5 Hidden Benefits of Whey Protein



There is but one thing that comes to mind when I hear the words ‘whey protein.’ You are probably thinking of it right now; it’s a supplement for building muscle. However unknown to many, this is just the beginning of its benefits. Keep reading as we uncover 5 evidence-based benefits of whey protein that will make your next protein shake taste even healthier than the last.


1. A Potential Aid in Weight Loss

Out of the three macro-nutrients: protein, carbohydrate, and fat. It is a protein that has been proven to be the most effective at increasing satiety by reducing hunger cravings [1]. As whey is high in protein, it will often make you feel fuller. Interestingly enough, studies have also shown that depending on the type of protein consumed it can have a greater or lesser effect on satiety. In a comparison study, whey protein demonstrated a greater positive effect on satiety and fullness then both casein and soy [2][3].


Furthermore, whey protein boosts the body’s metabolism, reduces the soreness of muscle (DOMS) and hinders the cannibalism of muscle when losing weight [5][6][7]. In particular, a 12-week study was performed where participants reduced their calorie intake by 500. One group supplemented whey protein while the other supplemented an isocaloric mixed beverage. At the end of the 12 weeks. The group that consumed the whey protein demonstrated a greater loss in body fat and an increase of muscle mass preserved [8].


2. Whey Benefits Your Blood Fats

The World Heart Federation warns that high blood pressure (hypertension) and cholesterol are two risk factors that are commonly associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD). In particular, these two are classified as ‘modifiable risk factors’. As such, the associated risk can be reduced with proper  exercise and diet. Research suggests that certain peptides (lactokinins, alpha-lactalbumin, beta-lactoglobulin) found in whey protein can reduce blood pressure and bad cholesterol [9][10][11]. One study also demonstrated a 4% lower systolic blood pressure in the group of overweight individuals that had consumed the whey protein [12]. While more research is needed in this area. Whey protein can be beneficial for overweight individuals who already have high blood pressure [13][14].


3. Whey Improves Antioxidant Defenses

We receive oxidants from the foods we eat, the air we breathe and even from the chemical reactions in our body. Free radical oxidants are a type of oxidant that attacks the cells in our body. Without antioxidants there to protect us, these radicals can degrade, mutate and possibly create cancerous cells [15]. Antioxidants decrease the amount of oxidative stress that oxidants produce. Reducing the level of health risks associated with chronic diseases (including cancer). Glutathione is one of the most important antioxidants. Our body creates it from the amino acids in the foods we eat. One of the amino acids required to make glutathione is cysteine. Whey protein contains high amounts of cysteine; studies have linked its consumption to a reduction in oxidative stress and an increase in glutathione presence within the body [16][17][18].


4. Whey Reduces Both Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) & Inflammation

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a disorder that inflames the digestive tract for prolonged periods of time. Individuals that have IBD also have low levels of the antioxidant glutathione. Research has demonstrated whey proteins ability to reduce gut inflammation and overall damage to the intestine lining [19][20][21]. Furthermore, the lactose found in whey enhances the growth of good bacteria. Protecting the intestine lining by modulating an immune response, influencing metabolic activities and secreting an antimicrobial substance [22][23]. While relieving gastric inflammatory, whey protein has also shown promise in reducing general inflammation. As a result of monitoring blood concentration levels of the C-Reactive Protein (CRP), a known marker for inflammation. Scientists in one particular study were able to reduce the amount of CRP in the blood, demonstrating the usefulness of whey in reducing general inflammation [24].


5. Whey is Beneficial For Type-2 Diabetes

Type-2 Diabetes is the form of diabetes that comes about typically through an unhealthy lifestyle at some stage during life. It impairs insulin production, reducing not only the amount of circulating insulin in the body but also reducing its effectiveness in facilitating the uptake of blood sugar into cells. Whey protein can help by increasing insulin sensitivity. Which in turn will assist in moderating healthy levels of blood sugar [25][26][27]. In particular, one study has demonstrated the effectiveness of whey protein in stimulating insulin production when consumed before a high-carbohydrate meal [28].





