When most people hear the words, “whey protein,” the first thing that likely comes to mind is giant tubs of protein powder used by bodybuilders and athletes to refuel and recover after a long workout. Despite its rigid perception as a workout supplement, however, whey protein has many benefits that extend beyond its use in the realm of fitness.
Not only is it known to help with weight management and muscle growth, it’s even been known to reduce the effects of aging! To help you learn more about whey protein’s unique benefits, we’ll take a look at some factors that contribute to aging and share examples of how it can be used to promote growing old gracefully.
The Story Behind Aging…
According to a study by the US Census Bureau, nearly one in four U.S. residents will be at least 65 years old by the year 2060. Yes, 25% of the population! To put that in perspective, that number is less than 15% today. With the aging adult population steadily increasing, it’s become more important than ever to help seniors stay healthy.
As adults reach the age of 30, they’re subject to a natural, age-related loss of muscle and bone, known as sarcopenia. Not recognized as a disease or syndrome, sarcopenia can happen to anyone, even healthy people. Those who suffer from sarcopenia typically experience a 3-8% reduction in lean muscle per decade after approximately 30 years of age, and it’s thought to affect around 20% of people in their 60s and 70s.
Thankfully, with the increase in medicine, nutrition and technology, Americans are more health conscious and aware than ever before. That being said, here are the top three reasons to promote whey protein as an anti-aging benefit:
1. Prevent Osteoporosis
When people age, they can lose the ability to effectively uphold strong bones and muscles. As studies have shown, elderly adults who consume low levels of protein are more prone to having a significant loss of bone density, particularly in the hip and spine. However, one of the easiest ways to achieve healthier bones and muscles is by following a protein-rich diet. In fact, according to a scientific research study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, adults who added 20 grams of whey protein to their daily diet were able to accelerate the healing of bone fractures and prevent osteoporotic fractures. That being said, with the average protein supplement “wheying” in at approximately 20 grams per serving, this is a very attainable goal for consumers.
2. Improve Glutathione Levels
Glutathione is a tri-peptide found in whey protein that deals with immunity and acts as an antioxidant. Glutathione also occurs naturally in the human body. Made inside your cells from amino acids, glutathione increases the integrity of telomeres in our DNA, which are known to deteriorate as we age. In fact, studies show that increasing the body’s production of glutathione may slow down the aging process as old cells are known to contain 20-30% less glutathione than young cells! And, because glutathione supplements provide almost no health benefits when ingested directly, research has proven that whey protein is the most convenient way to improve glutathione intake, in addition to multiple other health benefits. This is because high-quality whey protein contains the highest levels of the full range of naturally-occurring glutathione precursors: glutamylcysteine, lactoferrin, immunoglobulins, and active peptides.
3. Boost Metabolism
Contrary to what some people believe, ingesting food actually boosts metabolism! This effect, known as thermogenesis, is greater for protein than it is for fat or carbohydrates. In a study to measure the thermogenic effects of different protein sources, researchers were able to determine that whey protein not only provided a higher thermogenic effect than other protein sources, but it also had a higher fat oxidation as well! By including more whey protein in your food products, not only can you lower the fat and calorie content, but you can also help provide a little boost to your aging consumers’ metabolism.
As consumers’ bodies age, they’re subject to the natural effects of muscle and bone weakness. With the help of protein-rich foods, however, thankfully we can help combat these effects. At Grande, our variety of whey protein ingredients are considered among the best in the industry. Not only are they specially formulated to fit nearly any application (think beyond supplements to items such as soups, sauces, dressings, prepared meals, snacks, baked goods, clear protein beverages, frozen desserts, etc.); they’re also made with the safest, highest-quality ingredients available.
Available in many forms, whey protein can be used in almost any application to reduce or replace eggs, milk, cream, cheese, butter, oil, and other high-fat, high-cost ingredients. Plus, since Grande's products are all-natural, they can help clean up labels by replacing artificial gums and starches.
To learn more about our high-quality whey protein options and which type of whey protein is best for your application, simply click the button below! Then, reach out to discuss your toughest formulation challenge with one of our food scientists.