By Frank Shallenberger, MD
If you take whey protein powder to increase your muscle (lean body) mass, I have some news that may surprise you. Research shows that when it comes to lean body mass, most of the protein in whey powder is unusable by the body.
Whenever you consume any kind of protein, some of that protein is used by your body to build muscle, and some is turned into glucose to burn for energy. How much of it is used for muscle and how much is turned into glucose? Well, that depends on what kind of protein you’re taking.
Scientists have studied all the types of dietary protein and measured how much of the protein is utilized by the body to build muscle. And what they’ve found is that whey is one of the worst sources of protein.
I’ll tell you more about what the scientists found in a moment. I’ll also tell you why the only people who should take whey protein are bodybuilders with less than 5% body fat. But first, let me tell you about a friend of mine who found out the hard way that whey protein just doesn’t work.
My friend David Minkoff is a doctor. He’s also a “health nut.” He watches what he eats. And he used to eat lots of whey protein. He also exercised like a fiend.
But despite all the whey protein shakes and all the exercise, David found that he was losing muscle mass as he got older. Even worse, he started getting more injuries when he exercised.
One time, he pulled a hamstring muscle and could not get it to heal. He tried chiropractors, acupuncture, body work, and more. But nothing worked.
Then David came across an amazing breakthrough that changed his life forever. Within 4 weeks of using this breakthrough, he healed his hamstring injury completely. Even more amazing, he put on 12 pounds of lean body mass! And he did it without exercising more or changing anything else about his lifestyle!
Today, David is 71 years old and he’s in better shape than people 30 years younger. His muscles are strong. His abs are flat and hard. His body fat percentage is only 8%. And he competes in Ironman triathlons!
You’ve probably heard of the Ironman. It’s a race that consists of a 2-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle race, and a 26-mile marathon. And there is no break between the three parts of the race.
David has completed over two dozen triathlons. And if you go to his office, you’ll see a wall full of the trophies, medals, and ribbons he won from these competitions.
So what was this breakthrough that caused David to not only stop his muscle loss but actually reverse it? Well, it does have to do with protein.
But David didn’t get his amazing results by consuming more protein. In fact, he actually stopped drinking whey protein shakes. Instead, he got his incredible results by getting his body to make more protein!
Yes, David got his body to make more protein. And in a moment, I’m going to show you exactly how he did it. But first, let me tell you why protein is so important… and why you won’t get the protein you need from whey powder.
Proteins form your muscles, bones, skin, and hair. They form the connective tissue that holds you together. They even make up the “messengers” in your body… including your hormones, your immune cells, your enzymes, and your brain chemicals.
Think about what that means. If you don’t have enough proteins, you lose muscle mass. Your hair gets brittle and your skin sags. Your bones become weaker. Your immune system becomes sluggish.
But that’s not all. Your sex drive suffers. You become anxious or depressed. You become more likely to fall and suffer a hip fracture… and less likely to recover from one.
I’m sure you can see why proteins are so important ... and why not having enough can be bad for your health.
So where do all these important proteins come from? Most people think they come from the diet. But that’s not entirely accurate. The truth is that proteins are made by your body. But your diet is important, because it supplies amino acids, which are the building blocks that create proteins.