While most people don't need supplemental protein, drinking whey protein to wake up is a tactic of bodybuilders or endurance athletes who seek to prevent muscle breakdown. This practice might also benefit people prone to fatigue or who have low appetites, because whey protein digests quickly and helps to stabilize blood sugar. Whey protein is a byproduct from making cheese. Consult your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet.
The most concentrated form of whey protein, whey isolate, is high in protein -- and fat and lactose are removed in processing. This form is a better choice for people with lactose intolerance than whey concentrate, the other favored form of whey protein powder. Whey protein offers a fast-digesting source of quality protein to aid in muscle recovery 1.
Whey protein has a reputation for boosting metabolism, adding to its choice as a wake-up drink, although further research is needed to confirm whether that reputation is deserved. People with lactose intolerance or a dairy allergy should check with their doctors before consuming whey protein.
Waking Up With Whey Protein
Bodybuilders, weightlifters and athletes in training often consume whey protein in the morning to reduce the risk of muscle breakdown. During times of intense training or calorie restriction, such as a wrestler or bodybuilder dieting to lose fat before a competition, there's a risk of muscle loss because of catabolism. When the body doesn't have sufficient calories to fuel the demands on it from physical activity and recovery from workouts, it breaks down healthy tissue, including muscle, for fuel.
Other people choose whey protein as a substitute for a full breakfast, believing they will get an energy boost.
Whey protein has a reputation as an energizing food, making drinking whey protein to wake up a useful strategy for people under stress. Unlike coffee, whey protein isn't addictive. Because whey protein is so easily to assimilate, it can be helpful for people at risk for nutritional deficiencies. People with HIV or AIDS might try 10 to 20 grams of whey protein daily for immune system support and weight gain, in consultation with a doctor, the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests. Taking 20 to 25 grams of whey protein is enough for possible benefits of weight management, improved body composition improvement and immune defense -- and athletes in training or competition might need 40 to 50 grams a day, according to the University of Illinois McKinley Health Center.
Whey protein is available in powder form that you can mix with water or beverages or blend with fruit and ice to make shakes. Before you go to bed, measure some whey isolate into a shaker bottle and add water. Keep it on your nightstand so you can consume it as soon as you wake up.
For a filling shake, adding fresh or frozen fruit, flavor extracts, nut butter, juice or milk can provide more flavor, calories and fiber.
A frozen banana with cocoa, blueberries with low-fat milk or peanut butter and raisins added to a serving of whey protein creates a tasty shake that gives you protein and carbohydrates to energize your morning.
- habovka/iStock/Getty Images