Whey Protein-Behind the Scene

Whey protein is a mixture of proteins isolated from whey. Whey is the liquid part of milk that separates during cheese production. Milk actually contains two main types of protein: casein (80%) and whey (20%). Whey is found in the watery portion of milk. When cheese is produced, the fatty parts of the milk coagulate and the whey is separated from it as a by-product

Whey Protein Manufacture

Here are the steps of manufacturing whey protein:

  • When milk is treated to cause a shift in its pH value
  • The casein coagulates and separates
  • The raw whey is left un-curded on top of the casein
  • It is then collected and subjected to a list of different processing steps which determine the quality and type of the whey protein
  • During filtration, low molecular weight compounds like lactose, minerals and vitamins are removed to make the protein more concentrated
  • After filtration, the protein is pasteurized, evaporated, and then dried
  • The drying is done at low temperature to avoid denaturing
  • Flavours are added to the whey protein to enhance the taste
  • Whey protein concentration is then packed and sent to warehouse
  • Whey protein is ready for consumption

Types of Whey Protein

There are three primary types of whey protein; whey protein concentrate (WPC), whey protein isolate (WPI), and whey protein hydrolysate (WPH).

1. Whey protein concentrate

Whey protein concentrate

WPC contains low levels of fat and low levels of carbohydrates and moderate amounts of protein. The percentage of protein depends on how concentrated it is. Lower end concentrates tend to have 30 percent protein and higher end up to 90 percent.

2. Whey protein isolate

Whey protein concentrate

WPC is ultra-filtered to make Whey Protein Isolate to remove all the fat and lactose. WPI has approx. 90 percent protein.

3. Whey protein hydrolysate

Whey protein concentrate

WPH is considered to be the "pre-digested" form of whey protein as it has already undergone partial hydrolysis - a process necessary for the body to absorb protein. WPH doesn't require as much digestion as the other two forms of whey protein. It is also used as medical supplements and in infant formulas as it is easily digested and has least possibilities of allergies.