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Whey protein is a calorically efficient, versatile source of high-quality protein, protein fractions, and amino acids. Nobody needs it, but a lot of runners choose to incorporate it into their diet to meet their protein needs. Like powdered greens, whey protein can be added to foods you’re eating already, such as smoothies and oatmeal, to provide a targeted nutritional boost. The best time to use it is immediately after a run, when your body needs protein for muscle recovery.