Whey is an animal-based protein made from the unwanted scraps of milk and cheese.
Milk actually contains two main types of protein: casein (80%) and whey (20%).
In its original liquid state, whey is a mixture of mostly water with some protein, fat, carbohydrates and lactose. Once separated from milk or cheese during production, whey undergoes processing to become what most of us know commonly as whey protein powder.
Whey protein is a powder that can be added to things such as shakes, meal replacement, and protein bars. Whey can be processed to yield protein in three forms: whey isolate, whey concentrate, or whey hydrolysate. And an emphasis on the term processed because all three are very different from their original state.
- Whey isolate has had most of the lactose and fat removed, making highly concentrated in protein content, about 90-95% protein
- Whey concentrate has also had much of the lactose and fat removed, but not as much as whey isolate, containing about 70-80% protein on average
- Whey hydrolysate is considered "pre-digested" whey protein, since it has already begun the breakdown process, making it a little easier on the digestive system than the others
Because whey contains lactose, it may cause some bloating and even gas if you are sensitive to lactose. No protein shake should ever leave you feeling bloated - after your first shake, it should be pretty obvious if you have an intolerance.
For more information on the risks associated with consuming whey, check out our post to discover why whey is bad for you.
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