You may have seen yogurt cups, protein bars, and drink mixes calling out Whey during your last trip to the grocery store. What exactly is it? What is whey dairy?
Whey can be found in dairy products and is one of two high-quality proteins that naturally occur in cow’s milk.
The cheesemaking process produces whey protein. Special enzymes are added to the milk to separate it into curds, which are used to make cheese and liquid whey. The whey protein can then be pasteurized and dried to be used in many drink mixes, protein bars, and other food items.
Although most people meet their minimum protein needs, athletes, older adults, and those trying to control their weight may benefit from a higher protein diet. That’s where whey proteins can be of assistance.
Whey protein is fast digestible and contains all the essential amino acids, or “building blocks”, your body requires. Because it contains Leucine (which has been shown to build muscle when there is enough), some people may consider adding more whey protein to their diet.
Whey protein can be added to oatmeal, smoothies, soups, baked goods, and other recipes.
You may wonder if whey protein is dairy-free, regardless of whether you have lactose intolerance or a dairy allergy. Whey protein is made from dairy products. Some whey protein products can be tolerated by people with lactose intolerance. However, those suffering from a dairy allergy should not consume them.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is WHEY PROTEIN ISOLATE, and what are its benefits?
- 1.1 WPI: who should use it?
- 1.2 WHEY PROTEIN ISOLATE – THE BENEFITS
- 1.3 What Whey Protein Isolate is made of?
- 1.4 What is Whey Protein Isolate made from?
- 1.5 Is it hard to digest?
- 2 Difference Between Whey and Whey Isolate
- 3 Is Whey Protien dairy-free?
- 4 Is Whey Protein Gluten-free?
- 5 Is Whey Protein Vegan-friendly?
- 6 Is Whey Protein Powder a Hair Loss Cause?
- 7 Does whey protein contain lactose?
- 8 Is it possible to eat whey protein even if you are lactose intolerant?
- 9 Alternatives To Whey Protein
- 10 Summary
What is WHEY PROTEIN ISOLATE, and what are its benefits?
Whey protein isolate is a great way to provide your muscles with the quality nutrients that they need to grow and recover.
Whey isolate is a great source of protein. It is far superior to other protein powders because they lack fats, carbs, and cholesterol.
Whey protein isolate is also known as “whey isolate” and is a naturally occurring by-product of the cheese production process. It is a powdery, dry material that can be used in many products, including meats, candies, and beverages.
We get the best forms of complete protein through the manufacturing process for whey protein isolate. It contains a higher level of protein than other forms of whey such as WPC (whey protein concentrate).
Additionally, the manufacturing process for whey protein isolate removes excess lactose from the whey powder. This creates a more refined profile than other protein supplements.
This high-quality protein is made without any carbs or cholesterol. This is great for those who have to be careful about their carbohydrate and cholesterol intake.
WPI: who should use it?
Whey protein isolate is great for people who don’t want to eat any carbs or fats in their diet. Whey protein isolate is low in calories, carbs, fat, and lactose and can be used as a dietary supplement to help build muscle and strength.
A whey protein isolate is a good option for bodybuilders who are lactose intolerant, have digestive issues, or bloat easily after eating lactose. The micro-filtration process removes enough lactose from the product to ensure that there are no problems. However, you should not use more than a small amount to ensure that you are safe.
WPI90 is the most common type of WPI product you will find. This means that almost all the whey protein isolate you take in will be absorbed by your body.
WHEY PROTEIN ISOLATE – THE BENEFITS
We now know that whey isolate is a complete protein and is high in amino acids. The question is, what are the benefits of consuming a whey isolate supplement?
Six benefits you can enjoy when you supplement with WPI products are listed below.
Low in FAT and CARBS
It’s quite remarkable to find something low in carbs and fat, especially if you have to keep them down if you are on a restricted diet. There are many products on the market that have extra fat and carbs, but Whey Protein Isolate has very little of both. A WPI provides your body with the protein it requires without adding calories from other macronutrients.
Whey protein isolate can be easily digested
Whey protein isolate is easy to digest because it has a high absorption rate and can be processed faster than other forms.
