Many individuals are concerned about the relation between whey protein and cholesterol or other forms of protein shakes and how they influence your cholesterol levels, especially since heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.
Although many different protein shake alternatives to pick from, the good news is that most of them have no harmful impact on cholesterol levels. Some protein smoothies may even help you decrease your cholesterol.
What is a Protein Shake?
Protein is required for the growth and maintenance of muscle mass and the maintenance of body weight and bone health. Although protein may be obtained from entire meals, many individuals prefer protein shakes and powders to help them achieve their protein requirements quickly and conveniently. The majority of protein shakes are produced with protein powder, which may originate from a variety of places, including:
Although each form of the protein has a unique nutrition profile (changing quantities of various amino acids) and health advantages, some have been demonstrated to lower cholesterol levels.
Can Too Much Protein Cause High Cholesterol?
Protein is frequently investigated for its role in weight reduction and muscle growth, but research on its impact on cholesterol, particularly in protein powders, is scarce. Nonetheless, a few modest studies have looked at the effects of whey protein on cholesterol, as well as the impacts and advantages of protein shakes in general.
In December 2016, small research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at the effects of an eight-week whey protein powder supplementation on several risk factors for heart disease. One of the benefits of whey protein, according to the researchers, is that it may preserve heart health by lowering total cholesterol levels and improving blood pressure in study participants.
While there was no evidence of a link between whey protein and decreased cholesterol levels, supplementation with the protein powder did lower triglyceride levels, according to a literature analysis published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in August 2016.
How Much Cholesterol Should I Have Per Day?
Your daily cholesterol consumption should be fewer than 300 milligrams, according to the American Heart Association. Your cholesterol consumption should be fewer than 200 milligrams if you have heart disease or if it runs in your family. Many of the foods we eat daily, such as eggs, meat, fish, poultry, and milk, have variable quantities of cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol can boost blood cholesterol levels in the body, raising heart disease risk factors.
There are various forms of cholesterol, according to the American Heart Association, including low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and lipoprotein(a) or Lp (a). LDL is the principal transporter of cholesterol in the bloodstream, but it may also build up in the walls of arteries that supply the heart and brain.
These compounds form a hard deposit in the arteries, blocking them and causing heart attacks, strokes, and other problems. HDL, or “good” cholesterol, transports cholesterol from the arteries to the liver, where it is processed. If the Lp(a) cholesterol level is excessively high, it can lead to the development of atherosclerosis at a young age and arterial wall lesions.
There are a number of things you may do to reduce your risk of heart disease. When eaten as part of a balanced diet, replacing saturated and trans-fatty acids with healthier fats (such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) may help decrease LDL cholesterol. Nuts and seeds, fish (particularly fatty fish like salmon, trout, and herring), and vegetable oils are all rich sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Limiting your cholesterol consumption on a regular basis may also help to reduce your risk. Plant-based foods, such as grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables, are cholesterol-free. Instead of eating too much meat, consider beans and veggies as a healthy alternative to animal protein.
Will Taking Whey Protein Raise Or Lower My Cholesterol?
People are increasingly resorting to high-protein diets to help them lose the stubborn pounds of fat that cling to their bodies. People commonly begin supplementing their diet with high protein powder, such as whey protein powder, as part of this new diet to improve the protein content of their food.
Protein consumption, under this rationale, will assist a person in losing weight in a variety of ways. For starters, protein is more difficult to digest than fats and carbs, which means that the body will use fewer calories for every gram of protein consumed.
Furthermore, many people believe that eating a high-protein diet will help them bulk up and become more toned and muscular; not only will this theoretically help to lower a person’s fat levels, but it should also help them burn more calories at rest, as muscles require the highest levels of energy of all three food groups.
However, some people are now concerned that using protein powders, particularly whey protein powders made from milk will cause their cholesterol levels to rise!
Can I Take Whey Protein If I Have High Cholesterol?
When combined with regular exercise, whey protein should theoretically assist a person in increasing their muscle mass. This, in turn, should assist patients in reducing their body fat levels—but what about cholesterol? Is it true that whey protein lowers or raises cholesterol levels in the blood?
You might be wondering if using whey protein as a supplement would assist or hurt your cholesterol-lowering efforts. Unfortunately, research on the subject is limited; nonetheless, there is compelling evidence that whey protein consumption lowers triglyceride levels in the body, the most prevalent kind of body fat. As a result, it doesn’t seem that far-fetched to assume that taking a whey protein supplement frequently as part of your daily diet might help decrease cholesterol levels—especially if you can do so with high-fiber foods at other times of the day.
What Is Soy Protein?
Soy protein is a kind of protein derived from soybeans. Defatted and dehulled soybeans provide three types of products: soy isolate, soy concentrates, and soy flour.
