TIP: Avoid whey protein when burning fat!
A LOT of people following the slow carb diet to burn fat are getting lazy and using protein powders to meet the '30g of protein within 30 minutes of waking' requirement. Unfortunately, this may derail your fat-loss efforts, not solely because of the sucralose (which is still), but also because whey protein spikes your insulin. And since the whole point of slow-carb is to avoid insulin spikes, this is definitely something you want to avoid. Contrary to popular belief, it's not the lactose/milk sugar that causes an insulin spike, according to , it's the whey protein in milk that's responsible for the majority of the insulinotropic effects of milk. So, in terms of cheating, drinking whey protein for breakfast is akin to drinking milk for breakfast.
Straight from the Myoplex Product Guide:
"Myoplex is not the best choice prior to going to going to bed. As it has a mid-range Glycemic index rating, it will provoke more of an insulin response than you are looking for right before going to sleep."
Whey protein isolate was designed to be consumed after your workout, where an insulin spike is desirable/intentional in order to deliver essential protein & nutrients to your muscles as quickly as possible. It's one of the fastest absorbing proteins available and is fully digested by your body within an hour. That means if you drink whey in the morning, not only will your insulin spike and turn off your fat-burning switch, but you'll be hungry again within an hour.
Curiously enough, Tim is aware of this, yet still gives unflavored whey protein the 'ok' on a recent blog post:
"It's true that whey is partially (or wholly) responsible for the insulinemic response of most dairy, but avoiding lactose seems to be more directly correlated to faster fat-loss in the diet subjects I've tracked."
Instead of using whey, there's a slow-burning lactose-free protein that won't spike your insulin called casein or micellar protein, the protein found in cottage cheese. Analagous to the beans, it's a time-released protein that digests slowly and delivers a steady stream of protein to your body over several hours without spiking your insulin. So for all you slow carbers out there using whey, I highly recommend experimenting with casein for your breakfast shakes and reserve the whey protein only for after your workout.
(P.S. For those of you taking BCAAs, they are also insulinotropic, so use them accordingly!)
Update: After thinking about this some more, all foods cause some kind of insulin increase, it the timing that you want to worry about. Drinking 30g of pure whey when you wake up is probably fine, but combining whey with foods should definitely be avoided. When you wake up, your body is in a semi-starved state and your muscle glycogen will be depleted, so your body should be able to absorb 30g of whey protein since it's only about 120 calories, and the insulin spike may be desirable in this situation (Tim's dad's story). However, combining whey with a proper 400 calorie breakfast is probably not a good idea since the insulin spike will be even greater in the presence of carbs and will convert any unused calories into fat. So if you do decide to drink whey in the AM, wait an hour before eating breakfast.
The Best Answer
I have to say I immediately stalled after adding the whey. I think I made the mistake of reading the 'common errors' and then thought if I applied everything at once I would lose weight like mad. But when adding PAAG, whey, ice cold showers... all at once I was no longer sure what was working or not. I'm going back to the start. Then add in PAAG after a couple weeks, then compare. Then consider whey. I think a lot of us put the book down and think we're going to have amazing bodies in 3 weeks. I think in 3 weeks you can set a lot in motion. But the real heart of the book is learning what works for your body & paying attention. It happens fast but it can stop fast too.
I have been having a protein shake for breakfast as soon as I get up every day with 80 grams of whey. I find this much easier than trying to eat food first thing in the morning. I have noticed that my shirts are getting looser and I am consistently losing 1-3 pounds every week.
After reading this tip I went online to research this and all of the studies I have found so far show whey is awesome at increasing insulin sensitivity and fat loss and maintaining lean mass as opposed to the control groups even if they lost the same amount of weight. They also show many other health benefits for whey protein.
I would suggest to anybody to really do some hardcore research for themselves before adding or subtracting whey, and then experiment for yourself to see what happens.
Hmm.....interesting. Note, EVERY BODY is different and while some will react positively some will not. I do use whey protein and egg white protein - no sugar, no added sweetners, nothing artificial. However, its not the first thing I consume and its not on a daily basis. I use it after a workout. It absorbs quickly into the body therefore burning more fat. I mix half of each - whey and egg.