For faster absorption and uptake, you can combine the whey protein isolate with the liquid. It can help regulate bowel movements and, in certain forms, it can also be eaten by lactose-intolerant individuals.
Research has shown that WPI can increase fasting lipids and insulin levels due to its quality and absorption.
Whey protein isolate contains all the essential Amino Acids
Whey protein isolate, the purest form possible of protein, contains all nine essential amino acids.
These essential amino acids are important for proper muscle repair and protein synthesis. Research has shown that BCAAs can help increase muscle growth and recovery when all nine essential amino acids (EAAs), are used.
However, there was an increase of muscle protein synthesis up to 50% when just BCAAs were used.
Other key ingredients to WPI’s amino acid profile are glutamine and leucine, which help stimulate protein synthesis immediately after training sessions and are responsible for decreasing tissue injury and improving endurance.
Cysteine also aids in the creation of glutathione which is an antioxidant with powerful properties that can help preserve and maintain lean muscles mass.
Whey protein isolate improves tissue repair and muscle mass
Whey protein isolate is essential if you desire to increase the quality of your muscle tissue and repair it.
WPI can be used pre-workout and intra-workout as well as post-workout to increase muscle strength and repair.
Resistance training can cause micro-tears to the muscle fibers.
You need quality protein supplements like whey protein isolate to repair these tears and make your tissues stronger and more resilient.
Your results could be compromised if you don’t have the ability to fully recover between workouts.
WPI for Athletic performance
To improve their performance and increase lean muscle mass, athletes tend to choose a whey protein isolate product.
Muscle tissue naturally breaks down and is repaired when our bodies are exposed to stress such as resistance training.
Whey protein isolate speeds up the process of muscle regeneration by optimizing the speed of the repair process.
Additionally, glutathione is increased. It also helps in building and repairing lean muscles tissue.
Prevent muscle waste
Whey protein isolate is beneficial for those with muscle wasting disorders.
Whey isolate is also beneficial for seniors and people who are losing their muscle mass due to natural aging.
Importantly, for those of you who have been on a diet to lose body fat, WPI can preserve your lean muscles.
This is crucial because you want to preserve your muscle tissue. Not only will it improve your physique but also your metabolism rate, which will help you burn calories more effectively every day.
What Whey Protein Isolate is made of?
Whey protein isolate is a popular choice for athletes. Whey protein isolate is a great source of pure protein.
It provides all nine essential amino acids and a limited amount of carbs or fats. Whey protein isolate is a great muscle builder. However, it offers more than just bulking up.
You might consider adding whey protein isolate to your diet. First, let us tell you a few things. These are the six most frequently asked questions about whey protein powder.
What is Whey Protein Isolate made from?
Whey protein isolate can be considered a byproduct of cheesemaking. Whey protein is usually made from milk, which is typically cow’s milk.
To curdle the milk, enzymes, heat, or other catalysts are used to make it separate. The liquid whey is left behind, and the solids ( casein – another protein option) are removed from the top.
To ensure the highest protein content, the liquid whey is processed. The liquid whey is dried and ground into powder before being packaged for consumer use.
There are three types of whey protein: isolate, concentrate, and hydrolysate. Whey Protein Concentrate can contain up to 80% protein, as well as carbs and fats.
Hydrolysate is a partially digested whey form that allows for faster absorption.
Whey protein isolate is processed more than other forms of whey, so it contains a higher level of protein (typically around 90%), as well as fewer carbs and fat.
Whey protein isolate is unique because the refinement process removes more lactase. The final result? The protein powder is purer than other products on the market.
Is it hard to digest?
Many people have difficulty digesting lactose. This might make them more cautious about whey proteins.
Most adults don’t have the ability to digest lactose well. However, whey protein isolate has such a small amount that it won’t be a problem for them.
Even though lactose intolerance sufferers may be able to consume whey powder, especially whey isolate, it is important to listen and discontinue using whey isolate if you experience side effects such as diarrhea, gas, and bloating.
Whey protein is a great protein powder for those who don’t have an intolerance to lactose. It can also be quickly digested which makes it ideal for people who need an energy boost after a workout.
