What Is Whey Protein?
Whey protein contains an incredible range of essential amino acids, which are absorbed quickly
Numerous studies show that it can help you increase strength, gain muscle and lose significant amounts of body fat. However, whey is more than just protein. It contains many other nutrients, some with potent biological effects.
In fact, it’s one of the best-studied supplements in the world.
This is a detailed article about whey protein — what it is, how it works and how it can help you achieve your fitness and health goals.
Whey protein is a mixture of proteins isolated from whey, which is the liquid part of milk that separates during cheese production.
Milk actually contains two main types of protein: casein (80%) and whey (20%).
Whey is found in the watery portion of milk. When cheese is produced, the fatty parts of the milk coagulate and the whey is separated from it as a byproduct.
If you’ve ever opened a yogurt container to see liquid floating on top — that’s whey. Cheesemakers used to discard it before they discovered its commercial value.
After being separated during cheese production, whey goes through various processing steps to become what people generally recognize as whey protein — a powder that is added to shakes, meal replacements and protein bars.
Whey protein doesn’t taste very good on its own, which is why it’s usually flavored. Chocolate-, vanilla- and strawberry-flavored powders are popular.
It’s important to read the ingredients list, as some products may have unhealthy additives like refined sugar.
Taking whey protein is a convenient way to add protein on top of your daily intake.
This can be important for bodybuilders and gym enthusiasts, as well as people who need to lose weight or are simply lacking protein in their diet.
Most flavored whey proteins are also rather delicious and can be used to add an incredible taste to healthy recipes like smoothies.
Whey is generally well tolerated, though people with lactose intolerance need to be careful, and some people may even be allergic to it.
Proteins are the main building blocks of the human body.
They’re used to make various important things, including tendons, organs and skin, as well as hormones, enzymes, neurotransmitters and various molecules.
Proteins are also the building blocks of the contractile elements in your muscles.
They’re assembled from amino acids, smaller molecules that are linked together like beads on a string.
Some amino acids are produced by your body’s cells, while others are supplied by the food you eat. The ones that you must get from foods are termed essential amino acids.
Proteins that supply all nine essential amino acids are the best, and whey protein is loaded with them.
It’s particularly high in important branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) like leucine, and also contains a high amount of cysteine.
Studies show that leucine is the most anabolic (growth-promoting) amino acid, and cysteine can help boost levels of the cellular antioxidant glutathione.
Whey protein appears to be particularly effective at stimulating growth in humans. In fact, human breast milk is 60% whey, compared to 20% in cow’s milk