Many of us have heard of whey protein some of us may even consume it on a fairly regular basis for weight gain but what is it made out of and is it safe?

According to the Mayo clinic whey is actually a byproduct of cheese as it is being made and therefore belongs in the dairy family1.

Now if one is allergic to dairy using this could be more problematic than helpful. One of the other drawbacks mentioned is that it could potentially cause gastrointestinal discomfort1.

Often one will take a whey protein supplement to help them with weight gain and their exercise program however it seems the evidence is out whether or not it is actually beneficial as some evidence suggests it increases muscle mass and strength while other studies show no benefits1.

Whey protein might help speed muscle recovery after intense exercise but there are few studies focused on the beneficial effects of whey on aerobic exercise according to biochemical assessments2. One such study involved 12 elite runners all male and divided them into two groups randomly where some were given whey and the others given maltodextrin2. What the study concluded was the whey group showed better physiological adaptation after the marathon they had run compared to the maltodextrin group2.

Another study did a more long term assessment of 12 months where both diet and exercise were measured to see if health improved in hemodialysis patients3. The group was split into thirds were one was a control group, the second group used whey protein and the third exercised and used whey protein3. According to the results there were no significant differences noted between the three groups at all which is unfortunate and the authors suggest more lifestyle changes may help for these patients3.

References:

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-whey-protein/art-20363344 Opens in new window
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28824296 Opens in new window
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31200945 Opens in new window