Whey protein is a powdered protein that is commonly mixed up in shakes and used as a supplement. Often, it is associated with bodybuilders. It can help to build lean muscle mass and decrease fat percentage in one’s body composition. However, it also has uses beyond bodybuilding and many women who are not interested in bulking up or getting big muscles are using it to shape up, tone up and get a balanced diet.
Should Women Consume Whey Protein?
The simple answer is yes. This easily digestible protein is synthesized by the body of active females very well and will help them to lose weight when used as a supplement after a workout. It is not something that is only for bodybuilders. Muscles need protein and when an active person gets enough protein they will be more successful in their athletic endeavors and in muscle recovery. There is no reason for active women to shy away from it.
What Forms Does it Come in?
Whey protein can be found in both powders and in bars. The powders are meant to be blended into shakes while the bars should be eaten “as-is.” There are some who prefer one over the other, but that is really a matter of opinion. The shakes may be less convenient for some while others may prefer them for their taste, texture or the fact they are a beverage rather than a food. It’s all a matter of preference and there is really no right or wrong answer as to which to choose.
Benefits of Whey Protein for Women
Whey protein can aid in weight loss and in fitness for women in a variety of ways. High protein diets tend to be more filling and help people eat less and feel fuller. The hunger pangs often associated with dieting or calorie counting may be greatly decreased if whey protein is added to a woman’s diet. It also aids in the recovery of muscles, so that women can continue to work out hard and strong without becoming too sore to continue. Women who consume whey protein are generally thinner and have better Body Mass Index numbers. This means that their body weight is composed of less fat and more muscle.
Risks of Whey Protein for Women
One should always speak to their doctor before beginning any exercise or diet regimen. Most of the time the greatest risks involved with whey protein are that the women who are supplementing with it may not eat a totally balanced diet. Whole foods are extremely important and women who do not consume enough of a variety of foods will not get all of their nutritional needs met. It is important to be sure that anyone using whey protein is only using it as a supplement and not as a main staple of their diet.
Too much whey protein can cause some pretty severe allergic reactions, as well, such as itchy skin or other skin issues or tongue, throat and mouth problems. The issues with the throat, mouth and tongue problems can even result in choking. Women with milk allergies are especially susceptible, but there are women with no known allergies who can have very severe reactions to too much of this protein.
There is also a risk of obesity if too much protein is consumed, but not enough exercise is done. Because the body can’t store protein, protein must be used or it will turn to fat. Therefore, if you eat a lot of whey protein bars or drink a lot of shakes with it but are not exercising an appropriate amount you may actually gain a large amount of weight. Be sure that if you begin taking protein in this manner that you are exercising enough to make the protein useful in your body and not a source of fat.
As mentioned before, whey protein can help women to lose weight and become fitter. However, it must be done the right way and with the right balance of other foods and beverages. There is nothing healthy about eating three or four whey protein bars a day but no “real” food. That is a very dangerous and unhealthy thing to do. If you wish to use whey protein for weight loss then look at it as a snack or supplement. It’s wonderful to drink a whey protein shake after a work-out as a snack, but a shake should not be breakfast, lunch and dinner. This can lead to osteoporosis, kidney problems and even heart disease. Be sure that if you do try out whey protein, you are aware of the need for a balanced life and balanced diet.
It also worth noting that you should probably be careful about which brands of whey protein you purchase as some have high levels of toxic metals. However, that is not the case for all manufacturers. It is important to do your research as the FDA does not monitor supplements in the ways that they do food and drugs. It is also important to mention that women who are pregnant or who plan to become pregnant should be aware of the risks associated with taking untested supplement on an unborn baby.
How much Whey Protein Should a Woman Consume?
This depends on the amount of exercise that she is getting. For active women, the range is generally between 1 and 2 grams per day. If the woman is engaging in weight training then 1.6 to 2 grams is probably sufficient. If the woman is engaging in endurance exercise then 1 to 1.7 grams is probably about right. This is important because, as we discussed above, an excess of protein in the body can lead to many health issues and will not aid in weight loss. This all depends on the woman’s body type, metabolism and other characteristics that are unique for each person. It is very important that women are careful about how much whey protein they consume, so they do not become ill or inadvertently gain weight rather than lose it.