(BeWellBuzz) Ever since you learned the reason for your friend’s bulkier biceps, you have started working out more often and have packed your kitchen cupboard with boxes of whey protein supplement. In your hurry to develop big muscles, you consistently take the supplement powder in amounts greater than recommended thinking if some amount of whey protein offers benefits, more whey protein would offer more benefits. After all, more of a good thing must be better, isn’t it?
Well… more is not good, and as a matter of fact, more whey protein can be harmful. While gulping excess amounts of whey protein is not likely to cause severe health concerns, it can certainly derail your fitness plans and cause discomforting side effects.
Whey Protein: What Is It & Its Uses
The protein present in whey or the watery material you get from the curd when you making cheese, is called whey protein. A highly digestible source of protein, whey protein is marketed as a dietary supplement.
Various health benefits are attributed to this dietary supplement. There is sufficient scientific evidence for some uses, while for many others the evidence is insufficient.
Whey protein can be effective for the following:
- Increase athletic performance. Clinical data has confirmed that combining this supplement with strength training improves athletic performance.
- Decrease weight loss in HIV patients.
Other benefits associated with whey protein, but the evidence is insufficient yet, include:
- An alternative to milk for individuals with an intolerance to lactose
- Beneficial for cancer patients. In rats, whey protein has demonstrated anti-cancer properties. Does it have the same effect in humans? The possibility has not been explored deep enough to say anything conclusively. Some people, however, have claimed that whey protein reduced their tumor size
- High cholesterol
- Asthma. In rats, whey protein has demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties. However, human data is lacking.
Whey Protein & Athletic Performance
Whey protein is mostly known and used for its ability to improve athletic performance. When taken correctly, it does the following:
- Increases lean muscle mass
- Increases metabolic rate
- Reduces post-workout muscle breakdown
- Decreases recovery times
- Improves muscle repair rate
Whey Protein Recommended Dosage
For people who workout, the recommended dosage ranges from one 8-ounce serving each day to two.
If you have a certain health condition and are taking whey protein, you should always consult with your doctor and follow their recommendation.
Unhealthy Effects of Too Much Whey Protein
If you regularly take whey protein in amounts greater than recommended, you are likely to experience the following side effects:
- Temporary flatulence, stomachache, and reduced appetite – Those who unnecessarily drink a 16-ounce whey protein shake are likely to experience stomachache and flatulence due to the sheer bulkiness of the shake. In addition, because of the greater dosage, you are likely to eat less during the meal following the consumption of whey protein.
- Weight gain – There are three types of whey protein: whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, and whey protein blend. Whey protein isolate is the purest form of whey protein and contains least amount of lactose and fat content. Whey protein concentrate, on the other hand, is the least pure among the three and has the highest fat and lactose content. If you use whey protein concentrate, your calorie intake increases substantially with each additional serving. This, in turn, can prevent you from losing weight, or worse, lead to weight gain.
- Increased bowel movement, nausea, cramps, and fatigue – These are some additional side effects known to occur due to an increased whey protein intake.
- Deficiencies – If you take more servings of whey protein than recommended, you would naturally eat less of other foods. Over a period, this eating pattern can lead to deficiencies in minerals and vitamins that are not present in whey protein. Even if you work around this by popping multivitamin tablets, you cannot prevent deficiencies in phytochemicals and other useful compounds that are present only in vegetables and fruits and which do not come in capsule form.
Whey protein is known to interact with many drugs. If you are taking any medication, consult your doctor before using it.
To sum it up, whey protein is a useful supplement to have when working out or suffering from certain health conditions. However, its usage must always be within the recommended range. When using whey protein, remember the two rules learned in kindergarten: too much of everything is bad and there is no exception to this rule.