Grass Fed Whey Protein Benefits: Why You Need to Make the Switch
If you’re interested in boosting your energy, getting into shape, managing your current weight or improving your overall health, grass-fed whey protein powder may be the perfect supplement for you!
What Is Whey?
Chances are, you’ve probably heard about whey at some point in your fitness journey. Whey is one of the two main proteins found in milk. It can be separated from casein, the other protein in milk, to be ingested separately.
Whey protein is low in lactose content and is considered a complete protein as it contains the nine essential amino acids. The nine essential amino acids are acids you must consume through your diet, since the body is unable to store them.
If you have a hard time consuming the recommended amount of protein a day, a grass-fed whey protein powder is an easy, effective way to ensure you meet the daily recommendation of protein. Whey proteins are most often soy-free, gluten-free, non-GMO and non-hormonal. Amazing, right? Whey proteins can be a great addition to a restricted diet for this reason.
What Does Grass-Fed Mean?
The term “grass-fed” practically answers the question of what is grass-fed? But for more context, the term grass fed means that the animal only consumed grasses and other forages, like hay, after nursing its mother’s milk. Grass fed labels are regulated by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS) through documentation from the producer stating that all livestock are raised on an all-grass diet.
Grass-fed beef reduces greenhouse gas emissions as well because of the irrigation, fertilizer, and fossil fuels required to grow the feed necessary for a grain-based diet. This does not necessarily mean that all grass-fed products were sustainably produced, as other factors such as deforestation, methane emissions, and the size of the farming operation contribute to the overall environmental footprint of any farm or factor.
However, grass-fed cows may also be treated more humanely because they are not confined in a feedlot, and a grass diet has fewer health implications for the cows. A grain-based diet can cause acid indigestion and liver damage in cows, and the feedlot itself can lead to dust pneumonia.
Grass feeding alters the composition of animal products like whey protein or beef.
For example, grass-fed beef has less fat and fewer calories than its grain-fed counterpart, and the fats that are present in grass-fed beef are generally healthier. Grass-fed beef has less monounsaturated fat, twice as much conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which may reduce body fat and fat burning, and five times as much omega-3s.
Omega-3 fatty acids are known for helping fight depression and anxiety, improving eye and brain health, combating inflammation, and improving bone and joint health, among other benefits.
Grass-fed protein, specifically, contains those same healthy omega-3s and CLA fats along with higher levels of immune support nutrients like beta carotene and branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) that support energy and muscle growth.
What Are the Benefits of Grass-Fed Whey?
There are quite a few grass-fed whey specific benefits, such as how grass-fed whey helps the environment and there is no additive such as hormones. In addition, grass-fed whey shares many of the same benefits as traditional whey, such as high-quality protein, muscle growth support, and inflammation reduction.
Increasing Muscle Mass
Protein is made of amino acids, but there are nine essential amino acids that your body cannot produce naturally. Your body needs these essential amino acids from foods.
Whey protein contains all nine essential amino acids, unlike plant protein which is largely missing the essential amino acid leucine. Leucine is necessary for muscle protein synthesis and anabolism, which is the process of building up muscle mass.
As we mentioned above, grass-fed whey protein specifically contains BCAAs as well, further boosting your muscle gains.
Aiding the Immune System
Among the amino acids present in whey protein is cysteine, which is necessary for the creation of glutathione. Glutathione may help improve immune system function by reducing oxidation.
Oxidative stress can trigger long-term inflammation when free radicals damage healthy immune cells. Not only does this process inhibit your immune response, but it can also increase senescence, which is the process of deterioration with age.
The omega-3s present in grass-fed whey protein also fight inflammation throughout your body, which can support your immune system as well. Whey protein also fights inflammation by lowering C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood.
Reducing Blood Pressure
Dairy products like whey have been linked to lower blood pressure due to the presence of ACE inhibitors called lactokinins.
The effect these bioactive peptides have on your body aren’t well understood, but in multiple randomized studies, milk proteins like whey were shown to significantly lower blood pressure.
In addition to aiding your immune system, glutathione is a powerful antioxidant. As we learned, whey protein is a high-cysteine food, providing an amino acid necessary for glutathione production.
Grass-fed whey protein also contains beta carotene, a precursor to vitamin A that acts as a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants provide many powerful health benefits. Part of this is because of their ability to reduce oxidation.
Free radicals are molecules that are missing a valence electron and attempt to steal electrons from other cells, causing oxidation.
Many antioxidants are vital to anti-aging and your overall health because they have so many electrons, they’re able to easily donate an electron to the free radicals without degrading or becoming reactive themselves. Glutathione is one of the antioxidants that neutralize free radicals, preventing a host of health conditions.
All proteins reduce hunger, as it isn’t used by your body to create energy in the same way as the two other macronutrients, carbohydrates and fats.
Protein has uses beyond energy, such as tissue and muscle repair, so your body looks towards fats and carbs first when burning macronutrients for power. Because of this, protein creates long-lasting feelings of satiety.
However, whey protein may be more filling than other proteins like soy or casein. This may be due to the speed with which whey protein is digested.
Some proteins, like casein, are digested slowly over the course of many hours. While this has its own benefits, fast digesting proteins like whey quickly increase amino acids in the blood. This suppresses your appetite and creates feelings of fullness.
Other whey-specific characteristics, such as the prevalence of glycomacropeptide (GMP), may also play a role in suppressing appetite because it stimulates a hormone called cholecystokinin. Cholecystokinin helps regulate appetite and digestion by slowing the process of emptying food from your stomach.
Increases Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
Trans fats get a bad reputation. Although many trans fats do indeed harm your body, natural trans fats like Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) are actually healthy fats that can provide many benefits.
There is much more CLA in grass-fed whey than in grain-fed whey, meaning grass-fed whey is more likely to impart CLA’s possible fat burning and weight loss powers. CLA increases the specific proteins and enzymes necessary for fat breakdown, and it may also help reduce appetite, making it a helpful supplement for weight loss.
CLA may also boost your energy levels, meaning you can burn more calories while working out as this omega-6 fatty acid burns fat.
In addition to helping reduce bodily fat, CLA may also help retain lean muscle mass during weight loss.
Protein Powders That Fit Your Needs
BioHealth Nutrition offers protein powders that are vegan, 100% plant-based, or grass-fed, so you can find a protein powder that fits your dietary needs. All of our whey proteins are sourced from pasture-fed cows to ensure that you’re getting the cleanest proteins with remarkable results.
BioHealth is one of the first all-natural health supplement brands, with no added fillers and exceptional flavors like vanilla, chocolate, horchata, chocolate peanut butter, and strawberry shortcake. Our special edition Precision ISO CAFÉ Protein even has real caffeine, perfect for your morning latte.
Home | Food Safety and Inspection Service
Whey protein: Health benefits, side effects, and dangers | Medical News Today
What Meat Labels Like 'Organic' and 'Grass Fed' Actually Mean—and Whether You Should Care | Certified Humane
The glutathione precursor N-acetylcysteine improves immune function in postmenopausal women. | Europe PMC
Effects of milk proteins on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized control trials | Nature
Here's Why You Should Switch to Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder | Eat This