Whey Protein: What Is It, Types, Benefits, Uses, And More

Compiled By Michael Stuart
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Donald Moore, MD FACT CHECKED

One of the most common proteins found in dairy products is whey protein.

Whey protein is a byproduct of the cheese-making process.

It contains significant levels of the essential amino acids. This is important because there are number of amino acid benefits as they are required  for synthesis of body proteins and other important nitrogen holding compounds to perform their roles in the body.

Whey protein, which is usually in the form of a powder, could be mixed into soft metals or liquids, such as apple sauce, or blended into a smoothie with fresh fruit and ice.

Whey protein is often used to correct nutritional issues or deficits and improve athletic performance.

Persons who do not get enough natural protein in their diet, athletes, weight lifters, and anyone who wants to gain strength, muscle mass, and lose body fat should use whey protein.

Protein is the most effective nutrient for decreasing fat mass and increasing muscle mass.

Whey protein is one of the greatest protein sources available.

Naturally, anyone wishing to supplement their diet with more nutrients should purchase whey protein powder.

Whey protein might also have the ability to treat diabetes, and asthma, help in weight loss, and several different ailments, though most of these claims lack scientific backing.

In this article, we will be looking at what whey protein is, its types, health benefits, dosage, side effects, and a lot more.

What Is Whey Protein?

It is an eight-protein family found in milk.

These eight proteins are listed in order of their abundance in milk, from the least abundant to the most abundant:

  • Lysozyme.
  • Lactoperoxidase.
  • Lactoferrin.
  • Bovine serum albumin.
  • Immunoglobulins.
  • Glycomacropeptide.
  • Alpha-lactalbumin.
  • Beta-lactoglobulin.

In the process of cheese making, enzymes are added to the milk.

The enzymes create a curdle in the milk, separating the whey in liquid form from the solid curds in the milk.

The curds containing the majority of the fat in milk are the key component of cheese.

When you remove the firm curds, you are left with a whey protein of watery texture.

It contains different concentrations of milk sugar (lactose) and fat.

Typically, whey is pasteurized to kill germs, such as bacteria before being dried. Protein powder is made from whey.

Whey protein is a blend of proteins extracted from whey, which is the liquid portion of milk that separates during the cheese-making process.

Whey (20 percent) and casein (80 percent) are the two main forms of protein that are found in milk.

The watery part of milk is where whey is found. The fatty portions of the milk coagulate during cheese production, and the whey is removed as a byproduct.

It is whey if you have ever opened a yogurt container and seen liquid floating on top.

Before they recognized its commercial potential, cheese makers used to throw it away.

Whey is separated during cheese manufacture and then goes through a series of processing procedures to form whey protein, a powder that is commonly used in protein bars, shakes, and meal replacements.

Whey protein is usually flavored as it does not taste very nice on its own. Powders with strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla flavors are popular.

It is critical to study the ingredients list as certain items might contain harmful additives, such as refined sugar.

Whey protein is a practical way to supplement your usual protein consumption.

This is vital for gym-goers, bodybuilders, and also people who have a protein deficiency in their diet and need to shed weight.

Most flavored whey proteins are also quite tasty and could be used to enhance the flavor of healthy meals, such as smoothies.

Whey is usually well tolerated, though lactose intolerant persons should exercise caution, and some people might be allergic to it.

Types Of Whey Protein

Whey protein travels through another process to become one of three types:

  1. Hydrolysate

    Whey hydrolysate often termed hydrolyzed whey protein, is the easiest to digest.

    Its large protein chains, known as peptides, are broken down into shorter forms, which makes them easy to digest.

    Hydrolyzed whey protein is frequently used in specialized newborn formulae.

    It is also found in nutritional supplements for people who are deficient in certain nutrients.

  2. Concentrate

    The fat, protein, and lactose content of whey protein concentrate products varies greatly.

    Many protein bars, drinks, and nutritional supplements contain whey protein concentrate. It is also found in baby food.

  3. Isolate

    This variety has a high protein content while being low in lactose and fat.

    Protein supplements, such as drinks and bars might indicate it on their labels.

    If you are lactose intolerant, whey protein isolate might be a good option, but do not attempt any of these if you have a milk allergy.

Benefits Of Whey Protein

Here are some health benefits of whey protein:

  1. Weight Loss Assistance

    A study on 160 people was published[1] in Nutrition & Metabolism were the ones who were given whey protein demonstrated higher preservation of body lean muscle and lost significantly more body fat.

