contain less lactose, and fat. It will also lack all of the beneficial nutrients found in whey protein concentrate.
- Concentrate: This is any type of protein that is between 70 and 80% protein. It will have some lactose, fat and all of the nutrients that you would look for in a protein powder.
The Best Whey Protein
Whey protein concentrate is the clear winner as far as effectiveness, taste, affordability, and popularity.
Whey protein concentrate has the lowest cost per serving, Is the most effective since this production method retains the highest percentage of beneficial nutrients that barely found naturally in whey protein.
It also tastes the best, obviously, this is a matter of opinion, but it is always a fun conversation. (my favorite is chocolate fudge)
One thing you need to know especially if you like to look into the case studies is that most of the research done on whey protein is done on protein isolate, not concentrate.
Best Whey Protein Flavors
- Double Rich Chocolate (my favorite)
- Cookies and Cream
- Delicious Strawberry
- Bananas Cream
- Extreme Milk Chocolate Flavor
- Chocolate Supreme
- Mocha Cappuccino
- French Vanilla
Whey protein is one of the most popular supplements on the market due to its effectiveness, taste, and cost per serving.
It can be used for different goals, whether you want to lose weight, build muscle, or maintain lean muscle that you already have.
Each one of these goals has been studied to see when the best time would make the supplement most effective.