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The WHEY to a Healthy Diet
07, November 2013 9:00 AM

As a recent graduate from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo where I received a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition, I am now a waiting to start a dietetic internship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston which begins in October. After graduation I was given the perfect opportunity for my interim, a summer internship at the Dairy Council of California. Working for the Dairy Council has been a more beneficial experience than I could have ever imagined.  Not only am I surrounded by so many knowledgeable and passionate nutrition professionals, I have discovered the unbelievable amount of resources that the Dairy Council has to offer. From scientific research to healthy recipes, this organization supplies the public with factual information about dairy and healthy eating as a whole.

Growing up I loved to play sports and that is how I discovered my passion for nutrition and healthy eating. As a result, I have always been particularly interested in sports nutrition. In fact, for my senior project at Cal Poly I wrote a research paper on the optimal type of protein to consume with carbohydrate after exercising to get maximal muscle protein synthesis. My conclusion, you ask? Whey protein! Post-exercise consumption of whey protein was shown to be more effective at building lean muscle mass than the consumption of soy protein, or carbohydrate alone. This conclusion is also consistent with the research that has been done by the National Dairy Council, further confirming the unique benefits of whey protein. 

As an athlete, I can easily share this recently gained knowledge with my friends and fellow gym goers. First off, it is important to know that protein, like fat and carbohydrate, is an essential nutrient that your body needs to help maintain and build muscle mass. Whey protein is superior to other protein sources because it is a complete protein, containing all 9 of the essential amino acids including the 3 branched chain amino acids. The amino acid profile of whey protein is very similar to that of skeletal muscle and, given the high level of essential amino acids, whey protein is one of the most effective proteins at stimulating muscle protein synthesis and building lean muscle mass. In addition, whey protein is naturally found in milk, making it an ideal sports recovery drink.

Furthermore, as a future health professional this information is extremely beneficial to know.  Scientific research confirms the many health benefits that milk and milk products provide, partly due to its whey protein. Research done at the Center for Metabolic Biology at Arizona State University suggests that the consumption of whey protein as a part of a high-protein diet may help preserve muscle mass during aging and therefore aid in the prevention of sarcopenia, the muscle loss associated with aging.  Research also suggests that a diet high in whey protein can curb hunger and help you maintain a healthy weight. Additionally, research has shown the positive effects whey protein can have on the heart, cardiovascular system and sugar metabolism. Taking this into consideration, it is easy to see that consuming milk and milk products is the WHEY to a healthy diet.

What to learn more? Here are some current, scientifically-accurate resources:

Jocelyn Fry, Summer Intern







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