‘I’m exercising daily but the weight just won’t budge!’ ‘I’m dieting strictly but the inches just don’t go!’ ‘I’m taking my protein shakes but not gaining any muscle!’

These frustrated cries fill the gym floors, the locker rooms and the nutrition cabins of thousands of gyms all over Mumbai.

We all know we need the right diet to change our body and we all do our bit.
But are we really doing all that it takes?
Transforming yourself into a toned or muscular body is actually an easy task but only if you are 100% committed to your body and its needs. Be it a fruit, a salad or a bowl of oats; be it egg whites, chicken or a whey protein shake, take every meal at the precise time and in the exact quantity required to make your body’s metabolism tick.

As a sports nutrition consultant constantly faced with clients’ imbalanced or undisciplined diets, I find that there are many who want to ‘do everything it takes’ to change their body but lack a basic understanding of the interplay of diet and protein supplements to complete an effective nutrition program.

Maybe one of these questions is yours?

Q: If I just want to lose weight, why do I need whey protein?

A: Are you kidding! Whey is your best friend – helping you get your protein no matter what your day is like!
Whey is a key factor to get rid of excess body fat while preserving the precious muscle. High-quality proteins such as whey, egg whites, skimmed paneer or chicken are a must to increase muscle activity and burn more calories throughout the day!
If a low-calorie diet is protein-deficient, it results in muscle loss – leading to weakness, hair and skin problems, faster aging and an out-of-shape flabby body.

Word of Advice:

Reverse aging instead! Drop your years and tone your body while you shed fat! Meet your protein needs with your diet and your whey. But remember, whey alone can’t make you lose fat. Get a sports nutritionist to plan out a nutritious high-fibre, low-carb diet.

Q: I’m scared that whey will make me put on weight.

A: That’s ridiculous! A pure protein such as whey is actually the lowest-calorie nutrient – burning off most of its energy in its own metabolism!
Protein is simply the raw material for repairing all body tissues, thus increasing metabolism and calorie-burn. Excess calories from carbohydrates and fats are the true cause of fat gain, not protein. Only if you consume whey with a high-calorie diet, it will make you put on weight.

Word of Advice:

Stop suspecting the whey! First get a sports nutritionist to clean out the calories in your diet! And no, don’t try this yourself at home! Consult a professional.

Q: Whey protein doesn’t suit me; it makes me feel bloated and gassy.

A: You’ve got it wrong. It’s not the whey but the lactose (originating from milk) that causes flatulence.
Many Indians face the problem of lactose intolerance, where the lactose remains undigested and causes gas formation and stomach discomfort.

Word of Advice:

Don’t avoid whey! Avoid the lactose! Go for a highly purified lactose-free whey protein isolate. This will also give you a higher protein percentage and be very light on the digestive system.
Start with just ½ scoop whey isolate once or twice a day and slowly build it up as per your requirement. Don’t forget to also avoid milk, a major source of lactose!

Q: Inspite of taking whey regularly, why have I not gained any muscle size?

A: Wake up! Taking whey alone cannot make you gain muscle! Without adequate carbohydrates to satisfy its energy needs, whey actually gets wasted for energy and cannot build muscle!
If whey is the only supplement you want to take, you must have the time and the discipline to take it along with 5-6 good-sized meals a day full of whole cereals such as oats, chapatti or brown rice.

Word of Advice:

Expand your supplement budget to include a weight gainer. Take whey, egg whites, chicken or fish with your breakfast, lunch and dinner; and take ½ serving of the weight gainer 2-3 times daily in-between meals, pre- and post-workout.

Choose your gainer carefully: for gaining muscle, rather than fat, pick up an advanced lean muscle gainer. Only if you are an underweight ectomorph with low body fat, go for a high-carb weight gainer.

Q: I’m taking one scoop whey daily after my workout, then why is there no change in my body?

A: Whey is nutrition, not magic! Whey protein is a high-quality nutrient that will only benefit the body if taken in sufficient quantity. Taking only one scoop of whey a day without meeting total protein requirement is not going to change your body.
How much whey you need depends entirely on your total protein requirement and the amount of other high-quality proteins in the diet such as: egg whites, skimmed paneer, chicken and fish.

Word of Advice:

First get your total protein requirement assessed by a sports nutritionist. This will be calculated from your exercise intensity and your lean body weight. Plan out an equal distribution of high-quality protein from food and supplement sources.
For example, if you are able to have egg whites in breakfast and any one of skimmed paneer, chicken or fish in dinner, your whey intake will be required in lunch, pre-workout and post-workout meals.
Unless you have a problem with lactose/milk digestion, take whey in skim milk pre-workout and with other meals. Only post-workout, whey is strictly taken in water.
Remember, always have whey with meals, never alone! Whey is not a substitute for food; it has to complement good-quality carbohydrates from food.
By Gauri Murthy

Printed in ‘Health Zone’, After Hrs, DNA Mumbai, India  (June 09)

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  1. Sanjay
    December 17, 2010, 12:22 PM   /  Reply

    How is Spirulina as a protein supplement? How about Ranbaxy’s Revitalite, which is also a protein supplement?

    Talked to my friends, they Protinex is no good, because it has higher content of carbohydrates and less proteins.

    Came across your site on google search. Good site with useful info.

    • December 23, 2010, 1:21 AM   /  Reply

      Hi Sanjay,
      You can use Spirulina as a rich source of vitamins and minerals but it cannot provide enough quantity of protein.
      As per its nutritional profile, Ranbaxy’s Revitalite is a blend of soya and milk, which would not be ideal as a post-exercise protein.
      In comparison, a pure whey has the highest biological value amongst all proteins and is fastest absorbed – ideal for post-exercise muscle repair and recovery.
      Yes, Protinex is higher in carbohydrates compared to protein. Since our Indian diet tends to be higher in carbs, a pure whey protein powder giving at least 70-80% protein is most suitable.

      • sanjay
        February 20, 2011, 12:35 AM   /  Reply

        Thanks for the detailed reply.

  2. santosh
    January 9, 2011, 5:30 PM   /  Reply

    i am using whey isolate, can i use it regularly or shud i take a gap??

    • January 18, 2011, 5:44 PM   /  Reply

      Of course, santosh, you can use whey isolate regularly without a gap. Whey is just a milk extract, giving you the highest-quality protein for recovery from exercise & to get leaner and fitter. Why would you want to give a gap? If you start and stop, using whey off & on, you will not get the benefit. If you use whey long-term, you will be able to maintain a nutritious diet and avoid a protein deficiency.

      • santosh
        January 20, 2011, 12:14 AM   /  Reply

        thanks a lot gauri.

  3. animefh
    October 2, 2011, 12:44 PM   /  Reply

    @gauri…..which multivitamin (cheaper) is good according to you ? whcih is good enough for daily requiremnt of guy who works out with moderate intensity ….how much should be taken when should be taken and what should be the precaution? and for how long can i take it ?

  4. gurtej
    October 4, 2011, 4:36 PM   /  Reply

    Is it neccessary to hav a regular workout if u take Whey protein..As i hav heard that if u dnt do proper workout Whey is harmful

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