Whey Protein, Is It Good or Bad?

Holistic Nutrition

The most popular supplements on the planet happens to be whey protein. It is popular choice midst athletes, fitness enthusiasts and people wanting to build muscle or lose weight. Some say it is safe, others are opposed to this idea. They claim that too much whey protein can damage the kidneys and liver and even cause osteoporosis. This article will investigate the safety of whey protein and its possible side effects.

Whey protein, what is it?

Most gym supplements and dietary supplements are made from whey protein. But it is made from the whey, the clear liquid from milk that forms during the making of cheese. This liquid is then filtered, refined and dried to form whey protein powder.

You can get three key sorts of whey protein. The difference between these are how they are processed. For instance, whey protein concentrate contains about 70–80% protein. This is the commonest type of whey protein and has more lactose, fat and minerals from milk. Whey protein isolate contains 90% protein, it more refined and has less lactose, and fat, however this sort of whey protein contains fewer beneficial minerals. Lastly, whey protein hydrolysate is a pre-digested form that allows your body to absorb it faster.

Nonetheless, whey protein is a complete source of protein. This means it contains all eight essential amino acids. Your body cannot make essential amino acids, so it is imperative to get enough of them from your diet. You can take whey protein simply by mixing it with water or milk or add it to your smoothies. More so, some studies have shown that whey protein can help you to recover from exercise, build muscle and strength and lose weight. But despite its health benefits, some people are worried about its safety.

Whey protein could cause digestive problems

Since whey protein contains lactose, some people can be lactose intolerant and suffer digestion problems when taking whey protein. The symptoms that they can experience could include gas, bloating, stomach cramps and even diarrhea. However, if you are lactose intolerant, then you should switch to a whey protein isolate powder. A whey protein isolate is more refined, with a considerably smaller amount of fat and lactose than whey protein concentrate. Otherwise, you will need to try a non-dairy protein powder, such as soy, pea, egg, and rice or hemp protein.

You could be allergic to whey protein

If you are allergic to milk then you will be allergic to whey protein. Simply since whey protein comes from cow’s milk. Moreover, an allergy to whey protein should not be confused with lactose intolerance. The symptoms of a cow’s milk allergy can include hives, rashes, facial swelling, throat and tongue swelling and a runny or stuffy nose. In addition, a cow’s milk allergy could trigger anaphylaxis, a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction. Most allergies happen when the body yields an immune response to a protein. But, an intolerance is caused by an enzyme deficiency and does not involve the immune system.

Can whey protein cause nutritional deficiencies and constipation?

A few people, mostly those that are lactose intolerant can experiences constipation. This is where there is a slowing the movement of the gut. However, constipation is more likely affected by a lack of fiber in favor of whey protein, specifically when they are on a low-carb diet. Fiber rich foods like fruits helps form stool and promotes regular bowel movements.

You can develop nutrient deficiencies if you replace whole foods with whey protein. Whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are nutrient-rich and contain different minerals needed for good health. Therefore, it is vital to keep eating a balanced diet while you are taking whey protein.

Can your kidneys be harmed by whey protein?

If you eat high-protein meals, it can raise the pressure inside the kidneys and cause them to filter more blood than normally. Still, this does not mean that a high-protein meal can damage your kidneys. Although there are some evidence that, a high protein diet can dangerous for people with kidney disease.

Can whey protein damage your liver?

There is no evidence that has indicated that a high protein intake can lead to liver damage. The liver will use protein to repair itself, and the fats will be converted into lipoproteins, which are molecules that help remove fats from the liver. But, a high protein intake may harm people who have cirrhosis, a chronic liver disease. In cirrhosis, the liver cannot function properly. Therefore, a high protein intake may increase ammonia levels in the blood, which may damage the brain.

Can whey protein lead to osteoporosis?

There is some controversy about the relationship between protein intake and bones. Some argue that too much protein will rob calcium from the bones and increase your risk of developing osteoporosis, a disease characterized by hollow and porous bones.

Some studies have indicated that the body counters the effects of calcium loss by increasing calcium absorption from the gut. Other studies have shown no evidence that eating too much protein was bad for bone health. They did conclude that eating more protein was actually beneficial for bone health. In addition, elderly people with osteoporosis should eat more protein to help maintain strong bones.

Concluding remarks

Whey protein is safe and many people can take it without side effect. Still, for some, whey protein can lead to digestive symptoms, especially for those that are lactose intolerance, and those allergic to cow’s milk may be allergic to it. In such cases, then you should rather opt for non-dairy products like hemp or soy, or try a whey protein isolate where the lactose concentration is much less. Still, whey protein is one of the best supplements and have beneficial roles in strength and muscle building, recovery and weight loss.