Our grandmothers really did know better than dumping down the drain the liquid byproduct left over from the cheese-making process. The traditional wisdom of using whey as a medicine dates back to 460 BC when Hippocrates realized that they had health benefits and prescribed it to people to boost their immune system.
Nowadays, whey protein, containing an incredible range of quickly absorbed essential amino acids, is one of the best-studied supplements in the world with proven benefits including muscle growth promotion and weight management, lowering of blood pressure and cholesterol levels, moderating blood sugar,enhancing the body’s antioxidant defenses, reducing inflammatory processes, and reducing liver fat.
Increased consumption of protein is a well-known weight loss strategy, as protein is by far the most filling macronutrient that aids appetite suppression and reduced calorie intake. However, not all proteins have the same effect. Whey protein has been shown to be particularly effective in fat burning and satiety. Studies have shown that replacing other sources of calories with whey protein, combined with weight lifting, can cause weight loss of about 3.5 kg while increasing lean muscle mass.
Whey protein was also found to be beneficial in promoting loss of liver fat. Fatty liver occurs when too much fat builds up in the liver. Obesity and excess belly fat are one of the factors that contribute to developing a fatty liver. Notably, a study in obese women has demonstrated that taking 60 grams of a whey protein supplement helped reduce liver fat by approximately 21% over four weeks. It also helped reduce blood triglycerides by approximately 15% and cholesterol by about 7%.
Moreover, a whey protein called alpha-lactalbumin has a large amount of tryptophan that is believed to increase the brain serotonin and to increase the ability of the person to handle stress. Research showed that people on an alpha-lactalbumin enriched whey diet had reduced cortisol levels and experienced less feeling of depression after the caused stress, probably through alterations in brain serotonin.
Although whey protein is considered to be safe, it is best, as with everything, not to go overboard with it, as it excessive consumption may lead to digestive problems, such as nausea, pain, bloating and diarrhea, as well as kidney and liver problems, especially if you already had experienced difficulties in the past.
So, as long as you are taking 1-2 scoops of whey protein supplement per day, you are safe and likely to experience multiple benefits, or you could also try it old-fashioned way following your grandma’s cheese-making recipe.