There is a shedload of information out there about whey protein. Between the scientific mumbo jumbo and the marketing jazzy lingo, you’d be forgiven for thinking it cures all ailments and transforms you overnight into Popeye’s more buff older brother.
And while some of it is, I’m sure, scientifically researched and truthful, the wonderful world of hearsay means that certain myths are flying around about this protein. Will it turn me into the Hulk overnight? For women, will it make me Miss Trunchbull?
I’ve detailed what I think are the 5 biggest myths and then given the ACTUAL truths. Be prepared…
1. Men and women need different types of whey protein
WRONG! Even writing this gives me the shudders. When I see products out there designed specifically for women with pink branding and a heftier price tag it drives me crazy! All whey protein is created from the same source – cow’s milk. There aren’t cows that produce whey specifically for women and separate ones for men!
What some cheeky brands will do is add the tiniest amount of green tea and call it a diet whey, but if you actually look at the ingredients they all have the same base = whey protein. It may be Whey Concentrate, Whey Isolate or Whey Hydroisolate, but all of these are from the same source, they’re just treated differently when created (see below the difference).
Conclusion: IGNORE the products charging a higher price for ‘bulking whey’ or ‘female whey’. Do your research on the correct type of whey for you (quick tip – just look at the ingredients and nutritional information!)
2. Whey alone will make me muscly
WRONG! This is by far the most common question I get asked – especially from women. Due to sports supplements historically being taken by predominately male bodybuilders, women who exercise to keep toned and healthy don’t want to touch whey protein products with the fear they’ll turn into Arnie! But the truth is, women need protein to help them recover from their workouts just as much as Arnie does!
It requires significant, frequent resistance training coupled with a high protein diet for a man or woman to put on muscle mass. Women are not genetically designed in the same way as men (they do not have as much testosterone) so they have to work even harder to bulk up.
Conclusion: Taking whey on its own won’t bulk you up – man or woman, so you can’t sit at home watching Game of Thrones with a protein shake expecting to be the next cover model. It is, however, a perfect source of protein to help build & recover your body after regular workouts.
3. Whey protein is an unnatural product
WRONG! Some people seem to think whey protein is unsafe and categorise it with the likes of steroids, however it’s a completely natural source. Whey protein is a dairy-derived protein. Cow's milk has two protein components: casein and whey. The whey is the liquid that is left-over after the curds are removed to make cheese.
A quick guide to how whey protein powder is made:
1. The raw milk is pasteurised to eliminate harmful bacteria
2. Enzymes are added to milk to separate the casein and the whey
a. 80% of the milk is used for the production of cheese (casein)
b. 20% left is whey
3. The liquid whey is then loaded into stainless steel turbines that have special ceramic turbines to be filtered. The process removes most of the fat and lactase from the whey
4. It’s then micro-filtered to become Whey Protein Concentrate & can then be ultra-filtered to produce Whey Protein Isolate. There are further steps for Hydrolysed Whey Protein that involves breaking down the amino-acids (enzymatic hydrolysis) so they are more easily absorbed by the body
5. The liquid whey is then put into a massive dryer to convert the liquid to powder
Conclusion: There will be cynics that say that you can’t grow whey powder from the ground and that there are processes to convert it into powder that make it ‘unnatural’, however hopefully by now you’ll realise that it’s just a natural product source with nothing added.
4. Whey protein is better than real food
WRONG! In my opinion nothing will beat actual food over dietary supplements (and that’s saying something as I run my own whey brand!) However, this myth isn’t as black and white as the others. When comparing the benefits of whey protein powder vs whole foods both have their advantages.
Whole food proteins from animal sources such as poultry, meat, fish, eggs and milk should be components of a balanced and nutritionally optimal diet for those who exercise and provide the highest quality of protein.
The main benefits of whey are convenience and nutritional content. Eating regular small meals is the optimal way to keep your body constantly in positive nitrogen balance. For many people however, eating this often is nearly impossible and this is when the golden whey comes into play as it gives your body the relevant protein (amino acids) but without the higher fat content that you’ll get from most whole protein sources.
Certain types of whey are also shown to be absorbed quicker (especially Hydrolysed Whey), so the sooner the protein gets into your bloodstream the quicker you can begin to recover for the next workout!
Conclusion: Opt for whole foods in your diet where possible, but use whey for what it was designed to do – SUPPLEMENT your diet!
5. Protein isn’t suitable for endurance athletes
WRONG! This one is generic to protein however as whey protein offers all essential amino acids and is up-to 90% protein and little else, it’s relevant here.
Although endurance athletes are looking for muscle endurance, especially in slow-twitch muscle fibres, rather than build muscle for explosive power, it doesn’t mean they do not need protein.
Conclusion: Protein is the building blocks for recovery & an essential macronutrient – so endurance athletes definitely need protein to recovery for their next session!
Now go forth with the accurate knowledge and information and be the first to correct someone if you hear them say one of the above.
If you’d like to receive my Amazon bestselling eBook on whey protein free of charge, then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This guest post was bought to you by Adam French, the founder of whey'd. If you're looking for delicious grab-and-go whey protein sachets with an emphasis on quality ingredients check them out at www.wheyd.com