Are you Burning Your Sports Supplement Dollars on Whey-Protein?

Are you Burning Your Sports Supplement Dollars on Whey-Protein?

by Lee Labrada

Picture this: You put all of your hard-earned supplement dollars into a nice little mound on your kitchen table. You divide it in two, and pocket half. Then, you pull out a lighter and torch the rest of the money! Sound crazy?

If you are relying on whey protein for your primary protein supplement, you may be burning more than half of your hard-earned supplement dollars, not to mention sacrificing your precious muscle! That may not be what you want to hear, but you deserve straight talk, and that’s what you can expect from me, Lee Labrada.

For more than ten years, I made my living as a professional bodybuilder. I won prestigious competitions including the IFBB Mr. Universe, Pro World Cup, six European Grand Prixs, and achieved top-four finalist at the coveted Mr. Olympia (the Superbowl of bodybuilding) seven consecutive times. I own and run Labrada Nutrition which was born out of customer’s needs. That’s why since 1995 we have earned the title of “The Most Trusted Name in Sports Nutrition.™”

Now, I feel compelled to set the record straight on whey. Major supplement companies have pumped BIG dollars into elevating whey protein to near-sainthood status with their multi-page ads. Don’t get me wrong: whey protein has its strengths.  But whey protein is not the end-all it’s cracked up to be.

What is Wrong With Just Using Whey Protein Powders?

You see, whey protein, like all other proteins, is broken down in the stomach into short protein chains called peptides, before being passed into the small intestine, where the peptides are absorbed.

Whey protein is broken down very quickly, flooding your body with nitrogen-rich amino acids. That’s exactly what you want if you have just finished working out and need fast muscle support to jump-start recovery. But at other times, like meal time or snack time, for instance, you are best served with a high-quality protein blend.

Here’s why:

Your body can only use so much of the amino acid “surge” that follows the ingestion of whey. Once your body uses the whey amino acids it needs immediately, the unused portion is shuttled to the liver where it is converted to blood sugar by a process called gluconeogenesis. As much as 58% of whey is unused; there goes more than half of your protein supplement dollars!

There’s more. Because you’re getting a big shot of amino acids “up front,” there may be no amino acids left over to nourish your muscles and keep you in positive nitrogen balance in the hours leading up to your next meal!

Whey protein only lasts about 90 minutes in your system – which means that after your muscles get their initial “fill” of amino acids, you could go catabolic in the hours that follow. Catabolism, or muscle breakdown, may occur when there is an insufficient amino acid supply available.

There’s little else that will cause muscle wasting faster than a lack of amino acids. It’s like putting a match to dry wood! Poof! Gone. All of your hard work in the gym is for nothing. What you need then, is a protein source that is broken down and absorbed slowly. This type of protein source should provide amino acids to your muscles for hours, so that your muscles don’t starve in between meals! That’s important so that you don’t sacrifice your hard-earned muscle!

The fact is that a protein blend consisting of multiple sources of protein is superior to any single-protein source, including whey, for sustained, “time released” nutritional support. A protein blend can provide a “staggered uptake,” as the different proteins that comprise the blend are broken down and absorbed at different rates.

High-quality milk protein isolates and casein are superior to whey in that they are absorbed more slowly, while providing benefits that whey itself cannot provide. In my personal experience, nothing beats a good blend of whey proteins, milk proteins and egg proteins, such as what you find in my Lean Body, ProV60 and Lean Pro8 formulas for sustained nutritional support for muscle.

Until next time, I am

Lee Labrada

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One Response for Are you Burning Your Sports Supplement Dollars on Whey-Protein?

  1. Taran


    November 10, 2011 12:44 am

    Lee, that is an incredible article and piece of information. Thanks.
    I use Lean Body Meal replacement only with my post workout meal. Considering the information above, can one consume Lean Body with meals other than the post workout meal?