What is Whey Protein? – The Complete Guide

I’m sure I can relate to a lot of you when I say, that whey protein was my first supplement when I started. All my friends praised it as the key to quick gains.

I eventually caved and got it to pursue my dreams of getting big, but I didn’t really know anything about it.

Now, I can confidently tell you everything pertaining to whey protein through experience and research.

What is Whey protein?

We’ll start off simple with, what is whey protein made of?

Whey protein is a protein assortment found in whey, a fluid portion of milk that becomes estranged during the process of production of cheese.

Milk consists of two significant kinds of protein; 20 % whey and 80% casein. Whey is contained in the fluid part of milk and during the production of cheese, the oily portion of the milk clots.

Whey is the byproduct of this process and is separated from the cheese. An example of whey is when you open a container of yogurt, and you see some liquid floating at the top. The volatile substance is whey. Before cheese producers knew whey’s marketable value, they usually threw it away.

Whey undergoes many processing stages to become what we identify as whey protein after its separation during the production of cheese.

As we know it, it is a powder that is added to protein bars, shakes, and even used as meal substitutes. Most of the time, whey protein has additional flavor since it does not have a very high taste. The prevalent flavors are strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla.

For people who enjoy smoothies, flavored whey protein adds more flavor to their smoothies, making them more delicious.

Before purchase, you are advised to read through the ingredients because some ingredients like refined sugar can be unhealthy. Otherwise on top of your daily consumption, adding whey protein to your diet is a suitable way to increase your protein.

Individuals who are lactose intolerant and, or even allergic to whey protein, need to be careful. Anyhow, whey is mostly stomached well.

Proteins contained in whey are high quality as they contain vital amino acids, including cysteine and Leucine. Proteins are bodybuilders.

Proteins help in the creation of many important things, such as hormones, tendons, skin and organs, enzymes, molecules, and even neurotransmitters.

Types of Whey Protein

Majorly, there are three categories of whey protein. They comprise; whey protein isolate (WPI), whey protein concentrate (WPC), and whey protein hydrolysate (WPH).

They are discoursed below:

1. Whey protein isolate (WPI)

These are additionally treated to eradicate all of the lactose and fat. Customarily, whey protein isolate is made up of 90 % protein.

It is fit for people who want to carefully limit their intake of carbohydrates, fats and lactose.

This type of whey protein is more expensive that whey concentrate.

2. Whey protein concentrate (WPC)

It has little intensities of carbohydrates and low intensities of fat. The protein fraction in WPC is reliant on its concentrate.

Concentrates on the lower end are inclined towards having 30 % protein, and those on the higher end are inclined towards 90% protein.

It contains fat and lactose and usually has the best flavor out of the three types.

3. Whey protein hydrolysate (WPH)

This one is deliberated as the pre-digested type of whey protein. This is because it has now gone through fractional hydrolysis, making it very easy to absorb.

It is also referred to as whey that has been hydrolyzed and when equated to whey protein isolate; it bases a more significant increase in insulin levels.

Incomplete hydrolysis is a process that is important to absorb protein into the human body. Whey protein hydrolysate does not need as much digestion as WPC and WPI.

Besides, whey protein hydrolysate is usually used in formulas given to infants and in medicinal protein complements due to its reduced allergen potential and enhanced digestibility.

What works for you

If you aim to begin taking whey protein, consider whey concentrate. Not only is it affordable, but it also preserves the maximum amount of nutrients occurring naturally in whey protein.

Nevertheless, if you are stringent on the number of fats and carbohydrates you take in, the hydrolysate and the isolate types of whey may be a better alternative. Whey protein hydrolysate’s allergenic potential is also little, thus safe.

Whey supplements and protein powders are an active and healthy way to add more protein to your diet. It is an astrophysical source of protein that is effortlessly absorbed into your body.

For enthusiasts of the gym and bodybuilders, whey is significant.

Other categories of people who can consume whey protein are those who lack sufficient protein in their diet and those who need to lose weight.

