This is a thorough review of the best whey protein powder for weight loss for women and men. Are you suffering from being overweight or obesity? Do you feel too much fatigue all the time and it´s too hard to lose weight for you? There is something that might help boost your metabolism, increase your feeling of fullness when you eat and, lose those extra-pounds by losing fat and gaining lean muscle tissue along with a reduced calorie healthy diet plus strength exercising.
According with evidence-based medicine whey protein is the best protein powder to lose weight in an efficient and healthy way for both women and men. Keep reading my review to better understand the benefits of whey protein powders daily supplements for your overall health.
- What is whey protein powder?
- What is the best whey protein powder?
- What are the benefits of whey protein powder for women and men?
- What are the adverse effects of whey protein powders?
- My final opinion
What is whey protein powder?
Whey is the liquid that forms during the process of cheese making or that liquid that you see on the top of your yogurt. Whey is a protein found in dairy products such as milk and cheese. Dairy products have two types of protein: whey and casein. For instance, human milk is 60% whey and 40% casein, while cow´s milk is 20% whey protein and 80 % casein protein.
Whey protein is a mixture of 65% beta-lactoglobulin, 25% alpha-lactalbumin, 8% bovine serum albumin and immunoglobulins. Whey protein contains 9 essential aminoacids that your body can´t produce by itself, you need to get them from the high quality proteins in your diet. One of the main aminoacids is leucine which is involved in making more efficient metabolism and forming lean muslce tissue specially in the acute recovery after strength exercises.
What is the best whey protein powder?
- Concentrates (WPC)
- Contain concentrates of whey protein that might vary from 30% to 90%. The rest is low levels of fat and carbohydrates (lactose).
- It contains higher amounts of lactose than the other types of whey protein so, if you are allergic or have lactose intolerance, you should avoid this supplement.
- Isolates (WPI)
- Contain at least 90% of whey protein. The whey protein has been processed and most of the fat and lactose has been removed so, it contains very little fat and lactose and it´s more or less pure protein.
- Hydrolysates (WPH)
- It´s a predigested form of whey protein through hydrolysis which makes it easier to digest and reduces allergies.
- It absorbs very quickly
- This is the one most frequently used for infant formulas because it has less risk of allergies.
- It is more expensive than the other types of whey protein although they are all pretty affordable.
What are the benefits of whey protein powder for women and men?
- Weight loss. There is one study that shows a significant weight loss in body fat and lean muscle preservation associated to drinking a whey protein powder shake and a 500 calorie reduced high protein diet with a low carbohydrate to protein ratio 1.5:1 1.5 gr proteins/Kg/day both for women and men.
- They lost an average of 6,1% fat mass in 12 weeks taking the whey protein powder shake 20 minutes before breakfast and 20 minutes before dinner and just reducing 500 calories from their daily high protein diet.
- The group that took the whey protein powder shake lost more body fat and had more lean muscle tissue preserved.
- Whey protein is rich in leucine which is an aminoacid that forms muscle.
- The whey protein high in the aminoacid leucine (50-75%) is of fast absorption and increases muscle growth making it an ideal supplement for weight loss.
- Leucine cannot be produced by the body so, the only way to obtain it is through high quality proteins like whey protein.
- Leucine makes the sugar go into the muscle instead of going to the fat cells. At the same time, it makes the fat storage in the body useful for energy through lipolisis.
- Leucine helps to lose weight through a decrease in fat storage, gaining more energy and producing more satiety for a longer period.
- Gain lean muscle. There is one study that shows that men who took whey protein supplements during resistance training had more gain in lean body muscle mass and strength and a decrease in fat mass. There is a meta-analysis study that shows how whey protein increases acute recovery of muscle function following resistance training.
- Lowers hiperinsulinemia. The result is less lipogenesis (fat storage)
- When you eat too much sugar and carbohydrates (bread, potatoes, cookies, cakes, muffins, sugary or honey cereals), the insulin increases.
- Insulin storages fat in your body specially in your belly.
- People who are overweight and obese tend to have higher insulin levels which makes them storage more fat.
- When you have hiperinsuinemia, another hormone, serotonin, goes down, which produces cravings or anxiety for eating carbohydrates specially during the evening hours.
- There is evidence-based medicine that shows that whey protein reduces insulin and increases leucine. The result is an increase in the basal metabolic rate (faster metabolism) which makes you more efficient to transform the food you eat into energy instead of accumulating fat. There is a study that shows the importance of leucine in weight loss and glucose balance.
- People with insulin resistance and diabetes feel very fatigued frequently because they have high insulin levels and low leucine which makes them have a slow metabolism so, the food they eat mostly goes to fat storage instead of going to the muscles for energy. They have lower receptors of insulin in the muscles and become insulin resistant so, even if they eat more, they are not going to get all the sugar they need to go into the muscle cells instead, it goes into the fat cells for more storage. The result is more weight gain and fatigue over time.
- There is a study made in overweight and obese women with polycistic syndrome where whey protein was associated with lower hiperinsulinemia, lower cortisol levels and an increase in grhrelin release.
