What is Whey Protein

People often turn to whey protein as an additional source of protein when they are trying to build lean muscle mass. It’s incredibly popular amongst strength trainers and athletes, but anyone can use it. Whey is actually a protein found in milk, and it can be separated from it to form a low in lactose protein product that contains all nine essential amino acids. Some research indicates that whey protein may be the best primary protein option for everyone, regardless of diet.

How is Whey Protein Made?

Essentially, whey is the liquid that separates from milk during cheese production. If you open up a yogurt or a package of cheese and see a bit of liquid on top, that is whey. Once it has separated from the cheese, whey is processed to create a powder that makes it easy to add to shakes and other recipes. You’ll notice that there are several flavors of whey protein on the market. This is because whey in its natural form does not taste very good, so flavors are added to allow people to consume it more easily. These flavors do not affect whey’s nutritional make-up.

Benefits of Whey Protein

Many people rely on whey protein to build lean muscle mass. However, it has other benefits, including:

  • Assists with weight loss.

  • Lowers cholesterol.

  • Contains anti-cancerous properties.

  • May help with asthma.

  • May help with high blood pressure or heart disease.

  • May reduce weight loss in HIV-positive patients.

Keep in mind that some people can’t process whey protein well, and for these people the  potential side effects of consuming whey protein include stomach cramps, nausea, headache, and fatigue. People who have a milk allergy may be especially prone to a whey protein intolerance, so try a little before you try a lot!

Types of Whey Protein

There are three core types of whey protein:

  • Whey Protein Concentrate: Contains low levels of fat and low levels of carbohydrates.

  • Whey Protein Isolate: Further processed to remove additional lactose and fat.

  • Whey Protein Hydrolysate: Considered “predigested” protein because it has only undergone hydrolysis.

Daily Recommendations

Whey protein is usually consumed at about 20-50 grams per day, following a workout. Many people opt to simply add it to water and drink it as a shake. You can also add other ingredients to enhance flavor or increase nutritional value. When purchasing whey for your dietary needs, make sure to read the entire list of ingredients. Some whey proteins can include refined sugar, which may be counterproductive for your health goals.

To Whey, or not to Whey?

Whey protein is a potential solution for individuals who are interested in adding more protein to their diet for specific health reasons, as it’s an excellent source of protein that is efficiently used by the body to create lean muscle. And while anybody can use whey protein to enhance their body, it is mainly bodybuilders and athletes that rely on it to meet certain weight loss and muscle gaining goals. However, bear in mind that not everyone can tolerate large amounts of protein, and you should consult a medical professional before altering your diet in any way.

Check out Honeyville’s wheat protein isolate, soy protein, and sweet whey dairy.