Whey Protein for Women

Whey protein is widely popular, and is an excellent addition to anyone’s fitness and health routine. When combined with a healthy lifestyle, adding whey protein to your daily routine can boost your workout results and help to build toned, lean muscle.

If you’re a female, you may be asking yourself “is whey protein is good for women?” Or is it meant mostly for men? Most women do not want to build bulky muscles. You may want to tone up, have a more lean appearance, or find the best protein powder for curves.

Not to worry! Whey protein powder for women does not make you bulky. That’s actually a myth. This is mainly because most women simply do not have the amount of testosterone needed to build big muscles. So, don’t be afraid to lift heavy and prioritize protein if your goal is to get stronger or more toned.

And if you do decide to strength train, whey protein powder for women is a great addition to your post workout refuel. The benefits of whey protein for females are numerous, and it is one of the most convenient protein sources.

Whey protein for women can be especially beneficial, as it provides a concentrated dose of amino acids (protein-building blocks) to help your muscles repair after an intense workout.

Below you will find out what whey protein powder is, why you should be using it, what you should use, and how much.

 

Is Whey Protein Good for Women?

 

Whey protein supplements typically come in a convenient powder form, and are derived from dairy products. They are created as a by-product of cheese production. Whey is most commonly present in two supplement forms –  whey protein concentrate or whey protein isolate, and can be easily mixed with water, your favorite healthy beverage, or into a shake.

If you’re wondering why you should consider whey protein for women, here are 6 key reasons to add whey protein to your daily diet:

  1. It helps control cravings. A hefty dose of protein will satiate your appetite and can also shut down cravings (1). Whey protein is one of the fastest-acting proteins, meaning it is digested rather quickly after consuming it. It can help satisfy your hunger very quickly, and also keep you full for long periods of time. Thanks to the whey protein, you will be able to avoid unwanted snacking or overeating.
  2. It increases your daily potential to burn calories. Did you know that your body continues burning calories for hours after an intense resistance training session (2)? So, although weight training itself doesn’t burn as many calories during the activity like cardio does, the after burn is much bigger. Add to that a bit of whey protein post-workout, and you get a visible boost to your metabolic rate, leading to more calories burned all day even while you’re sitting or resting. 
  3. Promotes weight loss. If weight loss is one of your goals, whey protein can help support your efforts. Due to the ability of whey protein to build lean muscle, speed up metabolism, and increase your feeling of fullness, it is one of the best foods to help you lose weight (2). Keep in mind that in order to lose weight, you still have to control your overall calorie intake, and just adding whey protein to your day will not result in miraculous weight loss.
  4. It boosts your mood. Exercise is already an excellent mood-booster, but whey protein doubles the effects. This may be because whey protein contains tryptophan, an amino acid your body uses to produce serotonin, otherwise known as the “happy hormone”. An increase in tryptophan has been seen to improve coping abilities and reduce stress (3).
  5. It builds more lean muscle. This is the primary reason most of us take protein powder, to reap more of the muscle building-benefits from our workouts (4). Whey protein contributes to the growth of new lean muscle fibers, and it gets to work right away thanks to its fast-acting nature. The more lean muscle you have, the more calories you can potentially burn throughout the day.
  6. Faster workout recovery. Whey protein not only builds muscle, it also speeds recovery of muscles after your workout (5). This means you will spend less time sore no matter how hard you push yourself, which allows you to do more without burning out.

As you can see, the benefits of whey protein for women are more than simply “getting ripped”. If you’re thinking how long until you see results with whey protein, you won’t have to wait very long.

You will be able to see visible improvements in your health and well-being within just a few weeks of taking whey protein supplements daily.

Whey Protein for Women

The Recommended Whey Protein for Women

 

The benefits of whey protein for females are unparalleled, but how do you choose the best whey protein powder for women?

Look at the shelf of your local supplement store, department store, or supermarket and you will find yourself confronted by dozens of different brands, flavors, and types of protein powders. It’s nearly impossible to choose one protein powder because you’re so concerned about looking for “the right one”.

So how do you determine which is the best whey protein for women?

When it comes to choosing a whey protein product, there is only one thing you need to concern yourself with: whey isolate versus whey concentrate.

Whey concentrate is typically the least expensive of the two forms of protein powder. It is not as processed as the isolate, which means it contains more fat and carbohydrates when compared to the isolate. This also means that the amount of protein per serving is less than an isolate.

Whey isolate is usually more expensive, because it goes through additional processing steps to extract a higher protein content.  It is frequently favored by the muscle-building folks that want to focus on building large amounts of muscle. However, the additional processing damages the fragile amino acids, destroying many of the immune-supporting proteins in the process. Therefore, its primary benefit is to build muscle.

