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Benefits and Side Effects of Whey Protein

Expertly reviewed by Chris Icamen · Dietetics and Nutrition

Written by Fred Layno · Updated Mar 08, 2022

    Benefits and Side Effects of Whey Protein

    Whey protein is a staple in sports nutrition. It contains branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which is a component that provides energy to people who exercise hard or for long periods of time. It also helps prevent mass loss in the body and muscles. In this article, we will learn about the benefits of whey protein as well as examine its potential side effects.

    Whey protein is popularly available in powder form. There are several types of protein powder, some of which are made from plants (soy, peas, rice, potatoes, or hemp), eggs, or milk (casein or whey protein). It can also contain sugar, artificial flavors, thickeners, vitamins, and minerals.

    The amount of protein per spoon ranges from 10 to 30 grams. The supplements used to build muscle contains a relatively large amount of protein, and the supplements used to lose weight are relatively few.

    Whey Protein and Amino Acids

    Whey protein is called a “complete protein”. It contains nine essential amino acids which help the body build muscle to create new immune cells.

    Your body makes a lot of amino acids, but it doesn’t make the essential amino acids. You need to get the essential amino acids through your diet, and using whey protein is one option.

    It is still important to consume a variety of protein sources, even the “incomplete” proteins. Most vegetable proteins like legumes and nuts do not have all of the essential amino acids but still possess many health benefits.

    Eating a variety of lean proteins will provide you with enough essential amino acids to meet your body’s needs.

    benefits of whey protein

    Benefits of Whey Protein

    There have been several studies on the use of whey protein for specific conditions and activities. Here are some of the findings. 

    • While some evidence suggests that taking whey protein as part of a strength training program increases muscle mass and strength, other studies have shown no benefit. 
    • Whey protein can accelerate muscle recovery after strenuous exercise. malnutrition. 
    • Whey protein helps people who are struggling to gain and maintain weight, such as the elderly and HIV/AIDS patients. 
    • Whey protein is good for people recovering from burns and people with chronic wounds.
    • Babies who take hydrolyzed whey protein have a lower risk of developing atopic dermatitis (eczema) than babies who use standard prescriptions. Feeding an infant formula containing whey hydrolyzate reduces the risk of allergic reactions. But it’s important to consult your child’s pediatrician before adding this to their diet.

    Is Whey Protein Right For Me? 

    While the many benefits of whey protein make it seem like the perfect supplement, there are still things you will need to know before using it.

    Here are some general guidelines to know whether whey protein is right for you:

    Muscle growth

    In building muscles, choose protein powders that have high biological value (a measure of how much protein your body can absorb and use). Whey protein and whey isolate are the best choices. 

    Weight Loss

    Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) promote muscle growth and weight gain, so whey proteins may not be right for you. Choose a brand with no sugar or dextrin/ maltodextrin (a sweetener made from starch). 

    Vegetarian or vegan diet

    If you are a vegetarian or vegan, do not choose a milk-based protein shake (whey, milk protein, etc.). Instead, use 100% vegetable protein such as soy, peas, and hemp. 


    Those with diabetes should choose a sugar-free protein shake (do not choose sugar-containing protein powder). It’s also best to look for a shake that is low in carbs (5-15 grams per serving). 

    Kidney disease problems

    People with kidney disease can’t tolerate excess proteins at once. Stick to powders with low protein content (10-15 grams per serving).

    Possible Side Effects

    Protein powder as a dietary supplement is generally safe to use. But with the many benefits of whey protein comes a few risks. 

    People with milk allergies or lactose intolerance can experience discomfort when using whey protein powder. 

    Whey protein also contains many additional sugars and calories, with some containing as high as 23 grams per tablespoon. This may cause weight gain and an unhealthy rise in blood sugar. 

    Learn more good nutrition tips here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Expertly reviewed by

    Chris Icamen

    Dietetics and Nutrition

    Written by Fred Layno · Updated Mar 08, 2022

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