I read in one of the answers that someone had an hour commute and was drinking whey on the way to work....try egg white protein powder. (Jay Robb is super clean).
I thought the objective of the SCD is to keep the insulin steady. Hence, this is one reason(besides getting the metabolism rocking) we eat within 30 minutes and within every 4 hours of being awake.
Eating to lose weight is a science pure and simple. It truly is all about being on target with food. Using food to fuel your body to have more energy to be more efficient, healthy and fit is essential. Add in exercise and eating the right combinations at the right times makes a huge difference.
Weight loss from week to week is going to change - its not going to be consistency 5lbs or 2 lbs. Or even 10lbs. If you are adding muscle you may actually gain a bit...and so on.
In regards to eating first thing in the morning - I suggest making it as whole as you possibly can. Breakfast will set the tone for the rest of the day.
So is Whey protein Isolate(WPI) fine? Just in the morning? I usually start the day with a scoop of WPI, scoop of Casein (almost 40G protein between the two) some raw Cacao, Psyllium powder, cinnamon, a little vanilla and some stevia.
And then have a 50/50 mix a few times a day between meals to keep the metabolism going/meet my protein goal.
Laura - THANK YOU! You hit the nail on the head. My husband has 1 hour commute and some mornings (the past 2 weeks) we have been doing a whey shake (no sweeters, additional flavors, etc) and our fat loss has completely stalled. It also is making me more interested in sweets during the day vs. the days I have a 'real' food breakfast.
So even though everything spikes our insulin, I am seeing the whey have very negatives effects, and was just thinking it was me - so thank you for your post. Time to get up 30 minutes *earlier* and make a real breakfast.
So to summarize, Whey should not be used to boost the amount of protein for breakfast past the 30g mark. At least not unless the protein was coming only from Whey. Does that sound about right?
I do agree though. I was going along nicely and added Whey protein with water to my morning breakfast and stalled the fat loss pretty much immediately. I did see Tim's remark on unflavored whey but took it to mean that Whey was okay as long as it was Lactose free (like Hyrdowhey), but since I can't get Hydrowhey where I live, does anyone want to test theory for me?
hey Laura! doesnt micellar casein protein contain more dairy and lactose than a lot of other options, including whey?
Wouldnt that go against one of the principles? Just asking question, i have no idea if it works that way!!
Either way, going on your update, I will continue to have my whey in the mornings and just save the eggs for an hour or two later.
Laura, thanks for posting this. (Though I couldn't read the contents of your link because it requires membership). I started googling whey protein this AM. Anecdotally, looking at myself, I think whey protein impacted my week 2. Week 1 I lost 5 lbs. And then on week 2 I only lost 2lbs. I remember consuming whey protein several mornings in Week 2 last week (and even in between meals) because I was lazy to consume protein from whole foods. I'm on week 3 now and I will consume the whey protein only after workouts.
This just seems like common sense to me. Anything in a powder form is going to break down faster and spike insulin. I know Tim suggests adding peanut butter in order to lower the GI level but I know what protein shakes do to me. I feel the spike, and then the crash afterwards.
It makes total sense that people are losing all their progress when they try to cut corners by ruining the first meal of the day.
I just started reading posts here yesterday but I have to repeat a question someone else was asking in another thread. Doesn't anyone read the book before starting the diet or coming here to post?? I've seen this protein shake question about five times already.
Thanks for the post Laura!
I switched to whey protein shakes for breakfast just over two weeks ago and have not seen any stalling in fat loss. Interestingly though, my cheat days are taking longer to reverse. Before if I had my cheat day on the Saturday I would be back to my lowest weight by Tuesday morning. Now I'm stalling for a couple of days and then the weight drops back off by about Thursday. Weekly weight loss is still similar though.
Will look at removing this when I inevitably stall. Solids are still making me gag sometimes early in the morning, so this makes things much more palatable.
