More people are ramping up their health and fitness while turning to supplements such as whey protein. On the Move More Podcast, Dr. Scott Jablonka, Carolina Movement Doc, breaks down his general understanding of the supplement. He pulls from his twelve years of experience in the fitness industry, including where and why the supplement is used, whether it’s essential for the body, and how to consume it in the right amounts.

We recommend you consult with a registered dietician to better discuss what’s right for your body.

You do not need supplements such as whey protein to be healthy. You can be a healthy individual with good diet practices and regular exercise. Whey protein can be a help to folks who participate in intense training exercises. It can help with performance and recovery. 

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What is whey protein?

Whey protein is one of the most researched supplements next to creatine. The research dates back to the 17th century in Italian literature.

Whey protein is a mixture of proteins isolated from whey (a by-product of cheese manufacture) and is a good source of the essential Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCCAs) required for the body. You might have seen athletes, sportspersons, or people who regularly hit the gym consume or advertise these on social media. It helps them perform well in their sport, aids their recovery, and maintains other important aspects of their body and nutrition, like weight and blood pressure. Often called the “fast protein”, people also consume it because it’s easily digestible and efficiently absorbed in the body.

Casein protein

Fun Fact: Casein protein is slower to digest and is known as “time-released” protein.

Both casein and whey are derived from milk, both are byproducts of cheese production. While Dr. Jablonka focuses on whey protein in this podcast, he has taken casein protein. Typically, he’ll take it at night since it is slower to digest.

What are the benefits of whey protein?

spilled whey protein shaped like a bicep muscle

The major benefits of whey protein include better, faster recovery, increased physical performance, and efficient weight management.

Whey protein for recovery

Whey protein is a good source of Branched Chain Amino Acids or BCAAs, the first amino acids used during resistance training for faster repairing and rebuilding of the lean muscle tissue. Since these can be metabolized directly into the muscle tissue, they are primarily used by heavy-weight lifters, football, and soccer players. Basically, anyone who engages in resistance training.

Whey protein for performance

These Branched Chain Amino Acids help provide energy sources during endurance training. When you’re performing grueling tasks, like extensive running, these can help you maintain your performance levels for more extended periods. It’s a good source of leucine, an essential amino acid that aids in muscle synthesis and growth and provides energy during exercise.

Whey protein for weight management

Woman drinking whey protein after intense workout

Weight is an essential factor, especially for athletes and sportspersons, as it plays a key role in how they perform. Individual weight requirements vary according to the sport. For instance, a runner might need to maintain less bodyweight but have a substantial lean muscle mass for stamina and performance. Combined with exercise, it is the best protein for fat loss and can help reduce energy-restricted diets. It results in less body fat loss, smaller waist circumference, and can help control appetite and hunger.

In addition, it helps control blood glucose levels, maintain good bone health, improve cognitive function and cardiovascular health, and boost immunity levels. Supplementing your daily nutrition with a little bit of whey protein can keep you more healthy (some studies even suggest it has anti-cancer properties).

In Dr. Jablonka’s opinion, as long as you take it correctly, the benefits of whey protein outweigh the risk. Reminder, you should speak to a healthcare professional to help you consider your own personal situation.

Research

Woman drinking protein powder

A 2012 study in the Journal of American College of Nutrition compared soy protein, carbohydrate, and whey protein for their impact on resistance training. They wanted to figure out which one was the most effective.

They found whey protein was more effective in promoting gains in lean muscle mass. Soy protein or carbohydrate did provide benefits; whey protein did more. It is superior to the others, especially in regards to resistance training.

Another study conducted by the University of Toronto examined the effects of whey protein ingestion and its effects on protein balance and recovery of exercise performance. It said the consumption of 25 grams (about a scoop) of whet protein following whole-body resistance training improved strength and peak and mean power output. A study conducted by the same university in 2017 showed it also improves acute recovery after strenuous exercise.

Dr. Jablonka’s experience

Dr. Jablonka consumes whey protein 30 minutes after a strenuous workout (ones which usually last above 7-10 minutes). It helps him recover faster for another training session and gets his body in tune with his fitness regime. Over the years, he’s felt its influence in helping his body rebuild muscles more powerfully.

Dr. Jablonka tried a fat loss program through Renaissance Periodization. It was a 12-week fat loss program, also referred to as a cut. He could have stopped at 8 weeks because it was so effective. The only difference to his regular routine was eating cleaner and using whey protein as a supplement. His training remained the same. He dropped almost 18 pounds in 8 weeks. Now, we cannot say it was specifically the whey protein that helped him drop the weight. It could have been attributed to the cleaner eating. But as Dr. Jablonka likes to say, why not both? He had a problem with hunger. He will eat unconsciously until it’s all gone. So he needed something to curb his appetite and the whey protein helped him dial in his weight management without affecting his performance and energy.

Whey protein brand recommendation

Dr. Jablonka can personally attest to The FNX and Ascent brand proteins. He has found them sugar-free, healthy, and effective.

Dr. Scott Jablonka

Dr. Scott Jablonka is the Founder of the Carolina Movement Doc, an educational platform for athletes, coaches, developing therapists, seasoned therapists and individuals looking to move often and move well.

Special announcement: I’m launching the Carolina Movement Performance Therapy services full-time in Charlotte, North Carolina. Grab your seat before the slots are filled!

Connect with Dr. Scott

Carolina Movement Doc

If you are in the Charlotte, NC area and want to improve your movement, come see Dr. Jablonka at the Carolina Movement Doc. Anyone else can reach him online. He loves discussing the science of pain and anything related to movement.

Want more movement tips from Dr. Scott Jablonka? Listen to older episodes of our Move More Podcast.