Protein is one of the adequate nutrients that are available for human beings. Therefore, anyone who wants to add weight can purchase whey protein as it helps in gaining muscle and losing fat.

You can mix it in your smoothies, take it as it is in powder form or mix it in your food.

If you are aiming to lose weight, you can begin a weight loss routine with whey protein. It will preserve lean muscle, increase your metabolism rate, and help you to lose extra weight.

It can also function as a meal supplement because it helps you fill up fast and prevents you from experiencing a lot of hunger spasms.

Hunger spasms are why we always end up overeating.

Benefits of Whey protein

Whey protein offers a lot of benefits. First, it improves BCAA and protein intake in your body.

Proteins contain amino acids, and while our bodies produce a segment of the amino acids in our bodies, the rest is from the food we consume.

Amino acids from the food we consume are known as essential amino acids, and whey protein contains a total of nine vital amino acids.

Additionally, essential amino acids are high in vital Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs).

An example of this is Leucine, an amino acid that promotes muscle growth.

Leucine consists of cysteine, which boosts the levels of glutathione. Glutathione is a cellular antioxidant. Whey is maximally operational for encouraging growth in human bodies.

The percentage of whey in human beings breast milk is 60 %, while milk from a cow contains 20 % whey.

1. Helps with hunger

Whey protein has got an implausible outcome in matters concerning satisfaction. When it comes to satiety, proteins are categorized as the highest amongst each macronutrient available.

It upsurges energy disbursement, harmonizing the number of calories that you consume.

Research shows that if you eat a quarter of your day to day necessities in protein, you can cut down your hunger spasms by 60%. Therefore, if you pool whey protein with lifting weights, you can lose weight easier, thus increasing the mass of your lean muscle.

2. lower cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fat-like constituent that is waxy and found in most cells of your body.

To make some hormones, vitamins such as vitamin D, and other elements that aid in food digestion, our bodies require cholesterol.

3. recovery from exercise

Whey, as said by researchers, can increase your athletic abilities.

Ingesting whey protein, therefore, can improve your speed as you run and aid to better your recovery after you work out.

4. Regulates your blood pressure

When whey protein powder is used by people with hypertension, it can help reduce their blood pressure.

It can also acts as a preventative against one developing a potential risk of heart attacks.

5. Improves muscle mass and increases your strength

Through freeing anabolic hormones like insulin that is accountable for the growth of your muscles, whey protein improves your muscle mass, and increases pour strength.

Whey’s leucine motivates muscle protein amalgamation in your body. The protein and amino acids it contains boost muscle growth.

6. Can prevent allergic reactions and eczema in children

Whey protein can be helpful to infants given this mixture of protein in the first three to twelve months.

It decreases the risks of developing allergic reactions and developing red and itchy skin.

Nevertheless, if the infant has grown beyond twelve months, giving them whey protein will not have any influence on their fight against these situations.

7. Supplementary health benefits

The other benefits of whey protein powder are that it comprises of some anti-cancerous assets, it may protect you against the signs and symptoms of psoriasis, and can also improve your immunity.

It can also reduce the symptoms of hepatitis and intensify your bone mineral density.

Benefits for building muscle

Building your muscles and increasing your strength is one of the common uses of whey protein powder.

It is prevalent in fitness models, gym enthusiasts, athletes, bodybuilders, and individuals who want to improve their gym performances.

Protein powder stimulates our muscle gain and strength through;

1. Hormones

They intensify the production of anabolic hormones, which can encourage the growth of muscles. Such hormones can include insulin.

2. Quick absorption

The absorption and utilization of whey protein powder are fast compared to the other types of proteins.

3. Building blocks

Whey protein makes amino acids and proteins available, and they act as building blocks that can increase the growth of your muscles.

4. Leucine

Whey contains Leucine, which has a high amount of amino acid leucine.

This is known to increase muscle protein production at the genetic and molecular levels.

Whey is known to be very useful in improving your muscle development when it is ingested after a workout, during or right before.

compared to other Proteins

A contemporary study gave conclusions that our entire protein consumption is the most relevant factor in muscle development.