Wow - there's a lot of great conversation on this topic. As someone who has stalled almost from the start, I'm going to test whether my whey protein shake in the morning might be the culprit. This is certainly frustrating and confusing considering how protein shakes are suggested to be OK in the book.
Anyway, my question is how to apply this knowledge with respect to morning workouts. I want to start the 'perfect posterior' workouts but am struggling to know how to align it with SCD principles. I thought that drinking a whey protein shake before heading to the gym might be a fair compromise, but I'd like to cut the whey for now and test results.
I could have a couple hard boiled eggs while driving to the gym to satisfy the "eat within 30 min of waking up" rule and I don't think it would make for an unpleasant workout. Some have said working out on an empty stomach might be better for fat burning though.
After working out, should I have a whey (or casein?) protein shake waiting for me in the car? Or should I get to work (which will be 2hrs after waking) and have a normal meal (turkey, beans, broccoli, etc)?
So these are my dilemmas:
- Eat prior to working out or go on an empty stomach? - recognizing that with waking up, driving to the gym, etc it'll be 30 min at least until I'm working out and probably 1.5 hrs after waking until I'm done and ready to eat.
- Insert whey somewhere in the protocol ... before a workout? immediately after? If I have a lot of weight to lose (40+ lbs), so I skip the whey? Or do the benefits to whey related to muscle growth mean I should have something?
- If yes to a protein shake, what kind immediately before/after a workout? Whey/Casein?
Ultimately, I'll need to experiment and find what works. But I thought I'd ask around to see if I can find any shortcuts. Thanks in advance!
I think I have to agree I hav been working an odd shift this week have to get up at 3am to b to work by 5 long commute. I did protein shakes for breakfast all week just the shake then 3 hours later real protein. I kept everything else the same and gained 2 lbs so have to figure out what I can do for a grab and go for this week till I am back on track
I very rarely have a shake for breakfast, only if I've been lazy and not pre-made my breakfast quiche. However if I do it is always after 20 mins on my spin bike, so does that make it ok or is whey better after a weights workout?Also what kind of protein do you have in your shake that Tim prescribes in the book, my partner is on Occam's and has very low carb whey protein in his shake, he has put on quite abit of fat since being on Occams would casein protein in his morning and night prescribed shake help this?Thanks
I appreciate the info but am very disappointed. I use a whey powder with a touch of stevia, mix it with water and spinach for my breakfast. I just can not stomach eating breakfast before work and it seems to be my only solution. I'll look for the powder you suggested because I am having a slow weight loss. Thanks Laura!
So is there an official verdict for whey post/during-workout? I saw one comment saying it might be better not to but most comments seem to concern it as a breakfast replacement. If dropping whey post workout what would be the next best thing (i.e. fastest absorbed). Right now I'm doing a modified last mile (essentially ckd) and want to avoid muscle loss as much as possible but it seems like my fat losses have been minimal at best, even though I get stricter and stricter each week and I'm wondering if whey might be the culprit. Any insight would be much appreciated.
Also if it makes any difference the protein powder I've been using is a whey isolate/ micellar casein blend (1 or 2 scoops)
I thought about this as soon as I read it in 4HB. Here are my thoughts on it...
Tim acknowledges that whey protein spikes your blood sugar, and as such provokes an insulinemic response, yet he says something like it seems not to be detrimental in the cases he's observed.
Well, think about it-- Before the book, people weren't doing the SCD on such a large scale and looking for 30g of protein within 30 minutes of waking up. This is conjecture, but I think it's fairly safe to assume he was observing bodybuilders take whey protein supplements in order to build muscle, as these are historically the users of high-quality BCAA supplements such as whey protein.
Well exercise has an effect much like the pAGG stack-- Recruitment of glucose transporters to the surface of muscle cells-- which means that instead of needing an insulin response to lower blood sugar, muscle cells are happy to sop up the excess glucose, meaning they can use it for energy that they need. This is why Tim encourages air squats and wall pushups before cheat meals. This is also one of the reasons why whey protein is so valuable in bodybuilding: the muscle cells get a lot of proteins and a lot of energy to fuel the anabolism that takes place after a workout.
