All About Protein – Part 2

By Serene Allison

Other Articles in the series: Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four

Read more on the Trim Healthy Mama (THM) Facebook page (Australia).

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This is part 2 in this series on the pros and cons of protein powders. Check out part 1 on our Face Book page, you wouldn’t want to miss the introduction to this series.

Today we are going to look at the many health benefits of whey protein. Tomorrow we will discuss which types of whey give us these benefits, and which do not. (There are some whey protein powders I cannot recommend and I’ll tell you why). We’ll also discuss which type of whey protein may be suitable even for people with dairy intolerances.


The metabolic pathway for the digestion of protein releases a hormone in your body called glucagon. This hormone is a fat stripper. It literally signals your body to break down your adipose fat tissue. This is why whey protein has been touted as a slimming aid. It amps up glucagon in your body.

Protein also slows the absorption of sugar from the blood stream and as you know this is also a weight loss plus and a large focus of our Trim Healthy Plan. The body actually burns more calories when digesting protein rich foods and your thermogenic temperature rises in the process. Put simply, that just means your metabolism fires up.


Yes, this can all happen by eating a protein rich hunk of meat (and you get to eat plenty of meat on our plan) but hunks of meat are not always a quick and easy option. Chugging a superfood smoothie enriched with whey protein is far easier during a “busy to do list day”. Whey protein can also be a lighter calorie option for a protein rich snack or dessert. We should not be afraid of calories but we don’t want to make every meal calorie heavy. We need those all-important caloric change ups and whey protein can help us do that. Whey also contains special goodies for your body that meat alone does not contain.


Aside from its weight loss merits, whey has many talents that can boost your health and strength. Now, you’ll find out how it supports muscle growth and recovery, immune function, energy levels, digestive health, mood and appetite reduction.

Whey protein is among nature’s richest source of growth-promoting branched chain amino acids such as lucine. It also contains important sulfur continuing amino acids needed for tissue repair and recovery. Beta- Lactoglobulin in whey increases our absorption of fat -soluble vitamins and prevents the breakdown of muscle tissue. Why is that so important? Because after the age of 20, without adequate protein intake and strength building exercise, the average person will lose ½ pound of muscle mass per year. That significantly adds up over time and contributes to insulin resistance, which leads to the common “middle aged spread.”

Whey protein also spares glycogen stores (the energy of your muscles) during exercise due to its high levels of Branch chain amino acids. These amino acids are essential in that they must be obtained from the body and are the ones needed by the body during exercise to produce energy. Low levels of these amino acids cause fatigue. Supplementing with whey is therefore a wonderful way to pep up.


Whey is very rich in Alpha-lactalbumin. This wonderful protein comprises over 30% of the protein fraction in human breast milk making it the most important protein fraction for a newborn baby. Alpha- lactalbumin has the highest bio-availability and has the greatest efficiency of any other protein fraction. Studies on alpha-lactalbumin indicate that it is one of the most effective forms of nutrition that fits the requirements for overall growth and development. It is absorbed easily by the body and provides an anabolic environment for strength and muscle growth.

Alpha-lactalbumin is nature’s highest source of an essential and often missing amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan is needed for the manufacture of our brain chemical serotonin. Proper serotonin levels help keep our appetites in check, regulate our sleep patterns and improve our mood – especially under stress. Serotonin is known as the happy hormone. Who doesn’t need more of that?

Have you heard of glutathione? It is our body’s most effective immune builder and antioxidant. It is in this power-packed alpha-lactalbumin that we find the treasure cysteine which is the direct precursor to glutathione. So when looking for a whey protein supplement, we must be diligent about searching for one that contains the highest levels of un- denatured alpha-lactalbumin to help support our immune systems.


There are still plenty more goodies in whey and we must mention the low-molecular-weight protein peptides Glycomacropeptides or GMP’s. These wonderful little peptides stimulate a hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK) that can control our hunger responses. CCK signals to the brain a sense of satiety. A rise in this hormone is always followed by a large reduction of food intake. And thankfully whey allows that to happen! Whey protein GMP’s are shown to elevate CCK production in human studies by 415% within only 20 minutes post ingestion. Awesome!


Also in whey’s list of talents is a very small protein called lactoferrin which has the ability to bind strongly with iron. This is important because free flowing iron in the body causes microbial growth and excess free-radicals. Excess free radicals lead to disease. Lactoferrin is an excellent anti-microbial scavenging agent. It also inhibits bacteria from attaching from the gut wall as well as showing ant-viral behavior

Lactoperoxidase is another protein fraction in whey that shows powerful microbial action but in a different way than lactoferrin. It destroys a wide range of microorganisms and viruses by stimulating a series of enzymatic reactions.

A properly prepared whey protein will also provide a balanced source of the electrolytes calcium, phosphorus and sodium that will support bone maintenance.

Which types of whey give us all this good stuff? Find out tomorrow!

Other Articles in the series: Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four

Read more on the Trim Healthy Mama (THM) Facebook page (Australia).


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