From the age of 20 to 80 we lose 40 percent of our muscle mass. From the age of 50, the annual degradation even doubles. This “anabolic resistance” of the muscles must be counteracted. But with what? With whey! Scientists from five countries – including Germany and Switzerland – found this out in a comparative study. The so-called Do-Health study was intended to determine how we can age healthily and found a true all-rounder in whey.
What is whey?
Whey, also known as whey, cheese milk, Schotte, Sirte, Waddike, Wedicke, or Zieger, is a by-product of cheese and quark production. It occurs when milk thickens. A distinction must be made between sweet and sour whey. Sweet whey is produced in the production of hard, semi-hard, and soft cheese, and sour whey in quark, and cream cheese. But whether sweet or sour, both types have the same ingredients and are equally important for our bodies.
What is in whey?
In addition to potassium, calcium, and sodium, it is above all the protein in the whey that the researchers of the Do-Health study were aiming for. Because this is particularly well tolerated by our body and easily degradable. This is where age comes into play. In later years, gastrointestinal activity slows down. Our body takes longer to extract proteins from fish, meat, or eggs. In whey, the protein enters the intestine almost pure and can be absorbed directly. In addition, whey protein has a particularly high proportion of the muscle-building amino acid leucine.
Why is whey so important in old age?
In addition to muscle mass, the bone structure also decreases with age. We fall faster and then break something more easily. That is why it is so important to stay fit and healthy in old age. This is where we can help. The researchers of the Go-Health study found that from 20 grams of whey daily in combination with exercise, muscle synthesis is significantly increased. Our muscles stay fit. And muscles don’t just support our bodies. They also cleanse it of sugar and support our immune system.
In which foods is whey found?
Whey is naturally present in most dairy foods. However, there is often not much of the product left over, after all, manufacturers do not want whey in their food. Greek yogurt has the highest percentage of whey. So if you eat Greek yogurt with fruit or nuts for breakfast in the morning, you are on the right track. You can also buy whey as a powder concentrate. Here the dose is many times higher. Up to twelve grams of whey per 100 grams of powder are contained here.
Not everyone gets whey powder
You should be careful with whey powder because the essence is not only rich in protein, minerals, and vitamins, but it also contains over 70 grams of milk sugar (lactose) and is therefore not suitable for diabetics and people with lactose intolerance. If you want, you can also use whey protein powder. It is important to distinguish between the three types of concentrate, isolate, and hydrolyzate.
- Concentrate: Is usually cheaper than its two colleagues, but also has the lowest protein content. The proportion of protein is between 30 and 80 percent. There are also portions of lactose and carbohydrates. The advantage is that concentrate also contains other healthy ingredients.
- Isolate: This whey protein powder is very fine-grained. Due to the strong filtration, the proportion of proteins is 90 to 95 percent. Lactose and carbohydrates are almost non-existent. Due to the high level of purity, our body can metabolize isolate optimally and it is quickly available to the muscles.
- Hydrolyzate Has a protein content of 99 percent and is therefore almost pure protein. This may be good for the muscles, but not for the rest of the body. Due to the strong processing, the body lacks connections to other places (e.g. in the immune system). Also, hydrolyzate is the most expensive of the three types of powder.
This is how whey supports the body properly
Of course, they can only develop its full effect if the muscles are also stimulated. Therefore, a lot of exercises is just as important. Muscle loss is most pronounced in the legs. Counteracting this can also be integrated into everyday life. Take lots of walks and use stairs instead of elevators. Besides, you can do effective exercises with everyday things. For example, stand on one leg when brushing your teeth. That strengthens the muscles. Do upper arm exercises with bottled water in front of the TV. The possibilities are almost unlimited. The Do-Health study showed that by combining exercise and whey, older people could gain up to a pound of muscle mass in two months.