Difference Between Whey and Whey Isolate
Whey powder can be used to make protein shakes, such as meal replacements or muscle building. On the label of your whey protein powder product, you might see “whey” and “whey isolate”. What is the difference?
About Whey and Whey Isolate
Whey is one of eight proteins found in cow’s dairy milk. These proteins are known as:
- Bovine serum albumin
Whey is a byproduct of cheese-making. To curdle cow’s milk, manufacturers use enzymes. This allows them to separate the solid curds from the liquid whey. These curds are made from milk fat and used to make cheese.
The leftover whey proteins are thin and watery. To make whey powder, manufacturers pasteurize the liquid whey to kill bacteria. It can be used to make three types of whey products.
- Concentrate. This form of whey protein is used in many products including protein shakes bars and infant formula. Depending on the intended use, each product may contain different amounts of lactose and fat.
- Isolate. Whey is reduced in fat and lactose to make it more protein-rich. Whey protein isolate might be more suitable for those who have difficulty digesting lactose (lactose intolerance). It is not suitable for people who have milk allergies.
- Hydrolysate. Hydrolyzed whey protein. This breaks down the protein chains, making it easier to digest. This type of whey protein is used most frequently in infant formulas.
Benefits of Whey and Whey Isolate
Whey protein or whey isolate can be helpful in many different ways, including:
- Building muscle. Building strong muscles is vital. Particularly, whey protein contains types of amino acids that are great to build muscles.
- The healing properties of whey protein. Whey protein can help you heal faster if your skin is damaged or recovering from surgery.
- Weight gain. Whey protein is good for weight gain because it aids in muscle development.
- Supplement. Whey and whey isolate are nutritional supplements that can help you get enough protein.
Pros of Whey and Whey Isolate
Amino Acids. Whey protein contains nine essential amino acids. Although your body produces amino acids, they are not the same as those found in whey protein isolate and whey. Your body can use amino acids to build muscles and create new immune cells.
Protein. The body can only take in 20-40 grams of protein per day. You need to eat protein throughout the day if you want to build muscle. This is why whey and whey isolate proteins are great because they can be easily mixed or premade.
Cons of Whey Isolate and Whey
Calories. Whey and whey isolate can be eaten as part of a healthy diet, but they should be consumed in moderation if you want to lose weight. To understand the nutrition and calories in the products you are using, read the labels.
Additives and processed ingredients. Whey isolate and whey products often contain sugar to enhance their taste. Look out for sugar and processed ingredients such as artificial flavors on the labels. Experts in nutrition recommend that you limit your intake of processed foods, including whey and isolate products.
Regulations. Supplements to protein are not regulated by FDA for safety or effectiveness. Whey products and whey isolate may contain metal contaminants, fillers, and impurities that are not listed on the labels. You should look for products that have been independently tested and verified to be NSF Certified for Sport.
Digestion. Whey isolate is better than whey concentrated for lactose intolerance. Whey isolate is stripped of most of the sugars and lactose during manufacturing. If you have a dairy allergy, both the whey isolate and whey may cause stomach upset. If that is the case, you should look for plant-based proteins.
Talk to your doctor before you start using any new dietary supplements, especially if there are any health conditions that may affect your diet. Your doctor will help you make informed decisions about the best dietary supplement for you.
Is Whey Protien dairy-free?
Whey protein isolate is made from milk. Other whey proteins powders, such as whey protein extract, are not considered dairy-free.
Some lactose is present. It is important to remember that whey protein isolate contains very little lactose.
This particular form contains 90% protein and less lactose than other forms (whey concentrate or whey hydrolysate).
You might still be able to use whey protein isolate powders despite having mild lactose intolerance.
If you are concerned, consult your doctor. You may experience stomach pains, nausea, vomiting, cramping, nausea, cramping, headaches, or uncomfortable gas while taking whey isolate.
It is best to discontinue using whey proteins and find a better source.
Is Whey Protein Gluten-free?
Pure whey powder is gluten-free because it’s made from milk. However, this doesn’t mean that it will stay that way forever.
Be sure to read the labels carefully before you commit to a brand.
Manufacturers may add flavorings, sweeteners, or other additives to their products that could contain gluten.
