Whey protein is a protein found in dairy products. It contains essential amino acids necessary so that your body can function properly. Often in powder form, whey protein can be added to liquids, foods, or smoothies. People take whey protein supplements to improve physical performance and address nutritional deficiencies. But not too many people know what is in whey protein.
What Is Whey Protein?
Whey is the liquid part of milk that separates during cheese production. Milk contains two types of proteins, casein (80%) and whey (20%). When cheese is produced, the fatty parts of the milk coagulate (change into a solid), and the liquid whey is separated from it as a byproduct.
After being separated, whey goes through processing to become what people recognize as whey protein, a powder added to shakes, meal replacements, and protein bars. Because whey protein doesn’t taste good on its own, manufacturers have come up with flavored variants. Chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry are the three most popular flavors.
What Exactly Is in Whey Protein?
Whey is more than just protein. It also contains nutrients such as lactoferrin, alpha-lactalbumin, beta-lactoglobulin, and immunoglobulins. Beyond boosting muscle mass and strength, whey protein provides other health benefits.
It includes lowering blood pressure and blood sugar and reducing symptoms of stress and depression. Whey protein also increases bone mineral density, protects against cancer, and improves immune function. It is high in cysteine, an amino acid that raises levels of glutathione, the main antioxidant in your body’s cells.
Types of Whey Protein
There are three types of whey protein.
- Whey protein concentrate – About 70 to 80% protein; contains some lactose (milk sugar). It is low in carbohydrates and fat.
- Whey isolate – Contains 90% protein or higher; undergoes further processing to remove fat and lactose. Usually contains fewer nutrients than whey protein concentrate.
- Whey protein hydrolysate – Also known as hydrolyzed whey, this type is pre-digested so it can be absorbed faster. It has undergone partial hydrolysis, a process necessary for the body to absorb protein.
Overall, whey protein concentrate is the best option for most people. It is affordable and retains many of the beneficial nutrients naturally found in whey. But if you are lactose intolerant, whey protein isolate may be a better option.
Final Review of What is in Whey Protein
So what is in whey protein? Whey is more than just a protein source. It is considered a complete protein, as it contains all nine essential amino acids. Whey protein also contains other important nutrients. It can help you increase strength, build muscle, and lose fat. Click here to find the best whey protein powder supplements available on the market today.