Whey Protein & Women

Whey Protein and Women

By Julie Riggs, MEd, RD, LD

Supplementing your daily intake with whey protein is a natural and healthy way to add protein to anyone’s diet. Protein is a vital nutrient and is required by over half of the body for proper growth and maintenance. It builds and repairs cells, increases bone health, controls many of the important processes in the body related to metabolism, offers immune support, aids in weight management, and can be a source of energy in desperate times of need. It is made up of essential and non-essential amino acids, which are the building blocks for a healthy body. Whey protein is soluble, very easy to digest, and is one of the richest sources of protein available.

Commercial whey protein comes from cow’s milk. The whey itself is a by-product of making cheese, and is usually thrown away as a waste product after the cheese is processed. Scientists found that instead of wasting this rich source of protein, they could make high quality protein powder by adding a few more steps in the processing (cross-flow microfiltration). Hence, whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate were developed. These powdered forms of protein are proven to have the highest absorption (digestion) level in comparison to other protein sources such as meat, soy, and egg white. A product containing whey protein concentrate has anywhere between 29% and 89% protein depending upon the product. As the protein level in the concentrate decreases, the amount of fats and lactose usually increases. On the other hand, an isolate containing product would have the most pure and concentrated form of whey protein available. It contains 90% or more protein and very little (if any) fat and lactose. It is the preferred choice for infant formulas and for medical use when a person needs an easy to digest, pure form of protein.

What are some of the health benefits of whey protein for women?

1.Weight loss
You will find whey protein for women in many meal replacement and weight loss products. The isolate form is the preferred choice, since it is easy and quick to digest, and is extremely low in fat and lactose. When trying to lose weight, supplementing the diet with whey isolate protein and adding exercise proves to increase the metabolic rate of the dieter, causing them to naturally burning more calories each day. The whey protein not only helps its users to lose fat, it also promotes satiety, or a feeling of fullness.

2.Muscle Mass
Adding whey protein to an already healthy lifestyle promotes the gain of lean tissue and guarantees the adequate intake of high quality protein. Many women do not ingest adequate amounts of protein. Some choose a vegetarian lifestyle, while others simply do not eat large enough portions of protein. Muscle cannot be manufactured without the tools to build it. By taking a whey protein supplement, lean tissue can be built, as needed, without sacrificing other resources in the body. This also will reduce muscle damage to existing muscle. You may ask, will extra protein bulk me up? Isn’t that what men take for bodybuilding? I’m not a bodybuilder, and don’t want to look like one! The answer is NO. Taking a protein supplement will not bulk up a woman. Women lack the hormones that men have that allow them to get those large bulky muscles. A woman usually gets an overall toned appearance, and may lose belly fat in the process. A win-win, and a great tasting protein supplement too!

3.Healthy Aging
As we age, muscle loss and its negative health implications is a growing concern. Insurance rates are higher due to more claims from injury and broken bones, and medical costs are up from much of the same. Good nutrition and adequate amounts of high quality whey protein for women may help maintain strong muscles and bones during aging, especially when combined with an exercise and resistance training program. The lack of adequate protein intake as we age, can actually encourage the loss of bone density, especially in the hip and spine areas.

4.Wound Healing
Not to say women have more reason to need surgery than men, but we do deliver babies by caesarian section sometimes, causing incisions, and the need for wound healing. We also experience other reproductive problems that may result in surgery or the like. Regardless, without the intake of adequate amounts of high quality whey protein (and its amino acid building blocks) for repair and the manufacture of new skin and tissue, our bodies could not (and would not) be the same. Actually, when there are inadequate amounts of quality, available protein there is delay the healing process.

Whey protein has many health benefits including immune support, bone health, weight management, metabolism boost, fat loss, and lean tissue growth. All of which affect the body in different ways, yet each having its unique benefit. Using a high quality whey protein supplement along with a healthy lifestyle can, and will, strengthen the bodies defenses and physically make you a stronger person; therefore increasing your chances for a longer, happier, healthier lifetime.

Julie Riggs

Julie Riggs Med. RD LD
Registered and Licensed Dietician


Julie Riggs has been teaching fitness and nutrition skills to every population, from NFL players to the elderly, pre and post-natal moms to professional bodybuilders for her entire career. As a writer and consultant for www.i-supplements.com and as a registered dietician, personal trainer, and mom of three Julie brings real life perspective to the every day person's fitness and nutritional concerns.

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