What is Whey Protein?

There are two proteins in cows’ milk: whey and casein. When you add renin (an enzyme derived from calves stomachs), it acts as a coagulant. The milk then separates the two proteins into curds (the casein) and a liquid (the whey).

Little Miss Muffet from the well-known nursery rhyme ate curds and whey, and so have you if you’ve ever had cottage cheese. However, cottage cheese has had most of its whey removed.

After separating the whey from the casein, the whey is filtered and purified. This process removes much of the fat and lactose. When whey is dehydrated, it becomes a fine powder. Most of us are familiar with this form.

Whey Protein Benefits

You need protein to keep your metabolism running smoothly and to aid in muscle recovery after workouts. When you supplement with whey, it’s easy to meet your daily protein goals. Whey is highly bioavailable, and it contains all of the amino acids (the building blocks of protein), so it’s a complete protein. Your body absorbs whey quickly and puts it right to use, delivering nutrients to your muscles, and helping them to recover post-workout.

Many people believe that whey increases fat loss, but it is not the whey itself that reduces fat – it’s the addition of more protein to your diet.

Potential Side Effects

It is possible that if you are allergic to milk, you could be allergic to whey. Symptoms may include nausea, cramps, headache, and general fatigue. Even if you’re not allergic to milk, If you consume too much whey, you may also experience these symptoms. Keep in mind your daily protein requirements based on your body weight and nutritional goals.

If you have liver or kidney damage, consult a doctor before you increase your protein intake. Whey is not at all harmful to the liver or kidneys but can worsen pre-existing conditions.

Recommended Use

Making a whey protein shake is a great way to start your day whether you’re headed to the gym or the office. It’s easy to toss a scoop or two of whey powder into a blender bottle with your preferred mixer: water, almond/soy/coconut milk, or regular cows’ milk.

If you have time to make something a bit more substantial and you have a blender, try a smoothie. To your mixer and protein powder combo, add a few ice cubes and then add vegetables such as a handful of spinach or any leafy greens, a cup of fruit of your choice, and a healthy fat. You might pick half an avocado or two tablespoons of nut or seed butter. If you use frozen fruit, you can eliminate the ice cubes.

You can also get creative and add whey protein to cookies, muffins, protein bites, and more.

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