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Whey protein: The forgotten secret weapon of the fitness industry

Morgan Kliebenstein for Progressive Dairyman Published on 15 May 2018
protein shake

We all love to answer the question, “What are your favorite dairy products?” Your eyes glaze over and your mind instantly shifts to heaping bowls of ice cream, the cheese board at your cousin’s wedding last year or the doctored-up bowl of yogurt you annihilated for breakfast this morning.

It’s true; those are all amazingly delicious dairy products. Today, however, let me draw some deserving attention to the unsung hero of our dairy product lineup – whey protein.

In and of itself, whey protein can come across as a pretty unexciting product. It’s the “plain spaghetti” of our diverse product portfolio. But did you know that there’s an industry out there that gets incredibly stoked about whey protein? A group of people who would go so far as to call it their secret weapon? The fitness industry has come a long way since the days of drinking raw eggs Rocky style or “bulking up” on enormous doses of creatine. Nowadays, those who are serious about their fitness are consuming whey protein-packed shakes before and after their workouts.

Why wouldn’t they? Whey protein is an excellent source of high-quality protein. Packed with all the essential amino acids, whey protein is also more readily digested and absorbed compared with other protein sources. Some research also suggests that whey protein may help lower blood pressure, enhance the body’s antioxidant defenses, reduce inflammation and treat type 2 diabetes.

Everywhere you look on social media, there’s a different brand of protein bar or protein shake claiming to be the best one. The main ingredient in all of them (except for the gross vegan ones) is whey protein. Low in calories, carbohydrates and sugars, whey protein isolate is protein in one of its purest forms and is considered the “gold standard” of whey proteins.

Science has finally arrived at the understanding that one must build muscle to burn fat and lose weight (in addition to creating a calorie deficit). We therefore have to feed that muscle with protein. These whey protein products are key players in that aspect. Additionally, consuming whey protein promotes the feeling of satiety and can help keep overeating in check when trying to cut calories to aid in weight loss.

On a personal level, I use whey protein daily. I started on a new fitness journey over a year ago, and in that process, I’ve gained a huge appreciation for whey protein as a supplement. I love to remind my followers on social media that the protein shakes they’re chugging and the protein bars they’re munching wouldn’t be possible without farmers. It’s a connection that I have yet to see be made between the two worlds. I would love to see our industry take advantage of the level of excitement there is about whey protein in the fitness industry and continue to build that connection to celebrate the secret weapon known as whey protein.  end mark

Morgan Kliebenstein
  • Morgan Kliebenstein

  • Dairy Producer
  • Darlington, Wisconsin
  • Email Morgan Kliebenstein

PHOTO: Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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