What is whey?
Unprocessed whey is a cheese production by-product. After curdling and straining the milk for cheese production, the watery part of the milk separates from the fatty parts and that’s where the whey is found.
Whey is also one of the most commonly used types of protein used in protein powders. Whey helps in promoting muscle growth, reducing exercise-related injury, and improving athletic performance.
Is whey gluten free?
Due to the fact that whey is derived from milk, it’s naturally 100% gluten free.
What is whey protein powder?
The whey protein powder which is commonly sold as a dietary supplement is a mixture of proteins that have been isolated from the whey. The 2 main types of protein found in milk are whey and casein, which both need to be processed before being sold as dietary supplements. Whey protein contains a complete range of easily absorbed essential amino acids.
Do whey proteins contain gluten?
Although pure whey protein powder is gluten free, a lot of commercially sold whey protein supplements usually contain other ingredients besides whey and may contain gluten. Unflavored whey protein doesn’t taste too good, so it’s usually flavored, and quite often contains sugar or artificial sweeteners.
It’s important to ensure that the product you are purchasing does not contain any gluten ingredients such as food starch, caramel color, malt sugar, maltodextrin and dextrin. Some whey protein powders include the amino acid glutamine, which is not derived from any gluten containing foods, and does not need to be avoided.
Which whey protein powders are gluten-free?
- Amazon Elements Grass-Fed 100% Whey Protein Isolate Powder (Grass fed, non-GMO, no artificial sweeteners, stevia sweetened)
- Orgain Grass Fed Clean Whey Protein Powder (New Zealand sourced grass fed, non GMO, no artificial sweeteners, stevia sweetened, soy free, carrageenan free)
- Bodylogix Natural Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder (Grass fed, no artificial sweeteners, non-GMO, NSF Certified)
- Garden of Life Sport Certified Grass Fed Clean Whey Protein Isolate (Grass fed, non-GMO, no artificial sweeteners, stevia sweetened, soy free, NSF Certified)
- Nutricost Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate (Grass fed, non-GMO)
- Revly 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate Powder (Grass fed, non-GMO, no artificial sweeteners, stevia sweetened)
- ArcFire Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate (Grass-fed, from cold processed milk, NSF Certified)
Types of whey protein
Whey powder is available as whey concentrate, whey isolate or whey hydrolysate, which are all gluten free in pure form and are safe for individuals with celiac disease. Whey concentrate is less processed than whey isolate or whey hydrolysate, consists of approximately 70–80% protein, and contains some lactose and fat. Whey isolate is more processed and consists of at least 90% protein, but is lacking in other beneficial nutrients found in whey concentrate, and contains less lactose and fat. Whey hydrolysate is even more processed with heat that separates amino acid bonds which allows the protein powder to be digested and absorbed quicker.
Certified gluten free protein powder
Although there are manufacturers of whey protein products that make gluten free whey powder, they might also be producing other products which are made with gluten, and there is a chance that their gluten free whey products may have been contaminated from equipment that has been in contact with gluten. To avoid cross contamination, ensure that the whey protein product that you are purchasing is certified gluten free protein powder.
Health benefits of whey protein
Whey protein for muscle gain
Whey protein supplements are most commonly used by bodybuilders and athletes for increasing muscle mass and strength. Whey protein provides essential amino acids, the building blocks necessary for muscle growth. Whey protein is high in leucine, an amino acid that stimulates muscle protein synthesis at the molecular level.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.1093/jn/136.1.227s Whey protein helps stimulate muscle growth by increasing the release of anabolic hormones such as insulin.2✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
Whey protein for losing weight
Protein is the macronutrient with the highest satiety level (most filling)3✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.1093/ajcn/87.5.1558s, and can help in boosting energy expenditure.4✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.1080/07315724.2002.10719194 Whey protein supplements can help to maintain adequate protein intake when on a calorie restricted diet, and help to avoid muscle loss.
Whey protein for diabetes
Whey protein can help in moderating blood sugar, and it increases insulin levels as well as insulin sensitivity.5✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.1093/ajcn.82.1.69 A study has shown that the addition of whey protein supplements to a high-carb meal helps to moderate blood sugar in individuals with type 2 diabetes.6✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
Whey protein for blood pressure
Dairy product consumption has been associated with a reduction in blood pressure,7✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
PMID: 19369377 which has been attributed to angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitory peptides, which are found in milk protein. These peptides are present in whey protein and various studies have humans shown that these peptides can significantly reduce blood pressure.8✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE