I find it mildly frustrating whenever I get emails from women asking me if I’m 100% sure that Whey protein won’t make them “huge.” I’m not frustrated at the women asking, no; I’m frustrated that this issue has not been addressed loud enough so that women everywhere can finally stop worrying about it. In a nutshell, No, Whey won’t make you huge. Yes, it’s okay for you to take it. No, you won’t bulk up like a man if you drink it (especially not after one or two days of taking it). Yes, you need it. Maybe it’ll help if we break it down with a little background on what Whey actually is and how it benefits us.
What is Whey?
Whey is a byproduct of cheese. There’s the curd, and there’s the Whey. One of my favourite ways to explain whey is to remind people of the children’s rhyme “Little Miss Muffet.” Remember how she “sat on her tuffet, eating her curds and whey,” ? About 20% of the protein found in cow’s milk is whey (and curds are casein–a slow digesting protein as opposed to whey’s fast-digesting properties).
What are the Benefits to Taking Whey?
Taking whey protein supplements can help you consume the protein you need in order to gain muscle. Your body needs a careful balance of muscle protein synthesis (MPS) and muscle protein breakdown. Consuming proteins and amino acids through eating and supplementation will help stimulate MPS while on the other end of the spectrum, fasting will lead to a higher rate of muscle breakdown.
There’s also skeletal muscle protein and its breakdown to think about. When we exercise, muscle protein is broken down and so in order to prevent this, one needs to consume more protein to keep a positive protein balance. Consuming whey protein (around 20-40 grams per serving) is helpful in maximising stimulation of MPS especially since whey is a fast-digesting protein.
For individuals who strength train and lift weights, whey protein supplementation is even more helpful in replenishing protein to the body. While it’s good to have the right amount of protein in your diet, it takes about 2 to 3 hours for the protein in your food to be digested before it’s assimilated and used by the body. Whey protein, on the other hand, can go straight to where it’s needed as soon as you consume it.
“Protein Won’t Make You Big, Cupcakes Make You Big.”
Women simply do not naturally have enough testosterone to grow bulky from taking whey protein alone, even when weightlifting. Even weight lifting itself is not going to make women grow massive biceps and thighs because our bodies have too much oestrogen to respond that way. For women to gain muscle mass, there are other kinds of supplements that can help with that.
The thing with Whey is that it contains leucine (an amino acid) which is necessary for muscle synthesis. Because whey is a fast-digesting protein, it can balance nitrogen and help repair muscles better than other kinds of proteins. It’s possible that the way whey aids muscle synthesis is where the urban legend of whey’s connection to muscle bulk started. Listen, whey protein is not some magical pixie dust you take to instantly grow muscles the way Popeye is “strong to the finish” because he eats his spinach.
Getting enough protein in your daily diet is essential and important to your everyday life. It’s needed in your daily muscle maintenance, tissue recovery and repair, as well as satiety. Your body needs it! Protein helps build muscle and maintaining muscle helps your metabolism stay efficient (the more muscle you have, the more fat you can burn), and reduces risk of injury and immobility which comes with age.
So ladies, if you want to achieve muscle tone and strength, get your Whey in and hit the iron! Don’t be scared!
You can check out Nutrition Depot for a wide selection of supplements including whey protein supplements. I personally use Venum Whey and am currently enjoying their new Matcha Green Tea flavoured whey. The only Green Tea flavoured Whey protein in the market. They deliver straight to your doorstep and can even provide product information to help you decide.
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