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Protein Powder Explained

What is whey protein?

Whey protein is a high quality protein powder extracted from cow's milk.

Milk has two proteins: Casein (approximately 80%) and Whey Protein (approximately 20%). Whey protein is more soluble than casein and also has a higher quality rating. It is often referred to as the "Gold Standard" of protein as it is the most nutritious protein available.

Whey protein is not something new and has been available for hundreds of years to individuals who valued the role of a nutritious diet in achieving optimal health. During the last 15-20 years however, the value of whey protein has become more widely known, especially in the area of sports nutrition and weight management.

More recently, whey protein has been singled out as a super-star ingredient among products formulated for muscle and strength gains, weight loss, infant nutrition and immune support.

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What are the benefits of consuming whey protein?

To learn more about whey protein and how it contributes to good health please select your specific area of interest.

Physical Performance

Whey protein has long been considered the "Gold Standard" of protein for serious athletes and bodybuilders who work hard to develop and sustain a lean, strong and well-defined physique. Now this isn't just some gym myth, research studies support this belief concretely.

Athletes and bodybuilders need more protein in their diet, often as much as twice the recommended daily allowance. The protein they choose makes a difference and here are several reasons why whey protein is a preferred choice for athletes of all types.

  1. Whey protein is a naturally complete protein, meaning that it contains all of the essential amino acids required in the daily diet. It has the ideal combination of amino acids to help build and repair muscle, improve body composition and enhance athletic performance.
  2. Whey protein is a rich source of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), containing the highest known levels of any natural food source. BCAAs are important since unlike the other essential amino acids, they are metabolized directly into muscle tissue and are the first ones used during periods of exercise and resistance training. Whey protein provides the body with BCAAs to replenish depleted levels and start repairing and rebuilding lean muscle tissue.
  3. Whey protein is an excellent source of the essential amino acid leucine. Leucine is important as it plays a key role in promoting muscle protein synthesis and muscle growth. Research has shown that individuals who exercise benefit from diets high in leucine and have more lean muscle tissue and less body fat compared to individuals whose diet contains lower levels of leucine. Whey protein has approximately 50% more leucine than soy protein isolate.
  4. Whey protein is a soluble, easy to digest protein and is efficiently absorbed into the body. It is often referred to as a "fast" protein for its ability to quickly provide nourishment to muscles.
  5. Whey protein helps maintain a healthy immune system by increasing the levels of glutathione in the body. Glutathione is an anti-oxidant required for a healthy immune system and exercise and resistance training may reduce glutathione levels. Whey protein helps keep athletes healthy and strong to perform their best.

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Weight Management

Studies show that achieving and maintaining a healthy weight can add years to your life and help prevent weight related complications, including diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

Diet plays a key role in any weight management program and adding whey protein often helps make a positive difference, here are some of the reasons why.

  1. The body requires more energy to digest protein than other foods (thermic effect) and as a result you burn more calories after a protein meal.
  2. Whey protein in its pure form (like our Pure Nutrition WPC & WPI) contain little fat, and carbohydrates. It is a perfect complement to any low carbohydrate or low glycemic index diet plan.
  3. Protein helps to stabilize blood glucose levels by slowing the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream. This in turn reduces hunger by lowering insulin levels and making it easier for the body to burn fat.
  4. Whey protein contains bioactive components that help stimulate the release of two appetite-suppressing hormones: cholecystokinin (CCK) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). Adding whey protein to a mid-day snack or beverage provides healthy energy and may help control food intake at the next meal.
  5. Recent studies have highlighted the role of the essential amino acid leucine in improving body composition. High quality whey protein is rich in leucine to help preserve lean muscle tissue while promoting fat loss. Whey protein contains more leucine than milk protein, egg protein and soy protein.

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Cardiovascular Health

Cardiovascular disease is the term used for heart, stroke and blood vessel diseases. It is the leading cause of death in Australia, accounting for 34% of all deaths in Australia in 2006 according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Cardiovascular disease kills one Australian nearly every 10 minutes. With the average life expectancy rising each year, it becomes increasingly important to adopt a nutritious diet and regular exercise program to help maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. Whey protein can easily become part of that nutritious diet.

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Type 2 diabetes is a growing health problem, largely in part due to the continued rise in obesity. It is not unique to adults and is becoming more of a concern for children and teenagers.

The good news is that healthy nutrition practices have been shown to play a role in helping to manage, and possibly prevent, the onset of type-2 diabetes.

