What is Whey Protein?

Whey Protein: When it comes to protein—one of the three main macronutrients alongside carbohydrates and fat, and a very important one at that, physiologically speaking—let’s get one thing straight, up front: not all sources are created equal.

For me, protein is all about quality, especially when it comes to choosing the best protein sources for you and your body. In my opinion, the whey protein simply gets the job done far better than many other types of proteins.

Whey is a by-product from the cheese-making process. Once the milk proteins (casein) are removed from milk, a thin, watery liquid is left which contains whey. For years, this “useless” liquid was just washed down the drain in dairies across the nation. Crude or sweet whey contains a large amount of lactose, minerals and unique proteins. New filtering techniques are able to remove almost all the carbohydrate (lactose) and fat, leaving behind an almost pure protein.

Whey contains the full range of essential amino acids (EAAs) in abundance, making it a high-quality complete protein.

Furthermore, whey is broken down, assimilated, and utilized relatively quickly by the human body, and numerous research studies have produced strong scientific evidence that whey protein supplementation can help you increase muscle mass and enhance muscle performance—including strength, power, and endurance—and help facilitate fat loss.

Whey is a mixture of proteins isolated from whey, which is the liquid part of milk that separates during the production of cheese. Milk actually contains two main types of protein, which you’ve likely heard of before: casein, which accounts for roughly 80% of milk protein, and whey, which is the other 20%.

Specifically, whey is found in the watery portion of milk. When making cheese, the fatty parts of milk coagulate, and the whey is separated from it as a byproduct. We’ve all probably opened a fresh yogurt container to see liquid sitting on top—yes, that’s whey.

After being separated during cheese production, whey goes through a series of steps during processing to ultimately become what many of us recognize as our favorite supplement: a flavored protein-rich powder.

In general, a serving of whey protein packs approximately 20-27 grams of high-quality complete protein, making it an extremely convenient (and cost-effective) way to hit your daily protein intake. Keep in mind, 4 ounces of grilled chicken breast contains roughly 24 grams of protein, with a similar amount of fat and carbohydrate compared to quality whey protein powders.

So, as you can see, whey is very beneficial for a several health and fitness goals. And yes, it does come from milk, but whey tends to have more of the necessary nutrients to help you reach your goals faster. Also, it is easy to make a shake and drink it on the go. So, if you need some extra protein in your diet, then you should consider using whey protein.

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