So are protein powders really necessary? I’ve grappled with this question for a while, and after reviewing hundreds of sports nutrition food diaries, I have concluded that a large percentage of the athletes I have seen do not get enough protein for their activity level. Predominately post-recovery as protein in liquid form post-workout is extremely effective and efficient for amino acids, protein, and minerals uptake quickly to the muscles.
From my own experimenting as a former professional athlete, I have continually gone back to using cold-processed whey protein because I can physically see and feel the difference in my body. Moreover, while you can maintain and repair with proper protein from fish, meat, and eggs, my strong opinion is that grass-fed whey protein gives you a distinct advantage for recovery and results. It is not only lighter and ‘cleaner’ in the body but it is incredibly convenient for a quick breakfast or when you need something that digests quickly before your workout.
If you find it difficult and confusing to choose a whey protein powder don’t worry, you are not alone! Choosing a favorable protein powder these days requires the skill of a wine connoisseur. The taste, types of cows used, grass-fed vs. grain fed, heavy metal testing, artificial colors or sweeteners, cold processed vs. high heat, isolate, concentrate, hydrolyzed or ion exchange, etc. Namely, it has become a science of its own to determine the best whey protein product for you beyond just the mere amount of grams of protein. Sure, most protein supplements available claim to help your body, but very few have undergone the rigorous testing and published human trials that whey protein has accomplished over the years.
Cold processed whey appears to be the best protein powder for maintaining and encouraging lean muscle mass while detoxing the body and providing numerous other health and immune system benefits. If you were to check, a plethora of published scientific and medical articles attest to its remarkable credibility in the overall benefits to health and fitness. So if you are going to use protein supplementation for any reason, it makes sense to use a product that gives you the most benefits possible.
Heat treatment is commonly applied to milk during industrial processing in order to ensure the microbial safety of dairy products as well as to extend shelf life. However, whey protein denaturation is one of the main effects of milk heating which causes modification of the chemical and nutritional properties of milk, namely the amino acid cysteine. So what does this mean exactly? These denaturation and aggregation reactions are of considerable interest to dairy scientists because knowledge of them is essential for devising ways to manipulate the chemical and nutritional properties of dairy products. Largely, it is important to know that the cold-processed production does not denature or disrupt the important components of your nutrition.
It goes without saying that the immune system is incredibly complex, but a major cornerstone with cold processing relies on its ability to obtain important enzymes but especially an incredibly beneficial molecule called glutathione (see **Source). Glutathione exists in every cell of your body and is essential for life and critical for vibrant health; its your body's master antioxidant, its chief detoxification enzyme and is literally food for the immune system. This molecule is constantly being used up in dozens of your body's functions and is difficult to replace.
Besides its ability to raise glutathione and all the benefits that come with it, undenatured, cold-processed proteins have a very high BV (Biological Value). In a nutshell, this means the claims to actually provide your body with all the essential nutrients, thus benefits, is more accurate than most of the tainted protein found on the majority of most stores. The natural design and structure of undenatured whey protein specifies its intended biological function. However, the original structure is fragile and requires great care to preserve the integrity of its structure and biological function. Therefore, in order to achieve the full spectrum of nourishment and biological function intended by nature, whey protein should be consumed in its native, unaltered form via cold-processing.
**Source: There are upwards of 100,000 articles published on the topic of glutathione. The best compilation of these can be found on PubMed, a service of the NIH (USA National Institute of Health)
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