On the other hand, a whey concentrate preserves a higher level of the critical amino acids and immunoglobulin proteins that boost your immune system and lessen muscle recovery time.

Even though whey protein concentrate contains less protein per serving, it has additional health benefits that make it a superior choice.

Therefore whey protein concentrate provides a better balance of nutrients for women looking to get in better shape and improve their health at the same time.

Here are a few other tips when looking for the best whey protein for women:

  • Choose a flavor. There are dozens of flavors to choose from, and you’ll find that each brand produces its own unique tastes. Some you may like and some you may not, but the nutrients remain the same.
  • Scope out the protein content. You’ll find most whey protein powders contain between 15 and 30 grams of protein per serving (generally higher for isolates as stated above). You can always use two scoops if needed to increase the protein content.
  • Look at other ingredients present. Besides just protein, you may find the powders contain ingredients like stevia, artificial sweeteners, natural flavorings, antioxidants, and so on. While some of these additives are not harmful, be sure to read the label before purchasing the product so you know exactly what is in it.

In the end, when choosing a protein powder the most important thing is whether the product is a concentrate or an isolate. Due to the immune-boosting nature of concentrate, it is one of the best choices.

 

What About Other Proteins?

 

Whey protein for women may be the most popular choice, but it’s not the only one when it comes to protein supplements. There are other protein powders to choose from, including:

  • Egg – Egg based protein powder supplements contain both slow- and fast-acting amino acids. They tend to be one of the most balanced proteins sources. However, it’s not as effective as whey protein and tends to be a bit pricier.
  • Casein – Casein protein is made from milk, but it’s composed of slow-acting amino acids. It’s better for use overnight, when your body has hours to make repairs to damaged and broken-down muscle fibers. However, the metabolic effects of whey protein far outweigh those of protein from a casein source.
  • Soy – Soy protein is a good vegetarian option, and it contains a full complement of muscle-building amino acids. However, whey protein will burn more fat than soy, and it is more easily bioavailable. This means that whey is more easily recognized and utilized by the body, so that you can reap the benefits from it.
  • Pea/Plant Proteins – These protein powders are usually made with a mixture of various legumes, grains, and plants. They tend to be effective and are a good option for people following a vegan diet.

In the end, whey protein powder for women is the superior choice. Whey protein concentrates have one of the highest biological values (a measure of your body’s ability to utilize a protein) of any protein which helps your body fully optimize the benefits of the protein, so your muscles are well-fueled and ready to work for you.

If you can tolerate milk products, you’ll find that taking whey protein delivers the best results in terms of appetite control, metabolism, muscle-building and shortening recovery time, as well as supporting the immune system.

 

 

 

References:

  1. Paddon-Jones D, Westman E, Mattes RD, Wolfe RR, Astrup A, Westerterp-Plantenga M. Protein, weight management, and satiety. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;87(5):1558S – 1561S. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/87/5/1558S/4650426?login=true
  2. Frestedt JL, Zenk JL, Kuskowski MA, Ward LS, Bastian ED. A whey-protein supplement increases fat loss and spares lean muscle in obese subjects: a randomized human clinical study. Nutr Metab . 2008;5:8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2289832/
  3. Markus CR, Olivier B, Panhuysen GE, et al. The bovine protein alpha-lactalbumin increases the plasma ratio of tryptophan to the other large neutral amino acids, and in vulnerable subjects raises brain serotonin activity, reduces cortisol concentration, and improves mood under stress. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;71(6):1536-1544. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10837296/
  4. Firk C, Markus CR. Mood and cortisol responses following tryptophan-rich hydrolyzed protein and acute stress in healthy subjects with high and low cognitive reactivity to depression. Clin Nutr. 2009 Jun;28(3):266-71. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2009.03.002. Epub 2009 Apr 3. PMID: 19345451. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19345451/
  5. Buckley JD, Thomson RL, Coates AM, Howe PRC, DeNichilo MO, Rowney MK. Supplementation with a whey protein hydrolysate enhances recovery of muscle force-generating capacity following eccentric exercise. J Sci Med Sport. 2010;13(1):178-181. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1440244008001187
  6. Buckley JD, Thomson RL, Coates AM, Howe PRC, DeNichilo MO, Rowney MK. Supplementation with a whey protein hydrolysate enhances recovery of muscle force-generating capacity following eccentric exercise. J Sci Med Sport. 2010;13(1):178-181. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1440244008001187

     

    Jaime Rangel, RD

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