For many people, whey protein isolate is very directly connected with bulking up. The truth, though, is that this common supplement could be a powerful for you as you try to lose weight, as well.
Let's take a closer look at the science regarding exactly what whey protein can do for you and how it can help you shed pounds.
More Muscle Burns More Calories
Now, if you are among those who associate whey protein powder with muscle mass, you are correct – partially. Protein, in general, is absolutely necessary for the maintenance and creation of muscle fibers.
Whey, as a high-quality protein source, has been shown to directly contribute to muscle protein synthesis – which means that your body can readily rebuild and strengthen the muscle fibers that were stimulated during your last workout. And this is exactly why whey protein can help you lose weight.
Muscle, even when you're at rest, is constantly burning calories. Each pound of muscle you have eats up about 6-10 calories each day just to function.
Requirements skyrocket when you workout and challenge those muscles. A pound of fat, by contrast, only burns about 2-4 calories each day. So, the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn on a daily basis.
But what about bulking? Building huge, hulking muscles does not happen overnight or by accident. It takes years of specialized training and dieting for bodybuilders and other athletes to achieve those highly visible results.
Less In, More Out
But whey protein isolate – and other forms – can help you drop pound in other ways, as well.
Protein, structurally speaking, is fairly complex and takes some extra effort for your body to properly breakdown and use. This means that a high-protein meal elevates your metabolism.
Whey protein, then, will increase the amount of total calories your body burns for a brief period after you ingest it. Perhaps most interesting, though, is the impact that protein can have on your appetite.
One fascinating study put volunteers on a number of different diets, including a high-protein diet. While they were following that particular protocol, the subjects were allowed to eat as much or as little as they wanted. Even with that extreme dietary freedom, the high-protein group much more weight than the other subjects.
Your appetite is controlled by the interaction of several different hormones, including insulin, ghrelin and leptin. Protein, this study concluded, raises leptin levels faster than other nutrients – thereby making you feel full even when you've actually eaten fewer calories.
And this is often why diets fail: people constantly feel hungry. A high-protein diet keeps you feeling satisfied while still eating enough calories to lose weight.
Whey protein provides a fast, easy way to keep your protein intake up without having to constantly be cooking chicken breast.