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Thursday Sports Nutrition Tip: The Right Whey


Are you an athlete that uses whey protein powder to add protein and nutrients to smoothies, yogurt, or other foods?  If not, are you interested in adding it to your diet?  It’s certainly not a bad choice.  In fact, it’s one of the only proteins that has research to back its ability to preserve lean muscle mass in people who are actively losing fat (typically, dieters lose both muscle and fat). 

In fact, since whey is a “fast-acting,” easy-to-digest, highly absorbable protein, it’s very useful to the athlete.  It can be used in pre-trainng, during-training, and recovery fuel (if used during training, keep your carb to protein ratio in any given food or drink at 4:1 or higher, carbs:protein).

Go to any vitamin store or health food store and you’ll see a whole aisle dedicated to whey protein.  How do you know which to choose?  Should you go for the cheapest, 5 gallon bulk drum of it?  Here are my criteria for a good quality whey protein powder:

UNDENATURED whey protein.  This means it was not pasteurized at the high heat, which renders many healthy components of cow’s milk useless, and denatures (chemically changes) the proteins.  Un-denatured proteins contain the natural forms of L-cystein, L-glutamate, and glycine that provide the raw materials for your cells to make glutathione.  If you haven’t heard of glutathione, it is simply one of the most powerful antioxidants our bodies can use.  It is responsible for detoxifying our cells and reducing oxidative stress and free radicals.  It increases the activity of other antioxidants in our bodies.  If the only type of whey protein you’re getting is pasteurized and denatured, you’re missing out on a huge benefit.

Protein from cows that have NOT been treated with hormones such as rBST or rBGH.  These hormones are used to increase the milk production of many cows in America, but are not allowed in Canada, Europe, and Australia.  Some claim that they are safe, primarily the manufacturer of the hormone and government, but many others believe they can increase estrogen in human bodies – not a good thing for fat loss or overall wellness.

Whey protein powder should have as few ingredients as possible.  My top pick is usually unflavored – no sweeteners, artificial or natural, and no extra ingredients.  If you want some flavor, look for Stevia, natural chocolate or vanilla, and minimal other ingredients.  There’s no point in putting harmful ingredients, colorings, and flavors into your body when you’re trying your hardest to keep it running clean and strong.

Some of my favorite brands include Natural Factor’s Whey Factors, Bluebonnet Whey Isolate, and Dr. Mercola’s Miracle Whey, – look for <100 calories, <3 grams of sugar, 15+ grams whey protein per scoop (approximately 20 grams or ¼ cup), undenatured, hormone-free.  Beware of whey protein powder drinks which are often loaded with sugar (it’s a much better idea to add it to a fresh smoothie or whole-food drink) and watch out for whey “candy bars.”

Whey protein can offer a lot of benefits if you’re choosey with your brands.  Like all nutrition decisions, stay away from a list of 20+ ingredients and chemical additives.  You usually get what you pay for.

Give your body what it needs everyday and during training with the right Foods, Drinks and Supplements.  If you would like my help with it, I offer comprehensive plans as Instant Downloads and as Custom Clients starting at just $20.  And, as a FuelRightBlog reader, get a further discount with coupon code:  password-frblog  username-reader.  I’d love to work with you!

 Fuel Your Adventure.  Nourish Your Body.



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