Whey protein offers a convenient way to get post-workout amino acids to boost muscle repair and recovery. Plus, when included as part of a low-calorie, high-protein diet, whey may also aid with weight loss. Gold Standard Whey protein powder, marketed by Optimum Nutrition, is a popular brand sold on many reputable websites.
Whey Is Special
Whey protein is a derivative of milk — the liquid that's left over during the cheese-making process. Manufacturers purify and dehydrate this whey to create Gold Standard Whey protein powder. The product features whey protein isolates, the purest form of whey protein possible.
Not all protein sources are equal. For optimal muscle recovery and growth, choose one that has a complete array of the essential amino acids — those your body can't produce on its own. Whey is full of these EAAs and is rich in what is known as BCAAs, or branched-chain amino acids. The branched-chain amino acids of isoleucine, leucine and valine are particularly important to muscle metabolism and perceptions of soreness post-workout.
Notable Benefits of Whey
Research published in the_ Journal of Food Sciences_ in 2015 lauded the benefits of whey protein as opposed to many other forms of protein powder. The article noted that whey protein is one of the highest-quality proteins given its amino acid content. Plus, your body is able to digest this protein quickly, especially compared to other forms of protein, such as casein and soy.
Much research supports whey protein's beneficial effects on muscle growth and exercise. The publication Nutrients published a study in 2017 showing that supplementation with whey protein following exercise enhances muscle growth comprehensively across your body, not just in worked muscles, and may improve short-term recovery from strenuous resistance exercise.
A practical example of whey protein's effectiveness shows up in another study published in a 2018 issue of Nutrients. Researches tested the effects of whey supplementation on the body composition and physical performances of soldiers entering Army Initial Entry Training.
After twice daily supplementation with whey protein (totaling 77 grams in both doses) for eight weeks, the push-up performance of the soldiers greatly improved and they experienced notable reductions in fat mass compared to those who took a carbohydrate-only supplement.
As a quality product, Gold Standard Whey may help you achieve the same benefits if consumed regularly in conjunction with resistance training.
Whey Protein and Weight Loss
Whey protein can help with weight loss, too. Having a serving of Gold Standard Whey protein in water on your way out the door in the morning for a low-calorie breakfast with a vast array of amino acids can help you preserve lean muscle mass.
High-protein foods are known to be satiating. Choosing protein powder to curb your appetite can help you eat fewer calories overall and lose weight. In 2018, the_ European Journal of Nutrition_ published a study showing that consuming whey protein after resistance exercise reduces subsequent energy intake. Basically, if you drink whey after a workout, it curbs your hunger so you eat less at later meals, possibly finding it easier to stick to a low-calorie weight-loss diet.
Whey protein is unlikely to make you gain weight unless you consume enough of it to exceed the number of calories you expend on most days. You can use it to help you gain muscle, but you need to consume a diet that has more calories than you burn. Add extra calories per day from quality foods (whey protein may be included) and work out zealously to put on muscle.
Whey Isn’t for Everyone
Gold Standard Whey is a natural food and contains no additives, but it should go without saying that if you're allergic to cow's milk, you shouldn't consume whey. Even though most adults and children tolerate whey quite well, consuming very high doses could result in problems. Gold Standard Whey protein side effects include digestive distress, bloating, reduced appetite, fatigue, headache and thirst.
You may want to avoid whey protein during pregnancy and breastfeeding simply because little research has been done about whey protein consumption by pregnant women.
Watch Your Nutrient Intake
One of the side effects of Gold Standard Whey protein could be a lack of attention to overall nutrition quality in your diet. As published in an issue of the_ Journal of Dietary Supplements_ in 2018, protein supplements are so commonplace that they tend to push out the benefits of whole foods. Because whey has purported health benefits, it and other processed protein options are being overused by adults and adolescents.
Protein supplements are processed and, as such, have had many associated nutrients stripped from them. Whey protein doesn't have the calcium or vitamin D, for example, that you'd find in whole milk. The researchers suggest you obtain protein from natural, whole food sources. Resort to protein supplementation with a product such as Gold Standard Whey only if you can't get enough protein in your normal diet. Most people, however, should have no problem getting this macronutrient from quality sources such as beef, chicken, fish, low-fat dairy and eggs.
Among the Best
In 2018, Consumer Reports published an article detailing investigations on more than 150 protein powders and drinks that were done by the Clean Label Project, a nonprofit focused on health and transparency in consumer product labeling. The organization assigned products a score based on four elements: presence of pesticides, contaminants like BPA, heavy metals and overall nutrition.
According to the Clean Label Project site, Gold Standard Whey gets five out of five stars. Flavors featured as top-rated include:
- Extreme Milk Chocolate
- Vanilla Ice Cream
- Cake Batter
- Banana Cream
In case you're wondering, the products that fared the worst in these ratings were plant-based protein powders.
- Journal of Food Science: "Supplemental Protein in Support of Muscle Mass and Health: Advantage Whey"
- Nutrients: "Whey Protein Supplementation Enhances Whole Body Protein Metabolism and Performance Recovery After Resistance Exercise: A Double-Blind Crossover Study"
- Nutrients: "Effect of Whey Protein Supplementation on Physical Performance and Body Composition in Army Initial Entry Training Soldiers"
- European Journal of Nutrition: "Whey Protein Consumption After Resistance Exercise Reduces Energy Intake at a Post-Exercise Meal"
- Journal of Dietary Supplements: "Protein Supplements: Pros and Cons"
- Consumer Reports: "Arsenic, Lead Found in Popular Protein Supplements"
- Clean Label Project: "Search Products"
- Nutrients: "Is Branched-Chain Amino Acids Supplementation an Efficient Nutritional Strategy to Alleviate Skeletal Muscle Damage? A Systematic Review"
- MedlinePlus: "Protein in Diet"
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "Healthy Weight Gain"