Discerning fitness enthusiasts always know to ask the right questions when it comes to trendy supplements. Like, is whey protein powder good for you? Sure, many use it in hopes of losing weight, getting cut and achieving their overall fitness goals. But are there dangerous side effects or unintended consequences that users should be aware of first?

Let me be the first to tell you: Yes, whey protein can be incredibly good for you. But only under the right circumstances. You can’t just take whey protein, skip the trip to the gym and then hope to see results. No, whey protein serves as a supplement to working out. When you’re lifting and doing cardio, taking whey protein after a workout can help you recover more quickly, lose weight, build lean muscle mass and generally get the results you’ve been struggling to achieve.

Here’s a look at everything you ever wanted to know about whey protein — and how it helps you reach your fitness goals.

What is Whey Protein?

Basically, there are two types of protein present in cow’s milk: whey and casein. Whey makes up about 20% of the protein found in cow’s milk, and casein makes up about 80%. Today, we’re able to separate whey protein using advanced processing. But, in years past, cheese-making was the only way to isolate whey.

Yes, cheese-making.

During the cheese-making process, curds develop and form the firm parts that we think of as cheese. After the curds form, a liquid is left behind known as “whey.” Whey includes the 9 essential amino acids, which makes it a complete protein. Whey protein is also easily absorbed by the body, which accelerates its effectiveness. It’s also known to deliver a host of other health and fitness benefits.

The Benefits of Whey Protein

There’s a reason why whey protein has become so popular among fitness junkies. It unleashes an incredible number of benefits, and it helps users reach goals that are impossible to reach through exercise and traditional dieting alone. Here’s a look at 6 benefits users can enjoy when taking whey protein:

1. Lean Muscle Development

The No. 1 reason to take whey protein is that it promotes the development of lean muscle mass. Remember how whey protein includes all 9 essential amino acids? Amino acids are the what muscles are made of. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to build, maintain or repair our muscles.

2. Boosted Metabolism

Do you ever dream of having the metabolism you once enjoyed as a teenager or young adult? Well, here’s some good news: Whey protein can burn about 50% more calories than carbohydrates or fat, which means an increased metabolism that helps you regain some of what you’ve lost through the years.

3. Increased Endurance

Whey protein can help with endurance, too. Endurance athletes rely on whey protein for the development of lean muscle mass, for the maintenance of lean muscle and for the repair of lean muscle after tough workouts. Whey protein also helps strengthen the immune system, which helps ensure you stay healthy for workout after workout.

4. Enhanced Weight Loss

Studies show that whey protein can help you lose fat while keeping your lean muscle. Simply replace traditional forms of calories with a whey protein shake, smoothie or drink, and you should begin to see weight loss results that won’t affect your muscle mass.

5. Reduced Hunger

Working out is great, but it can also make us ravenously hungry. Whey protein is known to reduce cravings and prevent snacking throughout the day. Think about it this way: Whey protein helps increase the rate at which you burn calories (metabolism), and it also helps slow your desire to consume calories. Weight loss is a natural outcome.

6. Overall Health Promotion

The list of general health benefits related to whey protein is long. It can slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol. Whey protein is almost a magic elixir that can help us become our healthiest selves.

When to Take Whey Protein

Most whey protein enthusiasts take their dosage after a workout. Why? Because that’s when they can get the maximum results related to lean muscle development and accelerated recovery. Keep in mind: Taking a whey protein powder or similar supplement will have limited benefits if you already have a high level of protein in your diet.

Whey Protein Side Effects

Not everyone will experience side effects when taking whey protein, but there are a few possible outcomes you should be aware of. Too much whey protein can lead to stomach pains and gastrointestinal issues like bloating, cramping and nausea. Also, if you’re currently dealing with kidney or liver issues, consult with a medical professional before adding whey protein to your diet.

In some rare cases, users may find that they are allergic to whey protein. In general, though, whey protein is incredibly safe, healthy and beneficial when taken in any form.

Where to Find Whey Protein

Is whey protein powder good for you? To answer the initial question: Yes, absolutely. Now it’s time to find a product you can try.

You can find whey protein at health and nutrition stores like GNC and perhaps even at your grocery store. We always recommend taking the easiest route and ordering online. In fact, we even wrote about reviews on the best whey protein for weight loss — including 5 options that you can purchase on Amazon at the click of a mouse.

What’s your experience with whey protein been like? Let us know in the comments section below, or you can always message the Review Bounce team directly through our contact page.