- There is a study that shows that whey protein lowers fasting lipids and insulin levels in overweight and obese men and women.
- Increases glucagon. The result is the elimination of fat storage through lipolisis.
- Lowers cortisol. The result is lean muscle preservation, a decrease in cravings for sweets, a decrease in the abdominal fat storage and you can sleep better.
- Decreases ghrelin. The result is satiety enhancement. (Ghrelin makes us hungry). There is a study that shows that whey protein powder supplements enhance satiety and fullness in overweight and obese both men and women.
- Decreases leptin. The result is satiety enhancement. Whey protein keeps you feeling full for a longer period.
- Increases serotonin. Whey protein is rich in tryptophan which increases serotonin, as a consequence, it improves mental performance and reduces the anxiety and depression that usually follows very restrictive and hipocaloric diets that, tend to lower the serotonin levels. Also, with more serotonin levels you will sleep better.
- There is a study that shows that whey protein rich in alpha-lactalbumin increases tryptophan and improves cognitive performance in stressed man and women.
- Lowers blood pressure. One study shows that whey protein reduces blood pressure in young adults both men and women. Whey protein inhibits the angiotensin convertin enzyme which results in lower blood pressure. In people with normal blood pressure, it had no change. Therefore, it´s a dietary supplement recommendable for pre-hypertension and stage 1 hypertension.
- Lowers lipids and insulin levels. There is a study that shows that whey protein reduces total cholesterol levels, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and insulin in overweight and obese man and women.
- Increases growth hormone. As a consequece, you will burn more fat during exercise and while you sleep. It also decreases the effects of aging. There is a study that shows that taking a carbohydrate with added whey protein isolate during post workout recovery from 90 minutes of treadmill running increases the growth hormone response.
- Increases bone health. Whey protein stimulates the proliferation and differentiation of osteoblastic cells. The result is stronger bones and reduced risk of fractures.
- Increases calcium. The result is an increase in lipolisis, in other words, more fat loss from adyposite fat tissue and stronger bones. There is a study that shows that increasing dietary calcium in obese women and men, increases lipid metabolism and results in loss of body fat.
- Anti-cancer. There is a study that shows how whey protein supplementation improves nutrition, gluthatione levels, inflammation markers and immunity in cancer patients for both men and women who received intravenous chemotherapy. Whey protein supplementation significantly increased gluthatione, albumin and inmmunoglobulin G.
- Immune defense. There are some studies where whey protein might be associated to an increase immune defense specially in asthma patients and Helicobacter pylori infections. There is one study that shows that whey protein enhances immunity by increasing natural killers (NK) cells activity for both men and women.
What are the adverse effects of whey protein powders?
- Allergy. Although severe allergic reactions are very rare, people who are allergic to milk or suffer from lactose intolerance might also be allergic or intolerant to whey protein for the little amount of lactose that some types of whey protein powders might still have.
- Gastrointestinal symptoms: abdominal pain, nausea, reduced appetite.
- It´s not approriate for vegans since it´s made from milk or cheese.
My final opinion
There is enough evidence-based medicine that shows the benefits of whey protein for both men and women. Whey protein reduces hunger, increases fat loss and preserves lean muscle mass which results in more body and bone strength and, an increase in the basal metabolic rate which means that you burn more calories during exercise and while you are at rest and sleeping as well.
When whey protein is taken along with a reduced caloric diet and strength exercises, the result is more gain in lean muscle mass and fat loss. It is highly recommendable for both women and men who want to lose weight by losing fat and gaining muscle tissue. It´s a great choice for post-workout nutrition because it is absorbed quickly to repair muscle fast.
The best results for losing weight have been seeing eating a reduced caloric high protein diet in combination with strength exercises and, two shakes of whey protein powder beverages 20 minutes before breakfast and dinner meals (20 grs of whey protein at a time).
Also, it is a top choice for people who suffer from insulin resistance and diabetes because it lowers insulin and cortisol levels, helps maintain better levels of blood sugar and increases basal metabolic rate, making the food intake energy used more efficiently by the muscles and losing fat resulting in more energy.
All the benefits for losing weight and, the overall health benefits associated with the daily intake of whey protein powder described above, makes it the best protein powder for losing weight for women and men in general. However, you have to decide if it is the best protein powder for you based on your health conditions, likes and dislikes.
If you would like to know more about a healthy diet plan to lose weight that can be sustainable over time, read my review about the Mayo Clinic Diet. You can also read my article about how is the fastest way to lose weight and keep it off forever here. If you would like to better understand why people get overweight and obesity, read my post here.
There is an online summit about female hormones where you can find out more information about why some women might feel tired or fatigued all the time, why some women gain weight and look chubby even if they don´t eat that much and, you can learn all about female hormones and how to fix them. For more information, read my review about the Fix for Female Hormones Summit here.
What do you think of whey protein powders? Do you have any favorites? If you have any comments, please, leave them below.
Dr. Verónica Giannoni