What You Need To Know About: Whey Protein

What You Need To Know About: Whey Protein

Whey protein is a supplement used by athletes, fitness enthusiasts and other individuals simply for general health, which also includes the population of bariatric surgery patients.

Whey protein is the liquid by-product produced during the curdling of milk. Milk consists of 80% casein and 20% whey. Whey protein is a complete protein source, which means that it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids. Whey is the base of many dairy products such as milk, cream and cheese, and contains protein, lactose, minerals and a small amount of fat.

The three types of whey protein are:

  • Whey Protein Concentrate – this is made through ultrafiltration of whey that contains <90% of protein concentration, and could go as low as 20%. The rest of the concentration is made up of fats, minerals and lactose.
  • Whey Protein Isolate – this is typically produced through a variety of filtration techniques and contains >90% of protein concentration and removal of most lactose.
  • Whey Protein Hydrolysates – this is a new technique in the production of whey protein that uses a method of “pre-digesting” the protein, therefore reducing the time for digestion and absorption of amino acids.

So why is Whey protein important? Well for one, proteins contain amino acids which are the building blocks of muscle tissue and are responsible for many body functions such as immune system function, metabolism, energy, and neurotransmission. The benefits of Whey protein include that it is easily absorbed and digested, it’s easy to add as a supplement to one’s diet, it boosts insulin sensitivity and has been shown to boost metabolism, thus enhancing fat loss. Whey protein Concentrate and Isolate both contain a high biological value. Biological value is a measurement used to assess the degree to which one is able to utilize that protein efficiently. Other sources of food that contain a high biological value include eggs, milk, cottage cheese and meats such as seafood, chicken and beef.

Anyone can benefit from using Whey Protein supplements, however it is important to note that tolerance is individualized. Side effects can include nausea, increased bowel movements or gas, allergic reactions, or upset stomach. In most cases, these side effects can be reduced by monitoring your total protein intake and/or considering an alternative supplement, perhaps one that contains more digestive enzymes (i.e. Protizyme protein powder). For our bariatric patients, the total protein intake can range from 50-80 grams of protein per day, depending upon the surgical procedure). You can speak to one of our Registered Dietitians (RD) for additional assistance.

Source: Muscle & Strength

Michel Gunn

Michel Gunn

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