Whey Worth It!

There’s always a lot of talk around the gym about Whey protein.  Those who train regularly swear on the values of the supplement.

But why is Whey protein such an important component of the diet?

Contrary to popular belief, Whey is useful for all people and not just athletes.  It is one of two milk proteins, with the other being Casein, and is absorbed quicker than protein from other sources.  Most commonly, it is used as a dietary supplement to aid in achieving daily protein intake goals.

Because of it’s quick absorbing characteristics, Whey protein produces higher levels of muscle protein synthesis as opposed to other protein sources.  This is due to higher concentrations of Leucine, a branched chain amino acid most responsible for building muscle.  Quicker muscle synthesis leads to a quicker recovery after exercise, another benefit of Whey protein.

There have been claims that suggest Whey protein increases fat loss, but this is a function of protein in general and not specific to Whey.  Protein is known to boost the metabolism and is necessary during weight loss to ensure the maintenance of lean body mass (muscle).

How much to intake

The necessary amount of protein in a diet differs from person to person based on body weight and goals.  The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends:

  • Average Person – 0.35g of protein/pound of body weight
  • Highly Active – 0.5-0.8g of protein/pound of body weight

Those individuals attempting to lose body fat should eat the same levels of protein as highly active individuals. 

Dr. David Carfagno is a Board Certified Internist and Sports Physician, who trained at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation

  1. American College of Sports Medicine (2009). Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 41(3): 709-731.
  2. Levenhagen, D.K., Carr, C., Carlson, M.G., Maron, D.J., Borel, M.J., Klakoll, P.J. (2002). Postexercise protein intake enhances whole-body and leg protein accretion in humans. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 34(5): 828-837.