Whey protein, a high quality, high biological value protein, is a good choice for diabetics who need to carefully manage food intake. Whey protein provides more value than equal amounts of lower quality proteins that are often higher in fat and cholesterol. In addition, whey protein helps control blood glucose levels and has been shown to be beneficial for weight management, both of which are often a concern for type-2 diabetics.

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Healthy Aging

As we age, muscle loss and its negative health implications is a growing concern, both in terms of volume and medical costs. Good nutrition and adequate amounts of high quality whey protein may help maintain strong muscles during aging, especially when combined with an exercise and resistance training program.

Another benefit of whey protein for seniors is the ability to help prevent bone loss. A recent study conducted at Boston University showed that elderly individuals who consumed low levels of protein had a significant loss of bone density four years after the start of the study, especially in the hip and spine areas. A nutritious diet including whey protein may help keep bones and muscles healthy and strong.

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Infant Nutrition

Whey protein contains many of the same components found in human breast milk and for this reason, is a key ingredient in a wide variety of infant formulas, including those for premature infants.

Certain types of whey protein based infant formulas have also been shown to help reduce crying in colicky infants.

While breast-feeding is preferred, infant formulas containing whey protein are the next best thing when breast-feeding is not an option. In addition, whey protein is an excellent protein choice for the expectant mother who needs increased amounts of protein. Pregnancy can increase the body's protein needs by up to 33%.

Before making any changes to their diet or their babies, it is strongly recommended that mothers or expectant mothers consult with a physician to determine their own or babies unique protein needs.

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Wound Healing

When the body is working to heal wounds and surgical incisions it requires increased amounts of protein. Protein and its amino acids are the building blocks that initiate the growth of new skin during the healing process.

Inadequate amounts of protein or diets high in poor quality proteins, such as gelatin, may delay the healing process. Whey protein is a very high quality protein and is often the preferred choice for high protein products recommended by physicians following surgery or burn therapy.

Whey protein also contains components with protective anti-microbial properties, such as lactoferrin. In recent years companies have introduced mouthwashes and oral care products containing these protective whey protein components. The companies are taking advantage of the unique features of whey protein to create new products for diabetics and others sensitive to oral irritations. This area is expected to evolve in the future.

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Q: How are Pure Nutrition's protein powders different than other protein products on the market?

Purity and quality! Pure Nutrition's protein powders are the purest and highest quality protein powders available in Australia. Unlike many other protein products, our products do not contain any protein blends, which often include lesser quality proteins such as gelatin. In addition, they do not contain any sweeteners, sugars, preservatives, fillers, or artificial flavouring.

Apart from this, you get to choose what flavour your protein shake will be today, as all our products are unflavoured giving you maximum control and flexibility. Unflavoured also means you can add protein powder to many other foods, check out our recipes section for some great ideas.

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Q: What foods and beverages mix well with Pure Nutrition's protein powders?

They can be easily mixed into many of your favourite beverages and foods. Visit our recipes section for additional information on the many different ways in which Pure Nutrition protein powder can be added to your diet.

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Q: What is the best time to consume Pure Nutrition's protein powder?

Protein should form a part of all of your meals and it is very important to the function of your body and overall health. Further, if you are trying to gain muscle or improve strength the body will be unable to repair itself or grow without the necessary amounts of protein.

If in any particular meal you believe you are not getting enough protein, Pure Nutrition's protein powders can assist in improving this situation.

The recipes section contains some ways of adding protein to regular foods.

Another approach many people utilise to make a protein beverage or smoothie as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon energy snack to achieve their recommended daily protein requirements. See our protein information page for a rough guide of what your daily protein requirements are.

For those of you who exercise or train, recent research shows that it’s best to consume protein two hours before exercising and within two hours or less after exercising. This is the time when the body needs protein the most.

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Q: Why does Pure Nutrition's whey protein contain a small amount of soy lecithin?

Pure Nutrition's whey protein contains a very small amount of soy lecithin to help it dissolve more easily and completely in foods and beverages. Lecithin is a natural component found in a number of foods and is safe to consume.

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Q: Are Pure Nutrition's protein powders good for athletes and people who exercise?

Pure Nutrition's proteins powders are pure, high quality complete proteins with all the essential amino acids. Protein powders are very rich in the naturally occurring branched chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine and valine). These are very important for bodybuilders, active individuals, individuals who exercise regularly and professional athletes.