Manufacturers might add other protein powders to whey powder to make a mix. If you are on a gluten-free diet, make sure yours does not contain wheat, barley, or rye powders.
If you are trying to avoid gluten or have a gluten allergy, look out for any additives like glutamine, malt sugars, and starches.
It’s a good rule of thumb to take the time to look up any ingredient you don’t recognize to make sure you get what you want.
Is Whey Protein Vegan-friendly?
Whey protein isolate and whey powder are not considered vegan. If you are vegan, you should not eat milk (which is an animal product).
But don’t worry!
There are many plant-based protein powders you can choose from if you want vegan alternatives to whey. You can make whey protein powders from combinations of a pea, rice, and soy as well as hemp, hemp, and other vegan proteins.
Is Whey Protein Powder a Hair Loss Cause?
People often believe that protein-rich diets will make hair healthier.
However, whey protein isolate is not affected by this phenomenon.
A study by Dr. Larry Shapiro (hair transplant surgeon, dermatologist) found that whey isolate can accelerate or exaggerate hair loss in men.
Whey protein isolate has high levels of BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) unlike other protein powders.
These amino acids can boost muscle growth and improve performance during workouts. They also increase testosterone which is then broken down by your body into the hormone DHT.
This is why it matters. DHT has been shown to cause hair loss and even baldness.
You could be at risk of hair loss if your body is consuming too much whey protein isolate. You can reduce or even eliminate this risk by switching to another type of protein, such as whey protein.
Does whey protein contain lactose?
Whey protein may contain lactose. However, it is relatively low in levels and some varieties are almost lactose-free.
Lactose, a sugar found in milk products is most often removed during the production of whey protein powder.
The type of protein powder determines the exact amount of lactose.
- Whey Concentrate: After the casein is removed, the whey undergoes a filtering process that results in whey concentrate. This form is more expensive but has higher amounts of lactose.
- Whey isolate: This is a product that has been refined more than whey concentrate. It contains about 90% protein and lower levels of lactose. Some whey isolates are almost lactose-free.
- Hydrolyzed Whey: This form is exposed in a way that can be described as “pre-digestion”, which basically breaks down the whey a little and makes it easier to absorb than other forms. This form is similar to whey isolate in that it has very low levels of lactose.
Look for zero grams of sugar on hydrolyzed whey products and whey isolates. This indicates that the product contains very little or no lactose. This trick won’t work if the product has been sweetened with real sugar.
Is it possible to eat whey protein even if you are lactose intolerant?
Lactose intolerance, which is not an allergy, is a mild digestive condition that causes the body to not properly digest the sugar in milk products.
The body isn’t producing enough lactase to break down lactose sugar. It can cause discomforts such as gas and bloating if the lactose remains undigested.
The good news is that people with lactose intolerance are able to tolerate milk products that do not contain high levels of lactase.
Some research shows that lactose intolerance sufferers can consume as much as 12 grams of lactose before experiencing symptoms. This is a highly individualized situation and not everyone can tolerate it.
Whey protein products are a viable option for people who have lactose intolerance because they typically only contain a few grams of milk. Whey protein isolate will likely be more tolerated than whey protein concentrates, however, as it contains less lactose.
Alternatives To Whey Protein
There are many options available if you have a dairy allergy or lactose intolerance. You can find dairy-free protein products made from:
- Bone broth
- Plant protein complexes/blends
- Pumpkin seeds
You should always double-check the label, no matter what alternative protein powder you choose. Flavored protein powders, such as chocolate, may contain dairy even though the protein is not made from dairy. Double-check everything.
Each protein powder has its pros and cons. Knowing the differences will help you choose which one to use. Let’s take a deeper look at each of the options above, separated into animal-based or plant-based options.
Alternatives to animal protein include egg protein and bone broth protein.
If you don’t eat dairy products because you are vegan, skip this section and go to the section on plant-based foods. These other options might be worth looking into if you don’t eat dairy due to an allergy or intolerance.
Egg white protein powder
Egg protein powder is made of dried egg whites. Egg white powder, a high-quality, complete protein that is easily digestible and easily found at any supplement shop, can be purchased easily.
research indicates that egg white protein powder contains less leucine compared to whey protein. A key amino acid in muscle repair and recovery, leucine is essential for athletes after a workout.