Other types of protein, like soy protein, when compared to whey protein, give the impression that whey protein performs slightly better than the rest.

Casein protein, when compared to whey, gives a more mixed opinion on which one works better than the other. Whey is seen to be short term, while casein improves muscle development for a longer period. The outcome is, therefore, alike.

Lest your daily diet does not contain protein, complementing your diet with whey is not likely to have a substantial influence on your outcome.

A review of older people who have an adequate intake of protein and practice resistance training revealed that there is no metamorphosis in muscle development when you complement it with carbohydrates or whey protein. Consequently, the proof of whether whey protein increases the development of muscles and strength is mixed and varies between different individuals.

If you are already consuming adequate amounts of fish, meat, dairy products, eggs, all of which have high protein content, the paybacks of adding a whey protein can possibly be very minimal.

Side Effects

Research done on rodents proves that when exercise is complemented by whey protein, effects in significant muscle and weight increase.

Depending on your goals, that can be either positive or negative.

Additionally, whey protein can cause discomfort in the stomach with bloating. Whey protein can be paired with a digestive enzyme. This will help in breaking down the whey more so that your body can be able to absorb and digest the required nutrients, and the amino acids occurring naturally.

When you purchase whey protein, ensure that you locate the products that are made of grass-fed and organic whey. When you think about it, whey is a dairy product, and just like you would purchase milk from healthy cows, then you want your whey to be from a source of high quality.

Another possible side effect is that whey protein can aggravate previous harm, but cannot harm your kidneys or your liver. Individuals with kidneys or livers that are damaged should be cautionary when increasing their protein intake without the doctor giving them the go-ahead.

Protein powder usually has added sugar and even fat as ingredients. This adds to your consumption of carbohydrates. Therefore, instead of increasing your protein ingestion to get rid of more calories, you end up increasing the amount of unwanted fat in your body.

If you have heart disease, make sure that you only take protein supplements as the doctor prescribes. Going over your required limit can lead to heart arrhythmia, heart attacks, or even complete loss of your heart’s functions.

Excessive and continuous intake of whey protein powder can bring about an imbalance of minerals in your bones. This kind of imbalance can make the bone density be exhausted, thus leading to osteoporosis.

Another side effect can result when your level of protein ingestion upsurges the blood pH levels. Kidneys find it to be difficult to absorb this amount of excess protein. Therefore, your blood can become acidic. It can result in ketosis, a disorder whereby anomalous quantities of ketone bodies gather in the blood. A diet that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates uses the energy from the burning proteins if there is little body fat. Ketosis, therefore, places a lot of pressure on your liver to function and can be the cause of a damaged liver.

Facial parts can also swell, and you can start wheezing. People with low tolerance to lactose may have breathing difficulties and can develop allergies like swelling of lips or the throat, wheezing.

Taking supplemented protein does not give wholesome nutrients compared to the natural protein. When protein is processed to become powder, it interrupts the natural ingestion of our body. Therefore there is unbalanced ingestion of nutrition.

How to Take It

Whey protein is taken by individuals depending on their daily protein goals.

For instance, if you are an active person, an athlete, or trying to lose body fat while keeping your lean mass intact, then taking one to one-fifth kilograms for every 1-1.5/kg of bodyweight, (0.45-0.68g/lb) is a decent objective.

If you are inactive and not wanting to change your body structure, a day to day aim of 0.8 kg of bodyweight (0.36g/lb) is a good objective. If individuals can attain their daily protein objectives through a dietary protein alone, then complementation is not required.

Persons who suffer from obesity are not advised to follow the instructions above because their bodyweight would start to skyrocket. Therefore, people who are obese should compute their whey protein aims based on what their required weight should be, supposing a bigger BMI.


Whey protein complements and powders have been proved to be productive and healthy. They help in the contribution of more protein in your daily diet.

We endorse that you try ingesting whey protein powder as it is commended for giving results in a short period of time. You can pair it with workouts for better results as it helps to keep your strength at a high, increases speed, and keeps you full most of the time.

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