Are protein shakes good for you?
Whey protein is one of the most popular supplements on the planet. But despite its many health benefits, there’s some controversy surrounding its safety.
Some claim that too much whey protein can damage the kidneys and liver and even cause osteoporosis. This article provides an evidence-based review of whey protein’s safety and side effects.
Whey protein is a popular fitness and dietary supplement.
It’s made from whey, which is the liquid that separates from milk during the cheese-making process. The whey is then filtered, refined and spray-dried into whey protein powder.
There are three main types of whey protein. The key difference between them is how they are processed.
- Whey protein concentrate: Contains roughly 70–80% protein. It’s the most common type of whey protein and has more lactose, fat and minerals from milk.
- Whey protein isolate: Contains 90% protein or more. It’s more refined and has less lactose and fat, but it also contains fewer beneficial minerals.
- Whey protein hydrolysate: This form is pre-digested, allowing your body to absorb it faster.
Whey protein is a popular choice among athletes, fitness enthusiasts and people wanting to build muscle or lose weight.
Studies show it can help you recover from exercise, build muscle and strength and even lose weight by reducing your appetite and boosting your metabolism.
Whey protein is also a complete source of protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids. Your body cannot make essential amino acids, so it’s important to get enough of them from your diet.
You can take whey protein simply by mixing it with water or a liquid of your choice.
Despite its health benefits, some people are concerned about its safety.
That said, whey protein is safe for most people and a convenient way to increase your protein intake.
Whey protein is generally safe and can be consumed by many people without side effects.
A commonly suggested dose is 1–2 scoops (25–50 grams) per day, but it’s recommended that you follow the serving instructions on the package.
Taking more than this is unlikely to offer more benefits, especially if you already eat enough protein.
If you experience uncomfortable symptoms like bloating, gas, cramps or diarrhea after taking whey protein, try switching to a whey protein isolate powder.
Alternatively, try a non-dairy protein powder, such as soy, pea, egg, rice or hemp protein.
Whey protein is safe and many people can take it without adverse effects.
However, it may cause digestive symptoms in those with lactose intolerance, and those allergic to cow’s milk may be allergic to it.
If you experience side effects, try a whey protein isolate or non-dairy protein alternative.
Despite these exceptions, whey protein is one of the best supplements on the market. It has a variety of research to support its beneficial roles in strength and muscle building, recovery and weight loss.
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