A study showed that 25g of whey provides about 2.7g of leucine. However, you would need to consume around 39g of egg white protein powder in order to get the same amount.
However, this is not a problem if the protein is being used as a post-workout supplement. For post-workout use, you can mix egg white protein powder and a dairy-free BCAA Supplement.
Collagen, one of the most common proteins in the body offers many structural benefits to humans and animals.
Supplements can be made from animal bones, animal skins, eggshells, and/or fish. Collagen supplements are often hydrolyzed. This means that they have been partially broken down and are easy to digest.
Whey protein is classified as a complete source of protein, but collagen is incomplete because it lacks adequate amounts (tryptophan).
Whey protein also contains high levels of branched-chain amino acids that are involved in muscle growth and repair, while collagen has high levels of the amino acids needed to build structure in the body, specifically proline, glycine, and lysine.
These differences make collagen, not the best post-workout supplement. However, it may be beneficial for issues such as gut health, skin health ( source), joint and injury prevention.
Protein powder for bone broth
Bone broth protein is made of dehydrated bone broth. This liquid is derived by simmering bones from chickens and cows.
It is very similar to collagen and contains high levels of collagen. While collagen can be extracted from various parts of an animal, bone broth is derived only from bones, ligaments, and tendons.
Bone broth protein is rich in collagen and may offer some of the same benefits as those mentioned previously.
Plant protein products are a great alternative to whey protein.
The pea protein is obtained by grinding dried peas into a powder. It is easy to find and can be tolerated well by most people.
This protein source has a higher amino acid profile than many other plant-based protein powders. It still falls short of whey for leucine. For 2.5 grams of leucine, you would need 38g of pea protein powder ( source).
Pea protein is a good choice for post-workout. However, you might want to add a BCAA supplement that is dairy-free to increase your leucine intake. These will make a great post-workout option.
Hemp protein is a powder made from hemp seeds. It has an earthy flavor.
Hemp protein powders have a lower protein content than whey. Hemp has a lower level of branched-chain amino acid than whey so it is not recommended for post-workout.
Hemp protein is also rich in fiber. While this may not be ideal for post-workout, it can still be used as an addition to a healthy diet.
According to Healthline, most hemp proteins powders have about 7-8g fiber per 1/4 cup. This is enough to meet your daily fiber requirements.
Hemp protein can also provide magnesium and other antioxidants that may be beneficial for your overall health.
Soy protein is made of soybeans that have been dried and hulled. Soy protein, unlike many other plant proteins, is considered a complete and unprocessed protein.
Studies have shown that soy has similar results to whey protein in support of muscle mass increases with resistance training ( Source, Source). Other studies suggest that it might not be as effective ( source).
Some are concerned about phytoestrogens found in soy products. Most research suggests that soy products should be consumed in moderation. If you have any questions, please consult your doctor.
Rice protein is obtained by separating the carbohydrates from the rice protein and then retaining the protein portion.
Rice protein, like other plant proteins, has a lower amino acid profile than whey protein ( source). Although it is not recommended for post-workout, you can incorporate rice protein into your day to get a high-protein snack or breakfast.
Pumpkin seed protein powder
This protein powder is made from ground pumpkin seeds, which is a relatively recent entry into the market. It has a mildly nutty taste.
Pumpkin seed powder has many benefits. It is rich in minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and iron. It is a good dairy-free protein option to add to smoothies and baked goods to increase the nutrition profile.
Complex or a blend of plant protein
Plant protein complexes or blends combine several plant protein sources to create one final product. This has two key benefits:
- It usually improves the overall profile of amino acids to be closer to that found in whey (though it is not always equal).
- Because it contains different sources, this usually improves the flavor of the product.
A blend/complex is a great plant-based alternative to protein powder for post-workout. You don’t need to be concerned about the amino acids profile unless you are an athlete, do a lot with strength training, and are careful about your protein intake for muscle recovery.
Whey protein isolate is not the best protein supplement, but it does have a lot of benefits. You can now decide if whey protein isolate is right for you.