Whey protein of the Little Miss Muffet “curds and whey” – is actually a protein isolate from milk. Milk has two types of protein and one of them, whey – is thought to make you “weigh” less.
Whey powder has traditionally been used in bodybuilding and weight lifting but has recently seen an upsurge in popularity thanks to shows like the Biggest Loser with trainer Jillian Michaels – amongst others.
Whey protein can definitely help you build muscles – but is also useful in weight loss. It can help produce slimmer hips and thighs – rather than just the bulky muscles we think of when we consider protein supplements.
Whey has been shown to have a number of medical and health benefits for cardiac disease, diabetes, wasting disorders, and other conditions – but it can help with weight loss.
Why does whey protein work for weight loss?
Whey is a thermogenic food – in fact it may be the most thermogenic food source around. It burns more calories after you eat it than any other kind of food. This means that your metabolism will remail high all day after you eat it. Whey, like all other proteins also help you feel satisfied or full for longer periods of time – which means that you will snack less and cut down your overall calorie consumption.
Add thermogenesis to increased metabolism and less eating, combine that with exercise – and you increase your chance of weight loss. There is another reason why whey protein helps in weight loss as well.
It turns on protein synthesis which is needed to build muscle. What this means for the bodybuilder is that he will build bigger muscles – what it means for those who are trying to lose weight is that you will maintain the muscle you have and not lose it.
The more muscle you have, the higher you basal metabolic rate is and the more calories you burn even when you are not exercising. Again combined with the thermogenesis, diet changes and exercise – and you have more weight loss.
What is the best whey protein for weight loss?
The easiest way to add whey to your diet would be to consume more dairy – but since dairy products are loaded with fat and sugars (lactose), it is a no brainer – that isn’t the way to go. There are a lot of supplements to choose from.
To get the best whey protein for weight loss you want to look for something that doesn’t add a lot of calories. For this reason, pre flavored protein shakes may be out – depending on the brand. You may want to look for something that is designed for weight loss – and not for bodybuilding. Read your labels regarding protein content, carbs and calorie amount. Protein and carbs both provide 4 calories per gram – so an average serving of 25 grams will provide about 100 calories in protein alone – if a serving has many more calories than that – you might want to move on. The protein powder should have a high percentage of whey protein – up to 90 percent, but some varieties have a lot less so watch out.
If you are planning on buying protein powder, you can mix it into a beverage yourself. Protein itself is kind of chalky and tastes like….protein. It doesn’t have a lot of definable flavor but most people like to buy a flavored variety that doesn’t provide a lot of calories.
Some of the best whey protein powders that you can mix yourself include:
Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard 24 g / scoop with 130 calories
This is a good all-around protein and comes in a bulk sized container which makes it a good deal for someone who is committed. Based on a per serving cost – this one comes in at medium and you do have to buy a big container. It has great reviews and comes in a variety of flavors like Cake Batter, Cookies & Cream, Coffee, Rocky Road, Tropical Punch and Mocha Cappuccino – but the favorite is theDouble Rich Chocolate.
Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey Isolate, Vanilla Creme 30g / scoop with 150 calories
This is a great budget choice as it comes in a smaller size so you can check it out before you spend a lot of money. Ideally, you want to be spending around a dollar a serving and this comes in at a little less – and has the protein you need. It comes in Vanilla Crème and Chocolate
Dymatize Nutrition ISO 100 Whey Protein Powder 24 g / scoop with 106 calories
Special because it comes in a wide variety of flavors including Cookies and Cream, Banana, Pina Colada, Berry and the usual Chocolates and Vanilla but the favorite is of course, chocolate. When mixed with water, it has no fat, no carbs and no cholesterol. Reasonably priced and still good on the calories.
Syntha-6 BSN 22 g / 190 calories
This one is high on the calorie scale but is chosen due to the availability of the plain strawberry flavor for those who just don’t like chocolate. Users say it tastes good which may make it valuable despite the higher calorie count. The price is reasonable.
Again, you will have to read the label. Consider the cost per serving (about 25 grams) and the calories per serving. You also want to consider the mixing instructions – whether the liquid you add it to will add calories and what the flavor actually tastes like.
There are hundreds of protein powders out there; these are just a few of the best options. You may be able to find one you like better by looking around or asking some friends or acquaintances at the gym.
Where to look
Whey protein powder for weight loss can be found in a number of locations – some are better than others.
Amazon – Amazon has a good selection of whey protein powders – in virtually every flavor, every size and from every manufacturer that you could want. There are some plusses and minuses to order from Amazon.
- Plus – good variety, some reviews, price comparison, some information, shipping is fast and free if you have Amazon Prime
- Minus – information is not always complete, reviews are usually but not always honest, they don’t always have the right flavor or right size, many Amazon sellers who are in the supplement business don’t offer prime shipping so costs and shipment times may vary
Other Websites – many sports companies or vendors have websites which also offer a decent variety of protein supplements. Again there are some plusses and minuses.
- Plus – easy to compare product to product, pricing may be better
- Minus – price may not be better, reviews may be slanted to a product they want you to buy or their product list may hook back up to Amazon, shipping probably won’t be free and shipping times may vary, information may also not be complete or accurate
Nutrition Stores – stores that sell supplements carry a number of whey protein powders.
- Plus – you can actually look at the label and know exactly what you are getting, you will have your product right away, they may have different sizes, staff may be able to help you choose, prices of store brand may be lower, often have matching shake “shakers” and matching supplements if you need them
- Minus – the variety may not always be there as they are really trying to sell you what they make, prices of brand name stuff may be higher
Grocery or Discount Stores – Most stores carry a few supplements and may have advantages if you know what you want.
- Plus – likely to be cheaper (not always), you can look at the label for comparison, you will have your product right away
- Minus – variety of brands, sizes and flavors is likely to be limited, there is little to no information or any knowledgeable staff
In an ideal world – we could put straight whey protein into water, shake it up and it would taste great or at least be drinkable. In most cases, that won’t work – but there are some products that come close with good flavors and few added calories.
What it really comes down to is that any whey protein powder can be used for weight loss – you just have to compare the labels, find something you like and start using it.