Is Whey Protein Really Good For My Child?
If you’ve searched, “Is whey protein good for children,” you may be worried about your child’s protein intake.
The International Food Information Council Foundation explains that adequate protein is essential for maintaining the body’s protein stores and keeping many bodily functions running smoothly. This is especially true for children. They continue: “Due to the demands of growth and development, getting adequate protein is particularly important during infancy, childhood, and adolescence. Protein is one nutrient that is especially well-characterized as a building block. It is stored primarily in muscle and collagen, but it is not just a supporting player. Protein and its component amino acids function as hormones, enzymes, and transporters of other nutrients.”
But what is whey protein and why does it matter? Find out how your child can benefit from whey protein and how to get more of it.
What is Whey Protein?
Whey protein can be found in baby formulas and many protein powders. It comes from cow’s milk, and is one of two proteins present, the other being casein, according to Live Science.
Live Science explains that, for many food processors, whey is preferred for its texture; as such, you may find it in ice cream, for example, as a way to use less fat while maintaining the creaminess we all know and love.
Whey can be found in many dairy products, including cheese, milk and yogurt and is commonly used as a supplement or powder. In this case, whey is what’s left behind when milk is turned to cheese, according to Operation Supplement Safety (OSS).
Like all other proteins, it acts as building blocks within the body. Whey is often discussed as a way to enhance muscle growth for adults, but is also used as a supplement a lack of protein intake in children. Children may not get enough protein as the result of picky eating or high levels of activity, in which the child needs more of this vital nutrient to grow and function properly.
When choosing between proteins, you may wonder why you’d choose whey over other options. OSS explains why:
Whey is often considered superior to other types of protein such as casein (another milk protein) and soy. This is because whey is digested more quickly than casein and soy, which leads to a rapid increase in the levels of amino acids in the body. Whey also has a higher content of leucine, an important amino acid for building muscle.”
It’s important to note, however, that casein digests slower, and can help prevent muscle breakdown, especially in the morning after fasting all night. Instead of relying only on whey protein, OSS suggests maintaining a balance of whey and casein, like what’s found in a glass of milk.
Is Whey Protein Safe for Children?
The short answer to that question is yes. Whey protein is derived from cow’s milk, a protein source that most children already rely on if they aren’t dairy or lactose intolerant. Milk, for example, is made up of 80% casein protein and the other 20% is whey. In fact, whey protein is a common ingredient found in many baby formulas and is used in these formulas because of its beneficial ingredients and safety.
However, if your child is allergic to milk or lactose intolerant, they may not be able to consume whey protein. When supplementing with whey protein, daily protein intake recommendations should be taken into consideration.
What to Look For in Whey Protein Powders
If you’ve decided to give your child whey protein powder as a nutritional supplement, be aware that not all powders are created equal. To make sure the nutritional value of the powder is adequate, and not filled with unnecessary or unhealthy ingredients, always look for brands that meet the following criteria:
- Non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organism)
- Low in added sugar
- Made with whole, natural Ingredients
- Clinically tested and/or doctor recommended
It’s always best to get approval from your pediatrician before adding any nutritional supplement into your child’s diet. Double check that your child needs extra protein, and then work with your child’s pediatrician to find the formula that’s best for their needs. (Not sure how much protein your child needs? Read our blog post, How Much Protein Does a Kid Need?
When looking for a high-quality whey protein product, check out Healthy Height Shake Mix, developed and tested by pediatricians and clinically proven to help children grow. Read more about our clinical study.
Our shake mix is a great source of whey protein, and contains vitamins and minerals that are important for a child’s diet. Check out these tasty protein powder meal ideas to find fun ways to bring Healthy Height Shake Mix into your child’s diet.
Try Whey Protein for Kids
If your child is lacking protein, a critical growth macronutrient, you may need to supplement with whey protein. As a common ingredient found in milk, there’s no danger in supplementing with whey as needed. Always speak first and foremost with your pediatrician, who can help you determine the best choice for your child’s specific needs. With enough protein and a balanced diet, your child can thrive and grow.
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