Is Whey Protein Bad For You?

If you are someone that doesn’t like to burn fat and build muscle, then yea, I guess whey protein can be bad for you.  If you’re not that person, then whey protein just might be the missing piece in helping you reach your fitness goals.

If you are someone who goes to the gym or know of anyone who does, you’ve probably seen or heard guys talk about drinking protein shakes, or “BROtein” shakes as some would call it.  As with any supplement you are unfamiliar with, you go and research it to find out what it’s all about.

It’s easy to read different opinions about something that is advertised so heavily by fitness companies.  So it is understandable that when it comes to exercise, you may want to know if whey protein is good for you.  When gathering information about whey protein, knowing the types of protein that are available helps in making a choice.

Let’s first try to understand what is whey protein.

What is Whey?

Before whey became what it is today, whey was discarded during the cheese production process until further research determined that whey could be beneficial to the fitness community.  Whey is a mixture of proteins that are isolated from whey.  During cheese production, whey is the liquid part of the milk that separates the cheese.

Whey is a complete protein that contains a large amount of essential amino acids which can be absorbed quickly by the body.  This is important as the body needs help in repairing bones and torn muscles after a strength training workout.

types of whey protein

There are 3 types of proteins available.  The main difference between each of them is the way they are processed.

Concentrate – Today’s whey protein that are made from concentrate contain as high as 70-80% protein with low levels of fat and lactose.  So if you are someone who is lactose intolerant, then you may want to be aware of how your body reacts to this type of protein.  This type of protein is usually considered by some to be the best flavored.


Isolate – Contains at least 90% protein and contains less fat and lactose.  Due to the way it is processed, it may contain a lot less beneficial nutrients that are found in whey concentrate.

Hydrolysate – a form of predigested whey that gets absorbed much faster in the body than other wheys.  

It is easier to digest compared to other wheys, but due to how expensive it was and how bad it tasted, this form of whey declined in popularity.  Maybe with further research, more could have been made with this form of whey, but as for now, not many people use it.

You could find arguments on both sides of the fence when it comes to deciding between concentrate or Isolate, but understanding the science between whey protein is a complex study.  

So depending on your goals, understanding the types of whey that are available, will be helpful in choosing the right supplement to fuel you up.

benefits of whey protein

Although there are no supplements that can replace the benefits of a healthy diet that doesn’t involve processed foods, whey protein provides many benefits to anyone’s diet.  

If you are someone that is always on the go and find it difficult to find time to prepare meals, then whey protein can make life a little bit easier.  The fact that it is so easy to use, makes it such a popular choice when it comes to workout supplements.

Here are some possible benefits when it comes to taking quality whey protein:

  • Increased muscle mass and also helps increase strength.
  • Speeds up recovery time when it comes to muscle soreness.
  • Can assist in weight loss by helping burn fat and maintaining lean muscle.
  • Has been known to slow down certain kinds of cancer and the weight loss associated with cancer treatment.
  • May help in boosting the immune system.

should you use whey protein

There is a lot of skepticism about how whey protein is not good for women or how taking whey can make you gain weight.  These are myths that have been proven wrong time and again.

Whey protein is not just for body-builders and athletes.  Anyone that is working towards building muscle and losing weight can consume whey.

So if you are new to the gym or is someone who is in the gym getting quality workouts and maintaining a healthy diet which consists of lean protein, high-fiber, quality carbs, fruits and veggies, but are still not seeing results, then I would recommend trying some whey protein.  

Those consuming whey lost more body fat and was able to preserve more muscle mass.  Continue reading to learn some of the ways you can consume whey in your diet.

how to add whey protein to your diet

The great thing about whey protein is its ease of use.  You could use it in many ways, but the most popular ways are supplements, meal replacement, or in a smoothie.

Supplement – Whey protein is great for taking as a supplement to your workout. Especially after an intense workout like resistance training where muscle fibers are being torn.  Whey protein will help your body recover much quicker from the soreness you will feel due to the tearing of your muscles.

Meal Replacement – If you are someone that finds eating a meal impossible with your busy schedule, then you can add the whey protein powder and mix it as a shake or even add it to a quick bowl of oatmeal.


Smoothie – This tends to be the favorite of many as you can enjoy a tasty smoothie with the added benefits of maintaining muscle mass by adding whey to it.

when to take it

If you are going to use it to supplement your workout, then it is recommended that you take it either 30-60 minutes before or after a workout.  Because of its fast absorption, your body will be able to digest it quickly to help repair muscles much faster.  

Anytime after the 30-60 minute window is not the end of the world, but you just want to make sure you are optimizing your use of it.

Also, when taking any type of protein, just make sure to spread your protein intake throughout the day and not try and consume it all in one sitting.  As the body can only absorb 10-20 grams of protein per sitting and stores the rest as fat.  

The recommended amount of protein that should be taken daily is 46g for women and 56g for men.  Keep in mind that these are recommendations for someone that is sedentary.  There is no evidence that suggests taking more than this is bad for you if taken throughout the day.