  2. Anti-Cancer Properties

    In the Anticancer Research journal[2], promising results for using whey protein concentrate in the treatment of cancer were published. More research is further required.

  3. Decrease High Blood Pressure And Heart Disease

    According to research published in the International Dairy Journal, whey protein beverages significantly decreased blood pressure among hypertensive individuals, and also reduced their risk of stroke or heart disease.

  4. Reduces Weight Loss Among HIV Patients

    Whey protein might help HIV-positive people lose weight, according to research published in the journal Clinical and Investigative Medicine[3].

  5. Asthma

    Whey might help children having asthma have a better immunological response, according to a study published in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition[4].

    Children having asthma who were given 8 grams of whey protein once daily for one month had a better immunological response.

  6. Cholesterol reduction

    The British Journal of Nutrition [5]published that 80 overweight women and men were given whey supplements for 3 months and a variety of indicators, such as insulin levels and cholesterol, were assessed.

    They discovered that there was a substantial drop in LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol in the whey group compared to the casein group at 3 months.

Dosage And Side Effects Of Whey Protein

2 scoops (about 50 grams) every day after exercises is a common recommendation. It is best if you adhere to the serving guidelines on the package.

However, make sure that if you have been already consuming a lot of protein, the addition of whey protein might be unnecessary.

Protein could cause renal damage and also contribute to osteoporosis, though these fears are unfounded.

Protein has been found in research to aid in osteoporosis while having no negative effect on your healthy kidneys.

People with liver or renal problems should try avoiding whey protein or at least seek healthcare professionals’ advice before doing so.

A lot of whey protein in your diet could lead to digestive issues, such as cramps, nausea, diarrhea, gas, and discomfort. Whey might also cause allergic reactions among certain people.

If you are sensitive to ordinary whey protein hydrolysate, concentrate, or isolate might be a better alternative.

You could also omit whey protein and try replacing it with foods rich in protein. Whey protein has got a good safety profile.

Therefore, most individuals could ingest it without having any issues.


Whey protein is an extremely good approach for increasing your protein intake.

It is a protein source of high quality which people could use and absorb effectively.

This is very crucial for bodybuilders, athletes, or anyone looking to improve strength and muscle mass while shedding extra fat.

Protein might be considered the king of nutrition when it comes to fat loss and muscle development.

Whey protein might be considered superior to different varieties of high-quality protein.

Whey protein supplements along with powders are an effective and healthy method to augment your regular diet with more protein.

It is a fantastic source of protein that our bodies easily absorb.

Because of its pleasant taste, concentrate is the most preferred type of whey protein.

You might eat it plain, put it in your cuisine, and drink it straight.

If you want to reduce weight, you should combine weight training with the ingestion of whey protein.

It might help you lose weight by boosting your metabolism, increasing your metabolism, and preserving lean muscle mass.

Whey protein powder might be used as a meal supplement as it quickly fills you up and prevents hunger sensations.

These hunger sensations are frequently the cause of overeating.


  1. Joy L Frestedt, John L Zenk, Michael A Kuskowski, et al. A whey-protein supplement increases fat loss and spares lean muscle in obese subjects: a randomized human clinical study. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2008; 5: 8. Published online 2008 Mar 27. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-5-8.
  2. G Bounous. Whey protein concentrate (WPC) and glutathione modulation in cancer treatment. Anticancer Res. Nov-Dec 2000;20(6C):4785-92. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11205219/.
  3. Fred R Sattler, Natasa Rajicic, Kathleen Mulligan, et al. Evaluation of high-protein supplementation in weight-stable HIV-positive subjects with a history of weight loss: a randomized, double-blind, multicenter trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Nov;88(5):1313-21. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2006.23583. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18996868/.
  4. James B Lothian, Vijaylaxmi Grey, Larry C Lands. Effect of whey protein to modulate immune response in children with atopic asthma. Int J Food Sci Nutr. May-Jun 2006;57(3-4):204-11. doi: 10.1080/09637480600738294. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17127471/.
  5. Sebely Pal, Vanessa Ellis, Satvinder Dhaliwal. Effects of whey protein isolate on body composition, lipids, insulin and glucose in overweight and obese individuals. Br J Nutr. 2010 Sep;104(5):716-23. doi: 10.1017/S0007114510000991. Epub 2010 Apr 9. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20377924/.

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