08 Oct Why Your Whey Protein is Sabotaging Your Fat Loss
Many people are clueing into the fact that you need more protein, especially if you want to build muscle and burn fat, and one of the most popular protein powders being used today is whey.
But what if I told you that whey is one of the worst protein sources when it comes to fat loss? In case you didn’t know, whey protein is from milk, virtually always cow’s milk and in fact, dairy is a fat loss disaster for a vast percentage of the population. You could be one of them!
Before I go into the reasons why, I want to share with you that I used to use whey protein myself for many years in my breakfast and sometimes for snacks, thinking I was doing myself a favour after discovering the benefits of removing lots of the “healthy whole grains” and adding more protein into my diet.
It wasn’t until I did a delayed food allergy (IgG) test that I realised I had food sensitivities to a number of foods that I had no idea about. They included prawns, tuna, oysters, string beans, corn, oats, pecan, radish, mushrooms,gluten and whole wheat. But why had I never realised that? Because like so many people, I wasn’t actually noticing any symptoms immediately after eating them, except for the radish which always caused reflux.
And the curious thing about that test is that whole cow’s milk which contains the proteins casein and whey gave a lower reaction than whey on its own. Clearly I have a higher reaction to whey protein than casein. But I’m not the only one who reacts to whey – it’s actually very common I’ve realised in the 10 years I’ve been in practice and the more I’ve learnt about food intolerances.
So why is whey such a problem?
Firstly anything that is triggering an immune reaction in your body, even if not life-threatening, is causing inappropriate inflammation to be taking place. Inflammation is a natural healing process but when it happens inappropriately in your brain, blood vessels, joints, gut and any other tissue, as it can when you eat foods your immune system is reacting to, your stress hormones will be high and this in turn will cause you to gain weight and struggle to lose it.
Simply put, inflammation causes weight gain and difficulty losing it.
You see, what you need to understand is that you have 70 -80% of your immune system in your gut wall and when it’s exposed to foods your body sees as foreign it triggers chemical messengers to be released into your blood stream that can travel to any part of your body. In fact, your brain is the most susceptible part and the damage is subtle and insidious, slowly happening like a smouldering fire!
Dairy causes insulin, your main fat-storing hormone to rise!
Another curious and not well understood thing that happens when you eat or drink dairy products is that it causes your insulin level to rise, without your blood sugar even going up significantly. The normal trigger for insulin to rise is eating foods that cause your blood sugar to rise out of its normal range but unsweetened dairy doesn’t actually contain a lot of sugar, unless you eat a load of it in one hit.
When insulin is high your fat cells are locked tight!
Scientists don’t yet fully understand exactly what’s triggering insulin to rise because there are a few other suspects besides whey in dairy too. Maybe you’ve heard me say it before but I’m going to keep saying it over and over till you get the message – whatever the cause, insulin is your main fat storing hormone and as long as it’s high, your fat cells are locked tight! You can exercise all you want and cut your calories all you want – If insulin is high your fats cells will not let go of stored fat and instead you’ll break down muscle to fuel your exercise and slow your metabolism right down!
Now just a quick word here in case you’re wondering how come body builders use whey and aren’t fat. Generally they use whey after a workout and one of insulin’s jobs is promoting protein synthesis which helps to build muscle. They’re also working out regularly and watching every minute thing they eat, so an occasional insulin spike for them is probably actually a good thing. But you’re not a body builder are you?
The message here of course is get off whey and dairy! If you want a quick, easy form of protein as a powder there are much better sources available and my favourite is organic pea protein. Not only is it least likely to cause an immune reaction and inflammation but it’s easily digestible, keeps you feeling fuller for hours and doesn’t negatively affect your blood sugar level or insulin.
Bulk Nutrients www.bulknutrients.com.au have a good organic pea protein isolate which is very affordable, though it is a little grittier than some others I’ve tried but when you mix it with other things like berries and nuts or in a smoothie it’s not so obvious and I got used to it quite quickly. Vital Protein is another smoother version but unfortunately is not organic.
Organic hemp protein powder may also be a good option but there hasn’t been much research done on it yet, so I can’t say with certainty.
If you’re vegan or vegetarian, a blend of pea and rice protein is a good choice for the amino acid profile. NutraOrganics Thriving Protein or NutraLife Whole Plus Organic are two good choices however the added rice protein does tend to make them grittier than some pea protein powders.
If you’ve been using whey and feeling frustrated with your lack of results make the switch and see how you go.