It’s funny to associate Little Miss Muffet and the beefy bodybuilder you see in your gym. Or the little arachnophobic girl with ringlets and Lionel Messi, though the way the Argentine has been playing recently maybe it’s not too much of a stretch. Though the bodybuilder, Messi and the little girl sitting on her tuffet all have the same thing in common, they all eat their whey – or rather, the first two drink it. But what is this wonder supplement and where does whey come from?
Appliance of Science
Let’s go Wiki on the description so we all understand this part. Whey protein is a mixture of globular proteins isolated from whey, the liquid material created as a by-product of cheese production. Whey is left over when milk is coagulated during the process of cheese production, and contains everything that is soluble from milk after the pH is dropped to 4.6 during the coagulation process. It is a 5% solution of lactose in water, with some minerals and lactalbumin. The fat is removed and then processed for human foods. Processing can be done by simple drying, or the protein content can be increased by removing lipids and other non-protein materials.
That good enough? Well, it’s the cut and dried part of where whey comes from. Now we’ll make it into more of a sports nutrition part.
Where does whey come from?
Milk is separated into curds and whey, then the whey is separated from the curds. After this the whey is processed into whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate or hydrolyzed whey protein. The quality of whey does vary greatly on the quality of milk (first) and the processes then used in producing cheese and later refining the whey powder. A question of how they cows are fed is always raised. A selling point for some whey protein products is “grass-fed” cows produce the milk. However this is largely a marketing term and has little effect on the overall quality of the product. Whey will ultimately come from animals who have been given a range of anti-biotics and chemicals before passing through a factory which may have variable standards and then into the final drying process. All we need to know it comes from milk. So you want to know more?
- Whey is only 20% of protein in milk, the rest is Casein.
- Whey Isolate (WPI) – contains 90% or more protein content.
- Whey Concentrate (WPC) – can have between 29%-89% protein content.
- There is little or no fat, lactose or cholesterol in whey protein.
- Whey Protein Concentrate is important in a mix as it contains many health boosters such as cortisol and glutamine.
- There is no such thing as 100% Whey Protein Isolate Powder, this is just a wonderful marketing tool.
- Whey Protein Isolate is better than Whey Protein Concentrate (WPI is over processed and lacking in goodies like cortisol and glutamine)
- You’ll be like Arnie if you use whey protein (whey protein supplementation can simply support muscles, help in losing weight, boost your immunity etc).
- Whey protein causes headaches (it’s usually the MSG in some cheaper mixes that does this).
A-whey you go!
We had to end on a pun as this article was largely without the scrutiny of the Kaprina LLC Advisory Board who like to have everything devoid of humour. However they did give a couple of tips regarding whey protein use.
- If you are using whey protein, try to get a nice mix and one which comes from a reputable source.
- Be sure to read the label carefully and research the producer and product.
- If you are lactose intolerant, choose a whey which has more WPI than WPC.
Now you know where does whey come from and while digesting this information, drink your whey shake and remember Miss Tuffet when you’re next in the gym! Just don’t worry about that spider, it really is more scared of you than, well, you know.