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Animal Protein vs. Whey Protein Isolate (WPI): Which Offers the Most Benefits?

posted by Chris Valentine

Protein is one of the essential macronutrients needed by the body to function properly. Apart from building, strengthening, and repairing muscles, tissues, cartilage, and other vital components of the body, protein also plays an integral part in practically all biological functions.

When people talk about protein, thick and juicy meat almost always comes to mind. This tendency is not surprising considering that animal sources contain all essential amino acids (complete protein) compared to protein sourced from plants.

While animal protein trumps plant-based sources, one protein that comes from dairy is proving to be a much better alternative, given the results of numerous findings. This source is known as whey protein isolate (WPI), a popular form of whey that is packed with exceptional levels of essential amino acids similar to animal protein.

These two sources both contain complete protein, but they exhibit significant differences in the ways they affect the body. For one, animal protein is high in saturated fat that can cause health issues when consumed in large amounts, while WPI is low in fat.

Below are some of the other distinct differences between animal and whey proteins:

Cardiac Health

Given that steaks, pork chops, and other animal proteins contain high levels of saturated fat and methionine, you will be at risk of developing heart disease if you consume them in excessive amounts. Note that saturated fats increase LDL or “bad “cholesterol in your blood, which, in turn, causes cholesterol build-up in your arterial walls and, eventually, a heart ailment.

A high intake of methionine has also been found to be a significant risk factor in developing cardiovascular diseases.

Unlike animal protein, whey is heart-friendly. For one, instead of increasing LDL, consuming WPI has been found to reduce bad cholesterolin the blood significantly. Whey powder also has a blood pressure-lowering and vascular relaxation effects that help lower the risk of heart diseases.

Bone Density

Animal proteinhas high levels of sulphur-containing amino acids, which affects bone density, or the amount of calcium present in the bone. The sulphur in meat is converted to sulphate and causes the blood to acidify. As the acid in the blood is neutralised, bone calcium is dispersed in the bloodstream and expelled during urination.

Mainly, animal protein causes the calcium in the bones to leak and be excreted from the body leading to low bone density. This effect is supported by multiple studies that show a significant positive association between animal protein and bone fracture.

Whey protein has been found to exhibit the opposite effect. Instead of decreasing bone density, the lactoferrin in whey helps in stimulating the production of new bone.

Stress Reduction

Eating a meal high in animal protein can cause your stress hormones to rise significantly in as little as half an hour after consumption. Note that this effect is just for a single meal; imagine what will happen if you consistently maintain this pattern of eating.

You will be susceptible to the many harmful physical and mental health effects of too much stress, such as headache, upset stomach, heart problems, depression, and anxiety, among others.

On the contrary, whey protein has been found to reduce cortisol hormone in the body, which causes stress. Studies also revealed how whey stimulates the production of serotonin, the brain chemical which causes relaxing and calming feelings.

Given the discussion above, it’s clear that whey protein isolate (WPI) is much better than animal protein, in terms of overall health benefits. When you consume whey isolate, you’re not just feeding your body with essential amino acids, but other helpful nutrients and substances as well. Experience the positive effects of whey protein by including it on your diet today.

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