When you walk past the shelves of protein products in the supermarket, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. The range of the many different varieties with different flavors in brightly colored packaging is large, and they do not all look equally natural.
But the appearance can be deceiving, because in fact the whey protein itself, which is the active ingredient in the products, is a completely natural food that comes from milk. Protein makes up approximately 3.5 % of milk – and approximately 20 % of this protein is whey protein[i].
Whey is a by-product that occurs during the production of cheese. When the curd becomes firm, a thin liquid is released, which is the whey. It mainly consists of water, sugar (lactose), and minerals – but also protein of very high quality[ii].
Unlike certain plant proteins, it is very simple to extract the whey protein, and the process does not require the use of chemicals. In fact, the extraction consists entirely of a series of gentle filtration processes that allow the finished protein to retain its natural structure and function. Once the whey protein is extracted, it is spray-dried and can be used[iii].
Did you know? DIAAS shows the quality of your proteins
(Phillips SM Current concepts and unresolved questions in dietary protein requirements and supplements in adults. Frontiers in Nutrition. 2017;4:13.)
DIAAS is an abbreviation for Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score, and is a method for describing the quality of proteins in food. DIAAS is a measure of the protein’s content of essential amino acids and how well the body can absorb and use them. The higher the DIAAS score, the better the quality of the proteins in the food. Whey protein, which comes from milk, along with other animal proteins, has a very high DIAAS score.
Proteins of the highest quality
Proteins have many functions in the body and are, among other things, important for enzymes and hormones[i]. And not least, proteins are the building blocks of our body, as they are necessary to build and maintain the body’s muscles and bones.
But what are the building blocks of proteins? Proteins consist of amino acids. Nine of these amino acids are called the essential amino acids. Your body cannot produce them on its own, and therefore you must get them through your diet. Animal proteins such as whey protein contain all nine amino acids in the right amounts and are therefore considered to be of particularly high quality[iiii].
From food waste to valuable food
In the past, no attention was paid to the unique quality of whey, and it was usually just destroyed instead of being used. Fortunately, that is no longer the case. Over the past several years, the recognition of whey protein has grown. Today, whey protein is highly valued for its amazing properties and is used in everything from nutritional supplements for athletes to nutrition for children, and much more.
If you’re curious about the history of whey protein, you can learn more about it in this article.
Find out more here at WheyForLiving.com
If you want to know more about the beneficial effects of whey protein, here on WheyForLiving.com you have a wide variety of articles on health, exercise, and nutrition – as well as delicious recipes to make whey protein part of your daily cooking.
[i] Hoffmann J.R and Falvo M.J. Protein – which is best?. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. 2004; 3:118-130.
[iii] Savino P. Knowledge of constituent ingredients in enteral nutrition formulas can make a difference in patient response to enteral feeding. Nutrition in Clinical Practice. 2017; 33(4).
[iiii] Gorissen S.H.M, Crombag J.J.R, Senden J.M.G, Huub Waterval W.A, Bierau J, Verdijk L.B and van Loon L.J.C. Protein content and amino acid composition of commercially available plant‑based protein isolates. Amino Acids. 2018; 50:1685-1695.
Whey protein makes up to ~20% of total protein in cow’s milk, proteins in general make up to ~ 3,4- 3,6% in milk