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Whey Protein – Growing Muscles – Shrinking Brain
Whey is not a recent discovery, not even its muscle building benefits. It is not clear when whey was first used, but it is well documented that Hippocrates (4th century BC) made extensive use of whey for its natural healing properties, particularly in the treatment of liver diseases and gout. In the Roman Empire, whey was used after a rich feast to relieve the resulting indigestion. Roman women used this natural product as an internal and external remedy for “skin like milk and honey.”
At the beginning of the 16th century, the alchemist Paracelsus was an ardent admirer of whey and recommended its use as a treatment as often as possible. Since then, whey has been widely used by European aristocracies and was a popular remedy for gout prevention, digestive problems, and as a natural cosmetic for skin care. But it wasn’t until after World War II that science became interested in studying the nutritional properties of whey protein, which has now become a favorite fast food for bodybuilders.
Since we live in an “Instant Gratification” society where the mantras of “I want it now” and “I want it bigger” reign, the diet industry has been quick to capitalize on this trend. Every gym and supplement store shelf is beckoned with a huge selection of Whey products in mega-sized containers, and reading and understanding labels is a huge challenge for the non-artisan.
Without a doubt, we can believe that neither Hippocrates nor Paracelsus would recognize, let alone recommend or use, any of today’s Body Builder’s Whey. Natural, unprocessed, unadulterated Whey is hard to come by in America, but quite common in Europe. It naturally contains about 11% protein and 75% carbohydrates, rich in minerals (rich in highly absorbable calcium) and amino acids.
But for the highly sought after “Instant Muscles”, athletes demanded higher protein content and the industry was happy. Whey protein content can be increased ad libitum by a relatively simple molecular filtration process; but of course, concentrated protein comes at a price, as a higher percentage of protein reduces the percentages of other nutrients.
That’s why Whey in High Power Body Building Formulas has a huge protein content of up to 95%! However, the percentage of products is lower due to the addition of flavorings, sweeteners and other ingredients added to the product to differentiate it for competitive reasons. And therein lies the problem, in order to lure the consumer into gobbling up mega doses of their product, manufacturers essentially adulterate a healthy source into a highly processed and completely unhealthy concoction.
Let’s analyze a typical ingredient label for one of the top five selling Whey Protein products in America:
Calcium and sodium caseinate, milk protein isolate, whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, whey peptides, lactoferrin, L-glutamine, taurine, medium-chain triglycerides, sunflower and/or safflower oil, rapeseed oil, L-carnitine, resi maltodextrin, maltodextrin, fructose, natural and artificial flavor, proprietary vitamin and mineral blend, potassium chloride, fructo-oligosaccharides, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, soy lecithin.
This product contains 45% protein, but also contains heavy metal contaminants such as cadmium, arsenic, lead and mercury, according to Consumer Reports. Also, does this label indicate a healthy product or a health risk if used in high doses over a long period of time? We might as well ask: Is fast food healthy? Unfortunately, the difference is that these humble muscle-hungry consumers honestly believe they are creating great health for themselves with a natural product; this is evident from the many user comments on Body Builder websites.
The ingredients above are common, with some variations for all major brands. It should be clear that “Canola and Safflower Oil” are GM (genetically modified) products, as in all processed foods they are used because they are cheap and for no other reason.
“Fructose” (most on the label list high-fructose corn syrup HFCS) is the worst choice of sugar for an athlete, and its presence defeats the reason for taking the product by endangering fat burning. It is also suspected of causing obesity and diabetes.
“Natural and artificial flavors” is a common misnomer for stuff like MSG (monosodium glutamate), and many other undesirable substances are hidden under this euphemism. What’s the problem with MSG? Dr. Russell Blaylock, a board-certified neurosurgeon, states in his book Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills: MSG is an excitotoxin, meaning it overexcites your cells to the point of damage or death, causing varying degrees of brain damage—and potentially even triggering or exacerbating learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Lou Gehrig’s, and more. Why is MSG added? To cause addiction to the product to make you use it more. Why isn’t it on the label? Because the industry knows you don’t want it, so they have to hide it behind euphemisms, and – yes, it’s legal, but it gets worse because the other ingredients: “sodium caseinate”, “protein isolates and concentrates” are, along with MSG, potentially increasing excess consumption of excitotoxins, glutamate receptors in your heart in the amelis muscle and the conduction system are excessively stimulated, causing cardiac arrhythmias.
“Potassium chloride” is used as an ingredient in a low-toxicity fertilizer. It is also one of the three-drug combinations used in lethal injections. So why is it used in a whey product? The answer is that it is a cheap ingredient to increase potassium in the blood and because the product contains MSG. “When magnesium stores are low, such as we see in athletes, glutamate receptors are so sensitive that even low levels of these excitotoxins can cause cardiac arrhythmias and death,” says Blaylock.
added “Vitamins and minerals” are synthetic chemicals that have no co-factors; they do not resonate in cells or synergize with other nutrients. This means that a “one size fits all” product’s ability to restore your body’s nutrient balance is arbitrary and capable of doing more harm than good. It appears that these chemicals the only reason for adding it is because it sounds good.
“Acesulfame potassium” is a calorie-free synthetic sugar substitute and although approved by the FDA, is highly controversial due to its adverse health effects. Since the human body cannot metabolize such calorie-free drinks, the metabolism is disrupted and this fact changes the functionality of the entire product. The only reason this ingredient is there, is a price that benefits the producer but makes the product questionable.
“Sucralose” is another zero-calorie synthetic sweetener, and although approved by the FDA, it is still highly controversial. The reported symptoms associated with sucralose include gastrointestinal problems (bloating, gas, diarrhea, nausea), skin irritations (rash, hives, redness, itching , swelling) , wheezing, cough, runny nose, chest pain, palpitations, anxiety, anger, mood swings, depression, and itchy eyes Why is this ingredient used? Again, its cost and convenience, which benefits the manufacturer, not your health
But there is more to it than meets the eye, the main issue is the source of the raw material, which surprisingly is not disclosed on the label. Is the milk from feed lots or grass fed cows? Were cows injected with synthetic rBST hormones, steroids and antibiotics? The fact that minerals and vitamins are added suggests a worst-case scenario, as milk from grass-fed cows that roam pasture is naturally rich in natural B vitamins and minerals, as opposed to added synthetic vitamins from coal tar.
It is not easy to find a healthy Natural Whey product on store shelves because of the marketing hype and label deception that includes synthetic high margin products. But an internet search can reward you with some really healthy food. You would like to request the following statements from the seller:
- derived from pasture-fed grass-free cows that do not contain rBGH
- does not contain artificial synthetic sweeteners
- does not contain MSG (artificial or natural flavors)
- does not contain hydrogenated oils
- without canola – soybean or safflower oils (these come from GM crops)
- does not contain HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) or fructose
- does not contain soy or soy lecithin (soy products are genetically modified)
Beware of claims like “All Natural”, this term is arbitrarily defined and means nothing. Remember that the cheapest product uses cheap ingredients, you may save when you buy, but later you will pay a much higher price for improving your health. Buy from a manufacturer you can trust, be sure to ask questions. High protein is an important part of your daily diet, so be careful what you put in your body.
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