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What Is the Difference Between Whey Protein and Muscle Builder Supplements?

By Andrea Boldt

Step into almost any gym or health food store and you will find an array of protein powders and muscle builder supplements that are touted to enhance your routine. If you seek to create a lean and muscular physique, you may be tempted to try one of these products. However, determining which one is best for your needs can be daunting. Whey protein is a natural product, while muscle builder supplements usually include a number of ingredients produced or extracted in a laboratory.

About Whey Protein

Manufacturers create whey protein from the liquid leftover from boiled milk. You remove the curds that form and the leftover liquid is strained, dehydrated and pulverized into a powder. Powders that are 100 percent whey protein contain only the protein and minimal additional ingredients. Flavored whey proteins may have added sweeteners and flavorings. A serving of whey protein contains between 80 and 110 calories, depending on the brand.

Muscle Builder Supplements

Muscle builder supplements come in a number of forms. The powders usually include a variety of proteins – including soy, casein and whey -- added amino acids, sweeteners, carbohydrates and additional vitamins and minerals. Muscle builder supplement powder may contain up to 350 calories per serving. You can also find muscle-building supplements as premixed shakes with similar ingredients to the powders. Pills that promise muscle building usually contain a variety of amino acids and other substances, such as creatine, that purport to encourage muscle growth.

Whey Protein Benefits

You may take whey protein as a supplement for your workouts as the protein digests easily and delivers amino acids quickly to worked muscles to help with repair and growth. You do not have to limit your use of whey protein to the days you work out, however. It may serve as a healthy snack if you are trying to lose weight, as the protein can help you feel full for longer and reduce cravings. Consuming whey protein may also help to bolster healthy muscle mass in the elderly who lose muscle as they age, resulting in compromised daily function. Whey protein also offers immune-enhancing properties.

Muscle Builder Supplement Indications

Gym enthusiasts looking to build muscle and gain mass might choose muscle builder supplements. The combination of proteins may help give you a slight muscle-building edge, and the extra calories can encourage anabolism, or muscle growth. Supplement manufacturers may also claim that their products help you recover faster and burn fat. Unless you are undergoing a strict strength-training regimen, muscle builder supplements are probably unnecessary.


The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate supplements, so you take them at your own risk. Consult your doctor before adding any to your diet, as they may interact with medications or conditions you have. The claims made by muscle builder supplements have not been proved or controlled by the FDA. Some muscle building supplements, including steroids and human growth hormone, can be outright dangerous, causing cardiovascular complications, joint pain and organ damage.

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