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Whey Protein: Explained

Shawn Sherwood


Jan 3rd, 2015

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Designer Whey

Whey is the liquid component of cow’s milk, which is separated from the solid component, curd, in the cheese-making process. Natural whey contains water, protein, fat, minerals, and lactose.  

 Whey protein products are produced when the protein elements in whey are separated through special filtering processes or by ion exchange. The filtration process removes the lactose and fat and leaves a highly concentrated protein that is dried into a highly functional protein powder. Ion exchange isolates the protein from the lactose and fat due to its electrical charge. Whey protein is a high quality, complete protein and contains all nine essential amino acids, the building blocks of healthy muscles, skin, nails and other body tissues. 


Scientists have various methods of measuring protein quality. Biological Value (BV) is a measure of a particular protein’s effect on nitrogen balance (the more positive the better). The protein digestibility corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) is a measure of how well a particular protein supplies the nine essential amino acids (the more completely the better). The chart below shows how whey protein stacks up against other types of protein.

  Biological Value (BV) **the more positive, the better Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS)
Whey 104 1.14
Beef 74.3 0.92
Eggs 100 1.0

 In addition, whey protein empties from the stomach and is absorbed into the bloodstream from the intestine faster than other proteins. Due to whey’s quick digestion it has been called the ‘fast protein’ and is the preferred protein to flood the body with amino acids so muscles can begin to recover quicker. Moreover, whey protein contains especially high concentrations of the branched chain amino acids that are metabolized at high rates during exercise—most notably valine, isoleucine and leucine.


Whey protein is extremely versatile as a functional food and a nutraceutical. It is used in powdered drink mixes, protein bars, infant formulas, meal replacement shakes, smoothies, healthy baked goods, flavored waters, and many other products. 



Whey protein empties from the stomach and is absorbed into the bloodstream from the intestines faster than other proteins. Due to whey’s quick digestion it has been called the ‘fast protein’ and is the preferred protein to flood the body with amino acids so muscles can begin to recover quicker. 

Whey protein is scientifically proven to confer a number of health and performance benefits. Numerous studies have shown that whey protein supplementation, due to its superior amino acid profile, enhances the muscle and strength-building effects of exercise. Research also suggests that whey protein may improve digestion and gut health, lower blood pressure, increase glucose uptake in diabetics, strengthen bones, and slow certain aspects of the aging process when combined with exercise.


Whey protein provides more satiety with fewer calories than carbohydrates or fat. Research suggests that whey protein supplementation reduces appetite and eating, thus promoting weight loss. In a recent study from the University of Oklahoma, overweight subjects lost 9.3 percent of their fat mass in 10 weeks without dieting by combining exercise with whey protein supplementation. Another study compared daily intake of whey protein, soy protein and carbohydrate on overweight subjects for six months. After six months the whey protein group weighed less, had less body fat and lost more inches around the waist when compared to the carbohydrate group. While body weight was not different between the whey and soy groups, the whey group lost more inches around the waist than the soy group. Other research has shown that whey protein supplementation combined with calorie restriction results in more than twice as much fat loss as calorie restriction alone.


1.  Whey. “The Encyclopedia Britannica.  15th Ed.  1994.

2.  Tunick MH (2008). “Whey Protein Production and Utilization.”. In Onwulata CI, Huth PJ.Whey processing, functionality and health benefits (abstract). Ames, Iowa: Blackwell Publishing; IFT Press. pp. 1–13.

3.  Ha E, Zemel MB (May 2003). “Functional properties of whey, whey components, and essential amino acids: mechanisms underlying health benefits for active people (review)”. J. Nutr. Biochem. 14 (5): 251–8.

4.  Jay R. Hoffman and Michael J. Falvo (2004). “Protein – Which is best?”. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (3): 118–130.

5.  Krissansen GW (December 2007). “Emerging health properties of whey proteins and their clinical implications”. J Am Coll Nutr 26 (6): 713S–23S.

6.  Haug A, Hostmark AT, Harstad OM, A; Hostmark, AT; Harstad, OM (25 September 2007).“Bovine milk in human nutrition – a review”. Lipids Health Dis 6: 25.

10 Responses to Whey Protein: Explained

  1. Bonnie 10/01/2015 at 12:02 pm

    I’m lactose intolerant, can I use Whet protien without it making me ill? I normally stick to soy ptotien powders to avoid digestive problems.

    • Customer Care 11/01/2015 at 6:05 am

      Hi, Bonnie. For the lactose intolerant, we do no recommend consuming natural whey protein as it does contain lactose. ~Victor

  2. Richard Schaumburg 11/01/2015 at 1:41 pm

    How about taking a lactase supplement before using whey protein?

    • Customer Care 12/01/2015 at 10:41 am

      Hi Richard. Thank you for your question about whether you can take a lactase supplement before using Whey. My suggestion would be for you to speak to your doctor or one of the pharmacists at your local Albertsons. I hope you have a fantastic week. ~Shasta

  3. david Caligaris 22/01/2015 at 8:51 pm

    I went to the albertsons on Dublin-Austin Bluffs, CO Spgs, 80918 and tried to get the BOGO deal and they said they didn’t know anything about it. Can you help me? download a coupon or something? maybe call them and tell them that you are advertising it.

    email me back. thanks

    Loyal Albertson’s customer

    • Customer Care 23/01/2015 at 3:17 am

      Sorry for the inconvenience at the store, David. We will have the Store Director, Lori, follow up with you by the end of the next business day. ~Victor

  4. Susan Essex 28/01/2015 at 8:25 am

    I called my local store at 480-986-3060, talked to the expert in health department, had no clue what I was talking about, said that he don’t even see it on shelf. I then call corporate 877-932-7948, talked to Customer Care, they didn’t even know what I was talking about. Please, if you are sending out emails with stuff on sale make sure your stores and customer care knows. It is called communications .

    • Customer Care 28/01/2015 at 10:42 am

      Hello, Susan. I apologize for the experience you had at your local Albertsons. I would like to correct this for you. Therefore, I have sent your concerns to the Store Director and you will receive contact from him via email by the end of the next business day. If there is anything else I can assist you with, please let me know. Have a great day. ~Shawna

  5. Danielle 17/06/2015 at 10:21 pm

    What is the price for the Whey Protein or am I totally blind? lol

    • Customer Care 18/06/2015 at 10:33 am

      Hi there, Danielle. I will be happy to check on the price for you. Which Albertsons location do you normally shop at? ~Jenna

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