The Problem With Whey Protein
Written by: Kusha Karvandi
Since the industrial production of MSG (e.g. monosodium glutamate), the FDA and MSG manufacturers have misled the public about the effects of amino acids in the diet. The public has been led to believe that pre-digested, hydrolyzed protein and synthetic free amino acids are more easily digested and utilized than real proteins, despite the research that suggests adults utilize whole proteins more effectively than manufactured aminos.
The public has also been misled to believe that free amino acids are “natural” substances, which originated from propaganda used to promote the use of MSG, aspartame, chelated minerals and tryptophan.
There are many amino acids that can be acutely or chronically toxic, even lethal when too much is eaten. However, tryptophan is the only amino acid that is also carcinogenic. Tryptophan can also produce a variety of toxic substances and is very vulnerable to damage by radiation. As a precursor to serotonin, the amount of tryptophan in the diet can have significant effects on the way the body responds to stress and aging.
The fatigue induced by overtraining is likely a result of tryptophan and serotonin overload, caused by the breakdown of muscle proteins and stress-induced increases in serotonin. Muscle break down also releases a large amount of inflammatory amino acids such as cysteine, methionine and tryptophan, which suppress thyroid function.
Most of the research on the nutritional value of amino acids was actually performed on farm animals, due to the financial incentive to find the cheapest way to produce the quickest growth. Farmers generally don’t care about the nutritional factors that would produce the longest living pigs.
When rats were fed a diet lacking tryptophan or a diet containing only ¼ the normal amount, their average and maximum lifespans increased significantly. They acted and looked like younger rats.
In more traditional diets, muscle meats were eaten in smaller quantities and with all other animal parts (i.e. bone broth). Collagen makes up about half of the protein in an animal and is free of tryptophan. This means that our ancestors were getting about half as much tryptophan in proportion to other amino acids.
Whey protein has been touted as one of the best protein supplements, especially in the health & fitness realm. However, whey protein powder has the following pitfalls:
- Whey contains a slightly higher proportion of tryptophan than milk does.
- Cheese, which is milk with the whey removed, contains less tryptophan.
- Whey protein powder is not the same as whey naturally found in dairy, as it has been denatured by the time it has been processed and packaged into your protein tub (hence why so many people have issues digesting whey powders).
Also, the public has been encouraged to eat only the whites of eggs to avoid raising their cholesterol, but the egg albumin is actually rich in tryptophan.
The key takeaway here is that excessive tryptophan consumption may contribute significantly to the degenerative processes that occur in aging. Research has shown that reducing dietary tryptophan or unsaturated fats can prolong lifespan, slow age-related changes and delay degenerative diseases. This combined with the digestive challenges makes whey protein the perfect supplement to AVOID.
Instead, consider eating meats and combining them with bone broth. I personally supplement with a vegan protein powder (even though I am not vegan) to enjoy the health benefits of whole food proteins that are much easier to assimilate.
Kusha Karvandi is an entrepreneur and fitness enthusiast with a passion for "biohacking" to help others live their best life. Kusha has 9 years experience as a personal trainer and health club manager, with over 10,000 session hours serviced and 15 certifications. He is the author of Nutriscribe, known for its no-nonsense, no calorie counting approach to weight loss and healthy eating. To round out his passion for helping others get in shape, Kusha has made it his mission to ensure that everyone has a unique personal training experience through his app, Exerscribe, which provides custom and adaptable workout plans to anyone with a gym membership.
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