Whey Protein: Types, Benefits and Side-Effects

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Akanksha Dubey

70 articles

Friday, 05-Aug-2022

10 Min Read

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Whey Protein: Types, Benefits and Side-Effects

What Is Whey Protein?

Milk primarily contains two types of protein: casein and whey. Whey protein is the name given to this mixture of protein.

During cheese production, the whey, usually found in the liquid portion of milk, coagulates together and separates as a by-product. Previously, cheesemakers would discard this whey, but not any longer. Whey protein is now known for its nutritional value.

Whey protein powder is typically flavoured because it does not taste particularly appetising. If you buy whey protein powder, ensure it doesn't contain added sugar.

How Much Protein Is Required Daily?

It's a go-to natural product for fitness enthusiasts, dieters, and others who don't get enough protein in their diet. If you've tried flavoured whey protein, you won't pass up this protein source. It can be mixed into protein bars and shakes or used as a meal replacement.

Whey protein is safe to consume for the majority of people. On the other hand, those with lactose intolerance or allergies may need to exercise caution.

Table of Contents

1. Forms of Whey Protein Supplementation

2. Whey Protein’s Nutritional Facts

3. Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Whey Protein

4. Are You Looking To Increase Your Strength And Muscle Mass?

5. The Side Effects of Whey Protein

6. The Final Say


Forms Of Whey Protein Supplementation

All protein is not structured the same, and whey protein is no exception. There are many types of whey on the market, but which is best for you?

The three most common are:

1. Whey protein concentrate (WPC)

2. Whey protein isolate (WPI)

3. Whey protein hydrolysate (WPH) 

While both forms of whey (isolated and concentrated) come from milk, there are some key differences:

  • Whey protein concentrate is the most popular product in the industry. It has a protein content of 70-80% and lactose and fat. 
  • WPC is a more natural form of whey protein, making it the least expensive and delectable.
  • WPI (whey protein isolate) contains at least 90% protein. In other words, it's almost entirely protein, with only a trace of fat and lactose. Because it doesn't have the best flavour, you might want to mix it with milk.
  • Whey isolate (or hydrolysate) that has been hydrolysed has been predigested. It increases bioavailability and allows your body to absorb it more quickly. You're eating powdered whey protein that has already been broken down into amino acids, the protein's building blocks.

Whey Protein’s Nutritional Facts

Whey protein powder has 113 calories per scoop (about 32 g), with fat accounting for 4.5%  of those calories.

  • The total fat content is 0.5 g, with 0.3 g of saturated fat. 
  • This product contains no trans fats.
  • Each of the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats contains 0.1 g.
  • Cholesterol is 5.1 mg, which accounts for 2% of your daily requirement.
  • The sodium content is 50 mg, representing 2% of your daily nutritional value.
  • Because a scoop of whey protein contains 160 mg of potassium, it will meet 5% of your daily potassium requirement.
  • The total carbohydrate content is 2 g, with dietary fibre accounting for 1%.
  • This dish has 25 g of protein. The measured amount of whey protein powder contains 2% iron and 12% calcium.

Evidence-Based Health Benefits Of Whey Protein

l go over some of the benefits of whey protein. It helps increase the body's protein intake.

The body produces some amino acids; the rest must be obtained from food. 

Essential amino acids are what our bodies obtain from outside food sources. Whey protein contains all nine vital amino acids. They also have branched-chain amino acids like leucine.

Leucine is an acid that helps in growth. It also has cysteine, which promotes the production of glutathione, a cellular antioxidant. Whey protein is the most effective way to make our bodies grow. Human breast milk contains 60% whey, whereas cow's milk contains only 20% whey.

Are You Looking To Increase Your Strength And Muscle Mass? 

Whey protein is essential for anyone trying to build muscle and add pounds to their body. Whether you are a beginner or a pro at the gym, you need it!

Whey protein comes from dairy products, mainly cheese and yoghurt. But the good thing is that it’s available in powder form, so you can mix it in a drink before going to the gym. Whey protein helps bulk your muscles and make them look fuller and more defined.

Whey Protein Can Help Lower Your Blood Pressure?

Whey protein powder has proved to help reduce blood pressure when people with hypertension. Similarly, it acts as a deterrent against the development of potentially fatal heart risks. 

