What is Whey Protein ?
When milk is curdled and cheese is taken out by straining the liquid, the remaining liquid is called whey. Manufacturers of cheese and casein produce whey protein as a byproduct. Whey protein supplements are widely used by bodybuilders as a protein supplement. Whey contains, serum albumin, alpha and beta lactalbumin and immunoglobulin proteins.
During the curdling process of cow milk the leftover liquid is called whey. In this process when the pH of milk drops below 4.6, everything that is soluble in milk is left, and coagulated milk in form cheese is separated. This liquid is processed by drying to produce whey protein supplements. The whey liquid is a 5 % solution of some protein and lactose and some lipids. The protein content in whey supplements can be increased by removing the sugar and fat part of the whey liquid.
Availability of whey protein supplements in finished products
Whey produced commercially is available in four different forms as follows
Whey protein concentrates (WPC)
Whey concentrate powder contains up to 80% of protein by weight The remaining 20 % content is fat and carbohydrates. The concentrate contains higher amount of carbohydrate in comparison to other forms of whey.
Whey protein isolate (WPI)
This contain up to 90% of protein after removal of more fat and carbohydrates from the whey liquid.
Whey Protein Hydrolysates (WPH)
This type of whey is further processed to provide a form of protein that is predigested. For easier metabolism and absorption WPH is preferred over other forms of protein. However they are costlier. Whey protein hydrolysates are less allergenic.
Native Whey protein : This is produced by extracting it from skim milk. This is not a byproduct of curdling.
Different whey proteins are widely marketed as dietary supplement.
Benefits of Whey protein
Whey protein is taken alongside resistive exercises in order to facilitate muscle protein synthesis. This also helps in weight loss and lean muscle mass development.
Whey protein intake helps in lowering cholesterol. According to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, cholesterol intake helps in lowering LDL in a study group in comparison to those who were administered with casein.
Studies also claim that whey protein has anticancer properties and helps in treatment of cancer.
Helps in reduction of blood pressure and risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. A study published in the International Dairy Journal claimed that, beverages supplemented with whey protein and consumed by people showed a decreased level of blood pressure and lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
There are several other studies published in international journals which claim that, Whey protein supplements help in treating asthma and also reduce the weight loss in HIV patients.
Risks: Mild Nnausea and headache could be experienced in some consumers. However moderate doses of Whey protein supplements do not pose any serious health risks.
Whey is an excellent supplement for lean muscle mass growth and preferred by people who are allergic to milk protein. Whey protein isolates and hydrolysates are also preferred by people who want better lean muscle mass growth and better metabolism respectively. However its is also important that when consuming these protein one should be considering the whole picture and take professional advice.