If you are someone who’s goal is to build muscle, then increasing your protein intake is a must.  The more popular recommended amount would be 1.2 – 1.5 grams per pound of body weight. 

whey protein risks

Usually any complications that have occurred due to the use of whey protein intake had to do with digestion issues like bloating, gas, and cramps.  This is usually caused by the lactose in some whey proteins, so if you are lactose intolerant, you will have to be aware of how your body feels after digesting whey.

There are also reports of how whey protein could be bad for your kidney.  There is no evidence that suggests that, but if you are someone who has liver problems, then it is recommended that you avoid whey protein and consult with a doctor.

You will need to increase how much water you will have to drink as protein can make you very thirsty.  But hey, any reason to drink more water is never a bad thing.  Although you may have to use the bathroom a lot, but at least you get an awesome workout from all the times you will have to get up.

These are the usual complications that tend to occur after consuming whey, but nothing that would be considered life-threatening, but more so an inconvenience.


When you break it all down, whey protein is a safe and effective way to add more protein to your diet.  The quality of the protein is easy for the body to break down and absorb with few complications.

Regardless if you are a body-builder, athlete or just a regular person trying to build muscle while losing fat, then you should have no problems getting results from taking it.

Protein is a necessary nutrient when it comes to building muscle, and whey protein is one of the best there is at assisting in the muscle building process.

As always don’t be afraid to share below your experience and the results you have gotten from adding whey protein to your diet.

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 12 comments
Susan - December 5, 2016

I’m looking into getting back into the gym and would like to speed up the process of toning and building muscle. Do you think whey protein would work for me? There are so many powders on the market, so it makes it a bit confusing. I’m looking for something to speed up my results once I get back into it. by the way, I really enjoyed your website. I like how you balance the white:text. Makes it easy to read! I’ll be back to read more!

    Ralph - December 6, 2016

    Hi Susan! Amino Acid are the building blocks to muscle growth and aminos are found in protein. So yes, taking protein will help in the muscle building process. whey protein is the most popular protein to take, so I would definitely recommend it. I’m glad you enjoy the site. much more to come!

John Rico - December 5, 2016

Hi there! I have always been thinking of trying whey protein drinks. I often hear it from people in the gym and even read it online when I research about gym routines. But then, aside from it is expensive, I am skeptical about it because I am not sure if it is effective. So my question is, will this help me build lean muscle throughout my fitness journey?

    Ralph - December 6, 2016

    Hi John! I can definitely understand how easy it is to be skeptical about it with so much out there, but taking protein really helps when it comes to your workouts. Especially if you are someone that exercises with weights. Protein helps repair your muscles much quicker than someone that doesn’t take it.

Norma S. - December 5, 2016

Hi Ralph, I definitely understand the importance of protein for building and repairing muscles, body builder or not. Thanks for breaking down the different types of protein. I do use supplemental protein, but I use the raw protein (Garden of Life). I use mine because I am an organic vegetarian. Otherwise, what are the other differences when compared to whey protein? I do make a lot of smoothies, so vanilla is my ‘go to’ flavor.

    Ralph - December 6, 2016

    Hey Norma! I am also big on organic things. Maybe I should write something about protein supplements for vegetarians. The only difference I would think would be the ingredients. Smoothies is how I usually mix my protein powder as well.

Sofia - December 5, 2016

Thanks for sharing. It is pretty confusing when there are many different for names of types of proteins. Does whey cost more than concentrate or vice versa? I have read if you work out a lot, you should consume more protein than you listed in your post.

I agree, when life is too hectic and we cant prepare home made meals, protein shakes are convenient.

Thanks again,

    Ralph - December 6, 2016

    Hi Sofia! Yes I agree, depending on who’s trying to sell to you, it can get very confusing. whey isolate tends to cost more than concentrate and you are correct about how much you should consume. If you are someone who’s goal is to build muscle, than you should be taking more protein. Thanks for your comment.

bbradd - December 5, 2016

when i saw the heading of this article i must admit i panicked a little. as you can see by my picture i get my fair share of protein, both naturally and of course supplemented. i was very relieved to read that you had nothing bad to say about taking whey brotein, because i smash heaps of it! happy lifting!

    Ralph - December 6, 2016

    Haha! oh no, there a too many benefits of taking protein to ever bash it. It’s an important nutrient needed for the body to grow and develop. thanks for the comment!

Kevin McNamara - December 5, 2016

Hi there,

Enjoyed your post. I do a bit of gym work and have been looking for a protein source so this sounds good. I have also heard of soy and pea protein. Do you know much about those and how they would compare?

Any brands you recommend? I will give it a try and go for the whey concentrate as it sounds the best.

Many thanks, Kev

    Ralph - December 6, 2016

    Hey Kevin I would be careful taking too much soy, especially for men. whey concentrate should do the trick for ya. Thanks for the comment!


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