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RandomMrdan's avatar

Does adding Whey Protein to your diet actually help in muscle growth over just a traditional diet?

Asked by RandomMrdan (7367 points ) January 2nd, 2012

I’ve done enough reading about this online, and have seen enough before and after photos to realize, something must be working.

I have read enough to know Whey Protein, or Whey Protein Isolates are the fastest method of getting protein. Which leads me to believe it must be better than just a traditional diet by itself.

Traditional proteins from chicken and other food can take several hours to absorb completely into your muscles, whereas Whey Protein has much higher absorption rate. This is factual, and I’ve been able to find studies on this.

I’m hoping someone else can help me find a study proving through use of a placebo group vs a whey protein group, where there were not only noticeably better results (which I’ve found), but have numbers and figures (muscle mass index, weight gained, measurements, etc), which I have yet to find. The only studies I’ve found have just mentioned that the Whey group vs Placebo group (a Casein protein) showed that the Whey group showed greater gains, and were able to have more intense workouts, but didn’t give any measurable figures to show it.

I can’t seem to find anything to prove it? Can anyone lend some help and or personal experience?

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8 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I haven’t read up on the protein drinks, but I do know people who use them and seem to get good results for muscle building. With my basic knowledge of nutrition from college I would say both whey and casein are complete proteins, and so are meats like chicken, fish, beef, and other dairy products like milk and cheese. If I had to guess, people who use the protein drinks, take in much more protein than the average diet. For body building more protein will help build the muscle.

Casein also digests more slowly, so I guess whey might get to the muscle faster if you just worked out.

Having said all of that, I did not provide you with studies, but I have two warnings. Many of these products are very high in cholesterol, check the labels. If you don’t have a cholesterol problem, then it might not be a concern, but I know a lot of body builders that have their cholesterol very bad, very high numbers and horrible ratios. I would have yours checked to get an idea if it is something you should watch. I have seen whey powders vary from 15mg cholesterol per serving to 75mg, abig difference. The other warning is if you begin to have a lot of acne, it is probably from something associated with the body building.

RandomMrdan's avatar

@JLeslie Hey, thanks for your insight. I was told the Cholesterol was a bit high on the Whey Protein I use. It’s at 60mg. But, I chose it specifically because it has such an excellent taste (Cookies n Cream)! I mean, I really look forward to the shake honestly. And since Cholesterol isn’t a concern of mine, I didn’t mind so much. After a really intense workout, to the point of my muscles not even being able to push out weight anymore, I will use a drink called Isopure. Which has 40g of Protein Isolates (faster absorbing than just whey protein I’m told), and over 10,000BCAA for quick repair to muscle tissue. And they taste kind of like a jolly rancher, but just not quite as sweet.

JLeslie's avatar

@RandomMrdan I think eating well is always the better option than drinking something with lots of sugar or sugar substitutes, and doesn’t fill you like food, nor give you the natural vitamins good eating can. But, if you really want to bulk up (which personally I am not keen on) then the protein drinks and shakes seem to be effective. I have two girlfriends who compete in body building. One does it very regularly, and her doctor warns her all the time what she does is unhealthy. Another, she only competed once, so she generally does a modified work out routine for body building, not usually to an extreme, and I was talking to her trainer who is very serious about the body building and competing, and he had extremely bad cholesterol numbers, his bad cholesterol is super high, his doctor warns him every time he gets a check up. You say you aren’t worried about cholesterol, is that because your tests are nornal? Or, because you just choose not to worry about it?

When you

RandomMrdan's avatar

@JLeslie The cholesterol isn’t a huge concern for me. I actually have a pretty healthy diet, and heart disease isn’t something that runs in my family.

I usually will eat one meal a day with a high protein meat such as chicken or turkey breast, with a full serving of brown rice and vegetables. Usually a small breakfast, Cream of Wheat brown sugar is my favorite, sometimes with a small amount of fruit. And I will have usually two meals, one before and one after the bigger meal, consisting of either a Banana or Apple, along with a peanut butter and honey sandwich. If by chance I’ve forgotten to bring enough bread, I sometimes will supplement the sandwich with a Casein Shake which has only 10mg of cholesterol. Usually after my breakfast, I take my daily supplement vitamins, plus Fish oil to help fill in any gaps I might have.

I haven’t seeked any professional advice, but I feel as though I eat pretty healthy =).

RandomMrdan's avatar

Sorry, reading my last post, I realize that may be hard to get the details out of…So here it is in a typical order

Breakfast = Cream of Wheat (sometimes added fruit), and my vitamins
Smaller meal = Banana, Peanut butter and honey sandwich
Larger meal = Chicken or Turkey Breast, 1½ cup of vegetables (usually peas, or mixed veggies), and 1½ cup of Rice.
Smaller meal = same as above, unless I feel like skipping the sandwich, and an Apple instead of Banana.
And sometimes before bed I will have a Casein Shake.

That is pretty typical, and on days that I workout, I might skip the second smaller meal entirely and simply replace it with the Whey Protein.

I weighted 155lbs before I started the Whey protein, and now I’m up to about 168lbs, sometimes I drop down to 165 though. And I’ve been using the Whey for about 2 months or so.

JLeslie's avatar

@RandomMrdan Do you eat eggs?

RandomMrdan's avatar

Very rarely if at all. I might on occasion eat out to Bob Evans, maybe 2–3 times a month, and I’ll have 2 eggs over easy with the meal.

JLeslie's avatar

@RandomMrdan I think eggs are sometimes where people trying to increase protein add huge amounts of cholesterol. One whole egg has about 200 mg, and most people have two or three at a time. One chicken breast has about 140 mg of cholesterol, a 12 oz sirloin steak has about 180mg just to compare.

Your diet does sound healthy, but it’s always good to check cholesterol every once in a while to know where you are at since there are no signs of high cholesterol unless it is extremely extremely high.

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