Soy protein isolate is a 90 percent refined protein version of soybeans. Isolates are typically employed to improve the texture of meat products, although they may also be purchased as a powder.
The concentrate is also utilized in a variety of culinary items. It’s commonly found in baked foods, cereals, and various meats, such as chicken. Because concentrate is readily digested, it’s used in infant formula, pet food, and other powder forms.
Soy flour is typically produced by crushing soybeans. Soy flour comes in three varieties: lecithinated, defatted, and natural. Soy flour that has had lecithin added to it is known as lecithinated soy flour. The oils have been removed from defatted soy flour, which has a protein value of 50%. Finally, all of the natural oils in soy flour are present. Gluten-free soy flour has become a popular option for folks who are unable to digest gluten.
Another small research compared soy protein to whey and egg protein to examine whether there was a difference in cholesterol-lowering impact as well as other heart disease risk variables such as weight and blood pressure. According to the study, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides were all lowered in all subjects, independent of the kind of protein they ingested, according to the study, which was published in The Journal of Nutrition, Health, and Aging in January 2015.
All varieties of protein powder helped research participants who were on a calorie-restricted diet lose weight, with greater fat loss than muscle loss, and lower blood pressure.
What Kind Of Protein To Use For High Cholesterol: Soy Or Whey?
They are both advantageous for various reasons. Whey protein is more easily digested than soy protein. As a result, the body utilizes and absorbs whey protein more effectively.
When used for sporting reasons, whey protein has been found to boost muscle growth and strength. Many studies have shown that those who consume whey protein gain muscle quicker and have less muscle strains and other training-related problems. This is because whey protein assists in muscle repair. It also boosts immunity, which is crucial for athletes who are constantly pushing their bodies to their limits.
High cholesterol sufferers will benefit from soy protein. This is due to the fact that soy protein contains neither cholesterol or lactose. For people who are vegetarians, soy protein is a popular meat substitute.
Soy protein provides several health advantages, but it also serves a variety of additional purposes. Texturizing and emulsification are accomplished with soy protein. Cosmetics, paints, plastics, textile fibers, cleaning products, adhesives, resins, and asphalts are some of its other applications.
While soy protein is cholesterol-free, there are also cholesterol-free whey proteins. Whey protein isolate contains no cholesterol or fat, making it an excellent alternative for people who want to boost their protein consumption without increasing their cholesterol.
How Much Soy and Whey Protein Should I Take per Serving?
The amount of each protein to take depends on the person’s weight and the purpose of the supplement. When using soy or whey protein for a sedentary individual, the suggested dose is 0.36 grams per pound of body weight.
The suggested dosage for people utilizing supplements for bodybuilding is between one and 1.5 grams per pound of body weight. Generally speaking, the average individual should aim for 20 to 25 grams each day. Athletes can increase their daily consumption by doubling it.
Many people focus on the different forms of cholesterol, such as LDL, HDL, and VLDL, when discussing cholesterol, but new study suggests that these may not be the most important factors to consider. High LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, is one of the most important risk factors in the development of heart disease, according to a 2014 study published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. Yet, many people with normal LDL levels nonetheless get the illness.
This is because the size of LDL particles in the blood is more important than the number of particles in the blood. Small, dense particles and big, airy particles are the two forms of LDL. A high concentration of tiny, dense LDL particles, which is also related to low HDL and high triglycerides, raises your risk of heart disease, according to a paper published in the June 2014 issue of Current Opinion in Lipidology.
Are Protein Shakes Bad For Cholesterol?
According to an older report published in March 2004 in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition, in addition to the general cholesterol-lowering effect of protein shakes, limited research shows that soy protein may be even more beneficial because it reduces the amount of small, dense LDL particles in the blood.
If you decide to use a soy protein powder, be sure it’s organic and free of artificial additives. Because the judgment is still out on its estrogenic impact, Michael Rabovsky, MD, a family care specialist at the Cleveland Clinic, advises that it be used in moderation. Remember that you may mix and match soy protein with other protein powders like grass-fed whey, hemp protein, and pea protein.
Although including protein smoothies into your diet in moderation is unlikely to affect your cholesterol, Harvard Health Publishing advises you to proceed with care. Sugar and artificial additives are common in protein powders, and their negative effects might exceed the advantages of protein drinks.
According to an April 2016 research in Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, sugar, particularly fructose, has been related to a rise in LDL cholesterol and other risk factors for heart disease, such as artery inflammation and increased oxidative stress. Sugar can also raise tiny LDL particles and triglycerides, a form of fat found in your blood. Although the protein powder itself does not affect cholesterol, the sugar it contains can.
When buying a protein powder, be sure you read the ingredient list and choose one with the fewest components possible. Make sure there’s no extra sugar on the nutrition label. Choose a sweetened option that uses natural sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit instead of sugar or artificial sweeteners if you want something sweetened.