The body requires higher amounts of branched chain amino acids during and following exercise as they are taken up directly by the skeletal muscles instead of first being metabolised through the liver like other amino acids. Low BCAA levels contribute to fatigue and they should be replaced in one-hour or less following exercise or participation in a competitive event. Many athletes consume a protein beverage both before and immediately after exercise or an event to help repair and rebuild lean muscle tissue and prevent further fatigue.

Pure Nutrition protein powders also enhance the production of 'glutathione', one of the body’s natural antioxidants. During times of stress, including exercise, a decrease in 'glutathione' levels often occurs. Pure Nutrition protein powders help maintain adequate 'glutathione' levels to aid the immune system and increase muscle stamina.

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Q: Are Pure Nutrition's protein powders compatible with a low-carbohydrate diet?

Yes. Pure Nutrition's protein powders are not only compatible with low-carbohydrate diets, they are an ideal choice. The best choices would be either our Pure Nutrition Whey Protein Isolate or our Pure Nutrition Soy Protein Isolate products which provide high quality protein with minimal carbohydrates and fat.

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Q: Will Pure Nutrition's protein powders help me lose weight?

Adding either Pure Nutrition's Whey Protein Isolate or Soy Protein Isolate product(s) to your diet is a great way to jump-start a weight loss program.

Whey or Soy protein is a key ingredient in numerous weight loss and meal replacement products and with virtually no fat or carbohydrates are often the preferred choice. Studies have found that individuals who combine diets with leucine rich protein foods, like whey protein, and exercise have more lean muscle tissue and they lose more body fat. As they lose fat their metabolic rate increases and they naturally burn more calories each day.

Another way that Pure Nutrition's protein powders help manage weight is by promoting satiety, or a feeling of fullness. After consumption you don't feel like you need to be eating as frequently, this in turns reduces the number of calories which you consume each day.

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Q: I eat a lot of fish, chicken, eggs, soy or beef. Why do I still need Pure Nutrition protein powders?

If your achieving your required daily protein intake and are able to do so day in day out while maintaining adequate fat levels then you probably don't.

However, for most individuals this is not the case so their diet's benefit from including high quality, low fat sources of protein, like Pure Nutrition's protein powders. Calories do count and you want to make sure that you are getting the most benefit from the calories you consume.

Further, everyone has experienced moments where there isn't enough time to prepare a meal with the right amount of protein, the essential ingredients are not on hand or frozen. In times like these even for the most disciplined, what could be easier than making a Pure Nutrition protein shake to get your required protein content for that meal?

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Q: Are Pure Nutrition's protein powders easy to digest?

Pure Nutrition's protein powders are soluble, very easy to digest proteins. They quickly enter the body to provide the important essential amino acids needed to nourish muscles and other body tissues.

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Q: If I'm lactose intolerant should I avoid Pure Nutrition's protein powders?

Individuals who are lactose intolerant should select Pure Nutrition's Whey Protein Isolate which has less than 0.15 grams of lactose per tablespoon (20 grams). This is less lactose than the amount found in a cup of yoghurt and research has shown that most people with lactose intolerance have no trouble taking this very small amount of lactose.

If you can not consume ANY lactose at all, then Pure Nutrition's Soy Protein Isolate is better suited for you, as is contains no lactose at all.

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Q: Are Pure Nutrition's protein powders a good choice for vegetarians?

Yes, Pure Nutrition's protein powders are an excellent choice for vegetarians who include dairy products in their diet.

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Q: Are Pure Nutrition's protein powders a good choice for vegans?

Yes, Pure Nutrition's Soy Protein Isolate is an excellent choice for vegans, as it is a plant based protein.

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Q: Do Pure Nutrition's protein powders contain gluten or wheat protein?

Pure Nutrition's protein powders do not contain any gluten or wheat protein.

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Q: What are the side effects of taking Pure Nutrition's protein powders?

There are no documented side effects provided a person does not have an allergy to dairy or soy proteins, or does not need to restrict dairy or soy products for medical reasons. If you are allergic to dairy or soy proteins please consult with a physician prior to consuming any type of Pure Nutrition protein powder.

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Q: Can I prepare a Pure Nutrition protein beverage in the morning and then drink it throughout the day as needed?

Yes, as long as you make sure to keep the beverage refrigerated and that you consume it within 24 hours. You may notice some settling in the bottom of the container however this is very normal and does not affect the quality of the protein. All you need to do is re-mix the beverage with a spoon or shake the container right before you drink it.

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The information above is not medical advice, and it is advised that before you make any changes to your diet that you consult with a physician.

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