Whey Protein: The Most Frequently Asked Questions

Team MGN
Written By: Team MGN
March 20th, 2014
Updated: June 13th, 2020
Categories: Articles Supplements
21.9K Reads
Get the inside "scoop" on one of the most popular supplements on the market: whey protein. Learn what it is, how it benefits you, and if it can be used when lactose intolerant.

Christine Hronec is co-owner and the food scientist behind Muscle Gauge Nutrition.

What is whey protein?

Whey is a "complete" protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids that the human body requires for proper repair and function.  Whey protein is also a rich source of the branched chain amino acids, L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine and L-Valine.  This high-quality source of protein naturally found in dairy, is commonly marketed and ingested as a dietary supplement, was once considered a useless by product of cheese manufacturing.

MGN Whey IsolateWhat are the benefits of whey protein?

Whey protein is one of the highest quality sources of protein and an ideal choice for men and women of all ages. Not only does whey protein provide serious athletes with essential and branched-chain amino acids, it also helps to repair and rebuild muscle tissues.

Whey protein is absorbed quickly due to its short chain length of amino acids which provides optimal recovery and growth.  The health benefits provided by Muscle Gauge whey protein are abundant and include areas such as weight management, cardiovascular health, and bone health to name a few.

What is the difference between whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate?

According to the Food and Drug Administration, whey protein isolate is a natural dairy protein powder made up of at least 90% protein.  Muscle Gauge Nutrition’s Whey Protein Isolate contains 25 grams protein per 30 gram serving (taking flavoring into account).

As a protein source, whey protein isolate contains more protein than whey protein concentrate, which contains about 80% protein.  In addition, whey protein isolate contains almost no sugar, lactose or fat.  Although whey protein isolate packs more protein, whey protein concentrate is the most economical option per gram of protein.

If whey protein concentrate is 80% protein, what is the other 20%?

Every protein powder, whether it's whey, soy, casein, etc., has moisture. In fact, 5% of the total formula is water. Another 3-5% is made up of naturally occurring minerals in whey.  The remaining 10-12% is a combination of carbs and fat.

Is protein powder pasteurized?

Whey protein powder is made from pasteurized whole milk as a raw materials, however whey is processed at low temperatures in a sterile environment to prevent the protein from being denatured.  Whey can be denatured by heat.

High heat (such as the sustained high temperatures above 72 °C associated with the pasteurization process) denatures whey proteins.  While native whey protein does not aggregate upon acidification of milk, denaturing the whey protein triggers hydrophobic interactions with other proteins, and the formation of a protein gel.

Whey Protein Isolate

What is the expiration date of whey protein?

All whey protein products have a printed best by date on the label or container. Consuming protein past the best by date may cause upset stomach or more severe conditions due to breakdown of the excipients in whey protein powder, such as colorings and flavors.

The likelihood of the product going bad due to micro-bacterial growth is low since whey is stored as a powder in an opaque container free of water and moisture.  Although whey protein products are low in fat, if any fat is present, such as whey protein concentrate, or whey protein blend, the fat can go rancid due to the chemical decomposition of fatty acids from oxygen in the air.  It is best to strictly adhere to the manufacturer’s best by date to be 100% safe.

Can those who are lactose intolerant eat whey protein?

Whey protein isolate is virtually free of lactose, but may contain trace amounts (<0.5g per serving). Most people who are lactose intolerant are able to safely consume whey without any negative side effects however a medical practitioner should always be consulted before taking if there are any doubts.

Why does whey protein contain a small amount of soy lecithin?

Whey Protein contains a very small amount of soy lecithin to help it dissolve more easily and completely in foods and beverages.  After membrane filtration, spray drying is utilized to turn the highly concentrated solution of protein into an instantized, ready to mix powder for a broad array of commercial applications.

The instantizing process typically involves the use of soy lecithin (a natural component found in a number of foods) in trace amounts (<1 wt%) that is lightly coated onto the whey particles during the spray drying process to enable the protein to readily disperse in water.

selva raj
Posted on: Mon, 06/30/2014 - 03:04

Hi guys ...i need ur help...
i want growth my muscle (body building ) my age is 31 ...may i knw whaich protein is good for that ?

Posted on: Thu, 03/27/2014 - 16:14

Great article. Have been wondering about the specifics of whey. Thanks!

Posted on: Thu, 03/20/2014 - 22:22

Very helpful info. Thanks! I have one question, you said that whey gets denatured in high temperatures like 72 degrees Celcius, but you did say that this is from manufacturing it. I always felt like trying to drink whey by using HOT water, like with milk. So, the question is, can I make my whey and drink it by using boiling or hot water? Thank you so much.

Posted on: Thu, 03/20/2014 - 16:08

Hey Thanks for your article, I think it was very useful.
I just have one question, do you consider that in the long run, consuming regularly whey protein might lead to any kidney failures or health digestive problems?

Posted on: Sun, 04/27/2014 - 15:53

Healthy Kidneys and Whey Protein
The University of Connecticut conducted a studied called "Dietary Protein Intake and Renal Function," showing there isn't any concern for people with healthy kidneys who consume high amounts of whey protein. The study references recent research on high protein diets for both weight loss and athletes, which have found no negative impact on kidney function. The conclusion finds there is no evidence that supports the idea that high protein intake is a cause of kidney damage or dysfunction.