There's a pubmed or PNAS study I've read on this that I'm having trouble locating, but suffice it to say it's out there, and the above claim isn't just wild conjecture-- that actually happens. I'll post a link if and when I locate it again.
So that means that taking whey protein in conjunction with other foods but not after exercise will provoke an unfortunate insulinemic response that will stall fat loss (by virtue of making new fat), whereas taking it after exercise should have an effect of increasing muscle mass while not producing that nasty insulin response. Taking it in the morning, as Laura said, shouldn't involve eating anything else so that you don't couple a huge blood sugar, and thusly insulin spike to your protein supplementation.
Would this be ok?
"Micellar Casein from Reflex Nutrition is an instant mixing time-release protein product, it is made from fresh skimmed milk. It is not to be confused with acid casein or caseinates which are made using manufacturing processes which can denature the protein. The protein found in Reflex Micellar Casein is un-denatured, providing approximately 80% Casein protein and 20% Whey protein"
Each(45g) serving contains:
of which sugars 1.2g
of which saturate 0.4g
Heres the website...
If not, any suggestions? I live in ireland and am very new to all this
Laura please help!
I understand the hesitation to drink whey protein shakes in the morning and realize this may contribute to a stall if someone is doing this. However, I'm curious about the protein pancakes. You talk about these in another post and I'd really like to be able to eat these some mornings if I don't have time for my typical eggs, beans, salsa and greens omelet. Does this constitute as "having whey with other food?"
If so then when exactly are you eating the protein pancakes? I love the idea of preparing a lot of these in advance and freezing them for those mornings I wake up super early knowing I have to eat but want to go back to bed afterward.
Also if you know of any other ways to get a "quick" meal by preparing in advance and freezing or something to that extent I would be open to trying a new recipe.
Thanks so much! I really appreciate your help with this!
I'm just so confused now
I understand it is "bad" to have protein shake for breakfast, but what after a workout??
I just came back from a very intense kettlebell workout and prepared a protein shake with a all natural Gluten free Pure whey protein isolate () which has 1g of carbs, 28g or protein. Added to that spinach, unsweetened original almond milk, chia seeds.......
Then I came to check some info on the forum and found this thread. I ended up throwing out the mix and have a regular meal (salmon and veggies) but I'm just all confused now.
I really need to loose that last 10 pounds of fat, so I don't want a protein shake to stall my progress! Especially not after a hard workout....
Please help!! Once and for all!
Should I take another kind of protein powder (gluten free) or not drink calories at all? Have a regular meal made of 30g of protein of meat?
This is an interesting finding since Tim's dad found quite the opposite effect from Whey. For the last 2 weeks I've switched to Whey in the morning primarily to reduce my fat intake and focus more on lean protein. I may switch back to a whole food breakfast #1starting in March to see if it makes any difference.
It also makes no sense cause powder is double expensive than egg at itself!
I calculated and come to follow results:
Full Egg contains 0.45 oz protein / 3.5 oz full egg. 3.5 oz cost ~ 1.27€
Self separated egg white contains 0.39 oz protein / 3.5 oz. 3.5 oz cost ~ 2.12€
Whey Isolate contains 3.13 oz protein / 3.5 whey isolate. 3.5 oz cost ~ 2.80€
I read your posts with interest. I have been on the SCD for 5 weeks and I just can not stomach breakfast. This week I have introduced "Bluebonnet 100% All Natural Whey Protein Isolate Powder" and acutally tastes really nice when mixed with water. The powder is sugar and artificial sweetner free plus low calorie. I hope this does not stall my fat loss as you say it may. I will see when I weigh in this weekend. If I have stalled would you recommend a switch to the Soya based protein powder?
I use this and mix it with water instead of milk.
No Artificial Colours, Flavours, Sweeteners, Preservatives, Starch, Milk, Lactose, Gluten, Wheat, Yeast, Fish or Porcine.
This is ok right?
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