Monday, November 14, 2016

Whey Not?

We’ve all seen it before. In our local grocery store, supplement store, or even the convenient store down the street. An isle of eye-popping, flashy, enormous jars of whey protein powder. To many people, the gaudy, Arnold Schwarzenegger protein powders can be a turn off, however, I would urge people to give it a second look. After all, whey protein has tremendous benefits for are health plus it can easily be incorporate to every day living.

Before we dig any deeper in this article, I want to clarify that I won’t be discussing the details about certain ingredients in protein powders or what protein powders are better than others. That’s a whole topic in itself. Also, I want to point out that I’m not encouraging the replacement of food with any supplements (protein powders) but rather using whey protein in addition to food.

What exactly is whey? Great question. To put it simply, it comes from the dairy produced by cows. Special enzymes are added to milk to form curds during the cheese making process and what is left behind is liquid whey. The liquid whey is pasteurized, filtered and dried into a powder. This powder is a high quality protein source that is fast acting, easily digested and rapidly absorbed. Natural whey is said to have a neutral flavor but of course we’ve all seen the cinnamon bun or chicken and waffle flavored whey protein in the stores.

I know what you’re thinking, why the push for whey protein? I thought you’d never ask! According to multiple evidenced-based research studies, whey protein promotes satiety, maximizes muscle growth and recovery with resistance training, helps maintain a healthy weight and muscle mass as you age. A recent webinar sponsored by the National Dairy Council and U.S. Dairy Export Council now recommend a minimum of 1 gm of protein per day for healthy, active individuals (19-70 years old) versus the previous minimal intake of 0.8gm of protein per day (19-70 years old). Also keep in mind that a body of evidence supports that evenly distributing protein consumption throughout the day rather than consuming protein needs at one meal, can stimulate a greater 24-hour protein anabolic response.  Now that science has backed us up, let take a look at some ways we can easily incorporate whey protein into our every day lives.

Whey protein is such a versatile ingredient. While most of us think about adding whey to our smoothies, I encourage you to think outside the “scoop” (corny saying, I know).

Breakfast Ideas: Add a scoop – oatmeal, overnight oats, muffins, or pancakes, French toast (anything that needs baking), ice coffee.

Lunch & Dinner Ideas: Add a scoop – any sauce or veggie dip, pizza crust, mashed potatoes, or creamy soups.
For recipe details:

As always, thanks for reading!

Alli Bokenkotter, RD, LD