Proteins Help You Feel Fuller And Eat Less

Whey protein has a powerful satiating effect. Protein is the most filling macronutrient. While balancing your calorie intake increases your energy expenditure.

According to studies, eating 1/4 of your daily protein requirement reduces hunger cravings by 60%. When you combine whey protein consumption with weight lifting, you can lose about 8 pounds while increasing lean muscle mass.

Other Benefits to Your Health

Whey protein also has a slew of other health advantages. It has anti-cancer properties, boosts immune function, and may even protect against psoriasis symptoms.

The Side Effects Of Whey Protein

Whey protein is considered safe for most adults when consumed in the recommended amounts. On the other hand, overconsumption of the mixture can cause bloating, diarrhoea, and hyperactive bowel movements.

Nausea, headaches, thirst, cramps, fatigue, and a decreased appetite are all possible side effects. If you do not carefully regulate your whey protein intake over time, you may develop acne problems. Most people should be fine with 1-2 scoops of the powder.

There hasn't been enough research on how it affects pregnant women. If pregnant or breastfeeding, it's best to avoid whey protein altogether. Further, if you have lactose intolerance or allergy, you may be unable to consume it.

1. Kidney Disorders

Avoid whey protein if you have kidney problems. It could aggravate your kidney problems. It can also cause kidney stones. Consume dietary fibre and water as part of your diet to counteract this side effect.

2. Gaining Unwanted Fat

Sugar is commonly added to whey protein powders, increasing your carbohydrate intake.

Fat may also be added to some of them. As a result, rather than increasing your protein intake to burn more calories, you might eat more than you need.

3. Gout

According to research, there is no direct link between consuming whey protein and developing gout. However, adding whey protein to your diet can worsen your condition when you have gout.

Before starting on whey protein, speak with your doctor if you have a family history of gout. Gout is one of the typical whey protein side effects.

4. Risks Of Cardiovascular Disease Increase

If you have heart disease, ensure you consume whey protein in the recommended dosage. If you take more than recommended amount, you risk developing heart arrhythmias, cardiac arrest, and possibly even the loss of all cardiac functions.

5. Osteoporosis

Excessive whey protein consumption over time may lead to a mineral imbalance in your bones. As a result of the imbalance, bone density may be reduced, leading to osteoporosis.

6. Increased Level Of Acidity In The Blood

Our blood pH rises when we consume whey protein. This excess protein is difficult for our kidneys to metabolise. Our blood becomes acidic as a result. 

7. Facial Swelling And Wheezing

Lactose intolerant people may have difficulty breathing and develop allergic reactions such as wheezing, lip/mouth/throat swelling, and so on. Visit a doctor as soon as you become aware of these symptoms.

8. Consumption Of Unbalanced Nutrition

You may be getting protein along with other nutrients when you eat natural protein, but it's still a better option than protein supplements. Whey protein powder is processed, interfering with our body's natural nutritional intake.

The Final Say 

Whey is a predominant protein found in milk. It has a very high protein content and absorbs quickly in the body compared to casein protein. Because of these characteristics, whey protein usage has increased.

Whey proteins are included as a post-workout meal in the diets of athletes and those who do hardcore gyming. Consuming whey protein as per the body’s requirement is ok, but overconsumption might harm you. Hence, it is suggested to consult a dietitian before including whey protein in your diet. 


1. Can whey protein be taken daily?

Whey protein is very safe. A commonly recommended daily dose is 1–2 scoops (25–50 grams). But to exceed these limits, you should consult a dietitian first. 

2. What is the best time to take whey protein?

The best time to take whey protein is within an hour of finishing your workout. It will help the recovery of your muscles. 

However, studies show the repair and regrowth of the body can take up to 48 hours. This is why taking between 20g to 30g of whey protein is optimal at any time of the day.

3. Who should not take whey?

Most people tolerate whey protein. However, high doses can cause nausea, increased bowel movements, thirst, cramps, bloating, and headache. People with milk allergy or sensitivity should not use whey protein.

4. Does whey protein affect the kidney?

There is no evidence that excessive protein can damage the kidneys. However, people with an existing kidney condition should ask their doctor before adding whey powder to their diet. 

5. Can whey protein be taken on an empty stomach?

The benefit of consuming whey protein on an empty stomach is that it easily gets digested and absorbed. A protein shake before you work out can give you a good energy source without the discomfort of an overfull or bloated stomach.


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