× HomeNutritionMuscle and trainingHealthRecipesWhat is whey protein?About
× HomeNutritionMuscle and trainingHealthRecipesWhat is whey protein?About

What is whey protein?

What is whey protein?

Whey is a naturally occurring protein formed during the cheese-making process that is low in fat and carbohydrate and high in nutritional value. Whey contains all nine essential amino acids obtained through diet and needed by the human body, and can be dried to create a powder that can be easily added to meals as a nutritional supplement.

But there’s much more to know about whey protein. We have put together 15 most frequently asked questions and their answers to give you better insights into this unique superfood:

1. Where does whey protein come from?

Whey originates from milk. When you produce cheese from milk, you get two things: cheese and whey.

Whey protein in its purest concentrated form contains little to no fat or lactose, and is a very rich source of protein and amino acids, which are needed daily by the human body.

2. Why should I consume whey protein?

Whey proteins are of very high nutritional quality and represent a valuable ingredient to include in human diets.

The building blocks of proteins are the so-called amino acids. 9 of the 20 amino acids that the body requires must be provided through diet – these are called essential amino acids.

Whey protein has a unique and a highly nutritional amino acid profile as it contains all the essential amino acids in the right proportion needed.

3. In which products can I find whey protein?

Whey protein is used in various kinds of processed foods – primarily in fresh dairy products, cheese, sport nutrition beverages and protein bars.

If a food product contains whey protein, it is declared on the ingredients list. Whey protein is also widely used in infant formula and medical nutrition.

4. What are the benefits of whey protein?

Whey protein is considered one of the highest quality dietary proteins because it contains all the essential amino acids needed by the human body including leucine, an essential amino acid well documented for its role in stimulating muscle growth. In addition, whey protein helps restore body tissue and muscle and is easily absorbed by the human body.

5. What is the amino acid profile of whey protein?

In general terms, an amino acid profile refers to the content and distribution of the different amino acids found in a protein.

Whey protein is not a single protein but rather a mixture of proteins derived from whey. The exact profile of the amino acids found in a whey protein product depends on the processing of the whey raw material.

Check this article to learn about the main amino acids found in whey protein that provide the valuable boost to our immune systems.

6. Where can I purchase whey protein?

Whey protein products can be purchased all over the world, both online and in numerous supermarkets, nutrition and health shops.

There are lots of different whey proteins available on the market. This guide will help you get an overview of the most popular ones.

7. How much protein should I consume daily?

The daily needs for protein and essential amino acids vary with each life stage, health status and lifestyle.

Daily protein needs range between 0.8 and 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

If you want to have a personalised estimated recommendation, you can take our quick protein test here.

8. Does whey protein come in different flavours?

Yes. Most whey protein products on the market have added flavours and are offered in different varieties to meet different consumer preferences.

9. How do I incorporate whey protein into my daily meals?

You can easily boost your diet with high-quality protein by incorporating whey into your daily meals. Visit our Recipes section for inspiration!

10. When is the best time of the day to consume whey protein?

In general, an even distribution of protein during the day is recommended to provide a steady supply of protein and amino acids.

11. Are all proteins the same?

No, the composition and quality of proteins depend on the type and quality of the raw material used.

12. What is the main difference between whey protein and plant protein?

Typically, animal-derived protein contains the right proportions of the essential amino acids needed by humans.

Very often proteins that originate from plants do not contain the right proportions or sometimes even lack certain essential amino acids needed in human diets. The correct combination and often larger amounts of different plant protein sources are thus needed to fulfill daily needs [3].

13. Can I consume whey protein if I’m vegetarian?

Whey protein is a great source of high-quality protein for vegetarians, flexitarians, and people looking for cutting down their meat intake.

14. Can I consume whey protein if I’m lactose intolerant?

Studies show that most people can tolerate 5g of lactose per single dose, which should make whey protein products suitable for most people. However, the degree of lactose tolerance differs from person to person.

If you are unsure about your lactose tolerance, your doctor can determine your threshold level.

15. Can I consume whey protein whilst pregnant and/or breastfeeding?

Whey protein is considered a safe food protein to ingest for all people, unless specific milk protein allergies exist.

Ingestion of whey protein as supplement can help people meet their daily protein needs and is both nutritionally efficient and easy to absorb.

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[1] http://www.fao.org/ag/humannutrition/35978-02317b979a686a57aa4593304ffc17f06.pdf[2] Br J Nutr. 2017 Feb;117(4):490-499. doi: 10.1017/S0007114517000125. “Values for digestible indispensable amino acid scores (DIAAS) for some dairy and plant proteins may better describe protein quality than values calculated using the concept for protein digestibility-corrected amino acid scores (PDCAAS)”. Mathai JK, Liu Y, Stein HH.

[3] Amino Acids. 2018 Dec;50(12):1685-1695. doi: 10.1007/s00726-018-2640-5. Epub 2018 Aug 30. “Protein content and amino acid composition of commercially available plant-based protein isolates”. Gorissen SHM1, Crombag JJR1, Senden JMG1, Waterval WAH2, Bierau J2, Verdijk LB1, van Loon LJC3.

[4] On www.WheyForLiving.com we refer to proteins with the DIAAS score 1 or above as complete proteins.