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What is Whey Protein Concentrate?

Article Details
  • Written By: Allison Boelcke
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 29 September 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Whey is a thin, watery substance that is produced from milk during the cheese-making process. Milk is made up of two major proteins: casein and whey. The casein, commonly referred to as curds, is combined with enzymes that solidify it into cheese after it is separated from the whey. The remaining whey protein is then filtered to get rid of any other natural acids and can be consumed as a form of protein. Whey protein that is dried out and processed to remove any remaining fat is known as whey protein isolate, while its lesser processed and higher fat version is referred to as whey protein concentrate and tends to have a richer flavor.

Protein is a naturally occurring compound both in the human body and in certain foods, such as meats, seafood, and beans. It is responsible for a variety of body and cell functions, including building bones and muscles, repairing bones, increasing metabolism, and giving the body more energy. Whey protein concentrate generally has a higher amount of protein in one small serving compared to larger servings of meat or other protein products. Due to its high protein content, the product is often consumed by professional athletes or bodybuilders in order to help repair and grow their muscles and prevent injuries.

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One of the possible benefits of whey protein concentrate rather than other forms of protein is its ability to perhaps burn body fat more quickly. Supporters of the protein believe it increases metabolism and helps a person burn more fat and retain more muscle than other foods. It also is thought to make a person feel fuller and more satisfied for a longer period of time so he or she does not physically feel the need to consume additional calories.

Another possible reason why some people may prefer whey protein concentrate powder to other proteins is its ability to blend into recipes. The product typically has very little flavor on its own and therefore may be able to be added to many recipes without altering the taste of the dish. The whey protein powder also tends to soak up the flavors of any foods it is combined with, helping consumers tailor it to their own personal food preferences. Whey usually also has less fat, calories, and cholesterol compared to beef, pork, chicken, and seafood.

Whey protein does not typically have any documented side effects. People who are lactose-intolerant and have difficulty digesting the lactic acid found in some dairy products may experience nausea or stomach pains if they consume whey, since it is a byproduct of milk. Since whey contains similar enzymes found in human breast milk, it is generally considered safe for pregnant women and children.

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