What is Whey Protein?
If you remember the nursery rhyme Little Miss Muffet, you might remember feeling confused about the line “Eating her curds and whey.”
What on earth are curds and whey?
Curds and whey are byproducts of the first stage of cheesemaking. You start with milk, and then you strain it and let it coagulate. The solid parts are called curds, while the remaining liquid is called whey. It’s the same liquid you sometimes see lying on top of yogurt.
The whey is chock full of protein. A simple refining process turns it from liquid into powder, which is the form most people see it in. It can then be used in drinks, smoothies, and other concoctions to help you get added protein.
Nutrition at a Glance
Whey protein contains many vitamins and minerals and is extremely high in protein. The amount differs across manufacturers, but 100g will typically contain about:
- 385 calories
- 66.7g protein
- 5.13g fat
- 18g carbs
- 0g fiber
- 5.13g sugar
- calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, selenium
- vitamins C, B-6, B-12, E, D, K
100g of whey protein contains several chicken breasts worth of protein. That’s why it is a favorite way for bodybuilders and athletes to bulk up.
If you are on keto, do be careful because whey protein does contain some carbs. You may want to reduce your intake to 50g or 75g instead of 100.
Whey protein has several health benefits, including:
- Promoting muscle growth
- Lowering blood pressure
- Moderating blood sugar
- Reducing inflammation
- Reducing hunger
Promoting muscle growth
Perhaps the #1 reason why people eat whey protein is to bulk up. One common piece of advice for aspiring bodybuilders is to consume their weight in protein every day- for example, if you weighed 150 pounds, then you should consume 150g of protein.
While the exact amount you need to bulk up varies from person to person, this rule of thumb generally works. But 150g of protein is a lot. You would have to eat many, many steaks or chicken breasts to reach it. A faster way would be to add a few scoops of whey protein to a smoothie and drink it.
Note that if you are not trying to build muscle, this rule does not apply and you have no reason to eat nearly that much protein.
Lowering blood pressure
Dairy products in general have been shown to reduce blood pressure. They contain certain compounds that do the trick, and whey protein also contains them. One study on overweight subjects found that daily whey protein intake reduced blood pressure by 4%.
Moderating blood sugar
Whey protein may be especially effective at helping diabetes patients manage their symptoms. Multiple studies support the claim that it can help with both blood sugar and insulin levels. It also seems to be more effective than other forms of protein, like fish or eggs.
Short-term inflammation is the way your body responds to damage. Chronic, long-term damage can lead to other disorders, like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Consuming protein supplements has been shown to reduce the incidence of CRP, a marker of inflammation in the body. The effect is most pronounced in people who already have high inflammation.
Protein reduces hunger. This is because it reduces ghrelin, a hormone that makes you feel hungry. Protein also takes longer to digest than other macronutrients, meaning your body stays full longer and burns more calories through digestion. Put together, this means that eating a lot of protein can help in losing weight.
The main health risk associated with whey protein is digestive. One or two scoops may not be a big deal, but if you eat your entire day’s worth of protein all at once, your gut will complain. That’s just way too much protein for your body to handle all at once.
People who take too much whey protein too quickly commonly report gas, bloating, nausea, diarrhea, and other digestive symptoms. That’s why you should space out your protein intake over the course of the day, and incorporate a variety of protein sources.
How we use whey protein
We use whey protein in all of our non-vegan products. Since whey protein is made out of milk, it is technically an animal product, but it does count as vegetarian since it is not made out of meat.
Our whey protein actually comes in two forms: whey protein isolate, and whey protein crisps. Both work together to provide a rich texture and a satisfying feel. Their high protein content ensures that out bars can keep you feeling full for longer.
Take a look at our products for more information. You can see the nutrition facts for each product by clicking “View Nutrition Facts”.