  1. Paddon-Jones D, Westman E, Mattes RD, Wolfe RR, Astrup A, Westerterp-Plantenga M. Protein, weight management, and satiety. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18469287.
  2. Pal S, Radavelli-Bagatini S, Hagger M, Ellis V. Comparative effects of whey and casein proteins on satiety in overweight and obese individuals: a randomized controlled trial. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24801369.
  3. Veldhorst MA, Nieuwenhuizen AG, Hochstenbach-Waelen A, van Vught AJ, Westerterp KR, Engelen MP, Brummer RJ, Deutz NE, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Dose-dependent satiating effect of whey relative to casein or soy. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19385022.
  4. Frestedt JL, Zenk JL, Kuskowski MA, Ward LS, Bastian ED. A whey-protein supplement increases fat loss and spares lean muscle in obese subjects: a randomized human clinical study. Nutrition & Metabolism. 2008;5:8. doi:10.1186/1743-7075-5-8.
  5. Veldhorst MA, Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Westerterp KR.Gluconeogenesis and energy expenditure after a high-protein, carbohydrate-free diet. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19640952.
  6. Johnston CS, Day CS, Swan PD.Postprandial thermogenesis is increased 100% on a high-protein, low-fat diet versus a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet in healthy, young women. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11838888.
  7. Howatson, G., et al. Exercise Induced Muscle Damage is Reduced in Resistance-Trained Males by BCAAs. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 9(20).
  8. Frestedt JL, Zenk JL, Kuskowski MA, Ward LS, Bastian ED. A whey-protein supplement increases fat loss and spares lean muscle in obese subjects: a randomized human clinical study. Nutrition & Metabolism. 2008;5:8. doi:10.1186/1743-7075-5-8.
  9. Nurminen ML, Sipola M, Kaarto H, Pihlanto-Leppälä A, Piilola K, Korpela R, Tossavainen O, Korhonen H, Vapaatalo H. Alpha-lactorphin lowers blood pressure measured by radiotelemetry in normotensive and spontaneously hypertensive rats. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10794501.
  10. Sipola M, Finckenberg P, Vapaatalo H, Pihlanto-Leppälä A, Korhonen H, Korpela R, Nurminen ML. Alpha-lactorphin and beta-lactorphin improve arterial function in spontaneously hypertensive rats. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12106590.
  11. Sharon K. Gerdes, Dr. W. James Harper Ph.D, Dr. G. Miller, Ph.D. BIOACTIVE COMPONENTS OF WHEY AND CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH. https://web.archive.org/save/_embed/http://usdec.files.cms-plus.com/Publications/CardioHealth_English.pdf
  12. Pal S, Ellis V. The chronic effects of whey proteins on blood pressure, vascular function, and inflammatory markers in overweight individuals. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19893505.
  13. Susan M. Fluegela, Terry D. Shultza, Joseph R. Powersa, Stephanie Clarka, Celestina Barbosa-Leikerb, Bruce R. Wrightb, Timothy S. Fresonb, Heidi A. Fluegela, Jonathan D. Mincha, Lance K. Schwarzkopfa, Ashley J. Millerb, Michael M. Di Filippoa.Whey beverages decrease blood pressure in prehypertensive and hypertensive young men and women. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S095869461000141X.
  14. Lee YM, Skurk T, Hennig M, Hauner H. Effect of a milk drink supplemented with whey peptides on blood pressure in patients with mild hypertension. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17180485.
  15. U.S. National Library of Medicine. National Institutes of Health: Oxidants, antioxidants, and the degenerative diseases of aging. Arnes, BN
  16. Chitapanarux T, Tienboon P, Pojchamarnwiputh S, Leelarungrayub D. Open-labeled pilot study of cysteine-rich whey protein isolate supplementation for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis patients. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19638084.
  17. Zavorsky GS, Kubow S, Grey V, Riverin V, Lands LC. An open-label dose-response study of lymphocyte glutathione levels in healthy men and women receiving pressurized whey protein isolate supplements. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17710587.
  18. Ebaid H, Salem A, Sayed A, Metwalli A. Whey protein enhances normal inflammatory responses during cutaneous wound healing in diabetic rats. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22168406.
  19. Buffinton GD, Doe WF. Depleted mucosal antioxidant defences in inflammatory bowel disease. Free Radic Biol Med. 1995;19:911-8.
  20. Sprong RC, Schonewille AJ, van der Meer R. Dietary cheese whey protein protects rats against mild dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis: role of mucin and microbiota. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20338413.
  21. Benjamin J, Makharia G, Ahuja V, Anand Rajan KD, Kalaivani M, Gupta SD, Joshi YK. Glutamine and whey protein improve intestinal permeability and morphology in patients with Crohn’s disease: a randomized controlled trial. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22038507.
  22. Fioramonti J, Theodorou V, Bueno L. Probiotics: what are they? What are their effects on gut physiology? Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol.
  23. Teitelbaum JE, Walker WA. Nutritional impact of pre- and probiotics as protective gastrointestinal organisms. Annu Rev Nutr
  24. Zhou LM, Xu JY, Rao CP, Han S, Wan Z, Qin LQ. Effect of whey supplementation on circulating C-reactive protein: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25671415.
  25. Mortensen LS, Holmer-Jensen J, Hartvigsen ML, Jensen VK, Astrup A, de Vrese M, Holst JJ, Thomsen C, Hermansen K. Effects of different fractions of whey protein on postprandial lipid and hormone responses in type 2 diabetes. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22588635.
  26. Pal S, Ellis V. The chronic effects of whey proteins on blood pressure, vascular function, and inflammatory markers in overweight individuals. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19893505.
  27. Lan-Pidhainy X, Wolever TM. The hypoglycemic effect of fat and protein is not attenuated by insulin resistance. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19923374.
  28. Ma J, Stevens JE, Cukier K, Maddox AF, Wishart JM, Jones KL, Clifton PM, Horowitz M, Rayner CK. Effects of a protein preload on gastric emptying, glycemia, and gut hormones after a carbohydrate meal in diet-controlled type 2 diabetes. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19542012.


In all the years I have spent helping people live healthier and more fulfilling lives, I have never stopped being amazed at what people can accomplish. And for good reason. In the United States right now, just over 3 out of every 5 adults are overweight. 1 out of every 3 adults are obese. Our lifestyles are not designed for our health. With so many empty calories so readily available, constructing a healthier lifestyle requires dedication and knowing what to do. This is where I come in. I am a certified personal trainer with an avid interest in fitness, weight loss nutrition and supplementation. I enjoy to sharing my knowledge and experience with this community, through my articles and comments. I have written for a number of other sites that have published my work, such as: Supplement Express and bodybuilding.com. Feel free to comment on my work or send me an email about a topic your interested in.