As a dietary supplement, 'whey protein' is most popular among bodybuilders, athletes, and others who want additional protein in their diet. It is regarded as a complete, high-quality protein that has all of the essential amino acids. Additionally, being very digestible and easy to consume, it can be absorbed from the gut quickly as compared to other types of proteins that take longer to break down in the body. Though the markets are filled with artificial and supplements that can fulfil or give the nutrition as much as whey protein, there can be nothing as such that can be compared to the natural sources of whey protein.
Since whey protein is a mixture of proteins isolated from whey, it is actually the liquid part of milk that separates during cheese production. To understand in simple terms about the natural whey protein we can say that milk actually contains two main types of protein which are casein (80%) and whey (20%). In terms of its quality, whey protein is found in the watery portion of milk whereby the fatty parts of the milk coagulate and then the whey is separated from it as a byproduct which then is used as a powder and sold in the market as whey protein.
However, since it undergoes a rigorous process, mixed with additives, flavours, it tends to lose its natural properties and quality. Also, when whey is processed, it's dehydrated and lactose, ash and some minerals are removed making it less effective than it is supposed to be! Additionally, whey products are also evident in baked goods, salad dressings, and emulsifiers which may not be an authentic and natural source of whey.
But since whey is made of milk which is a natural food, one can include and rely on sources of whey protein in the diet without always having to go for a processed powder. This way not only one can be assured of consuming the purest form of whey but can be sure of its quality and natural properties retention.
In such a scenario, one can dig the pantry for milk and milk products to find natural sources of whey protein. For example, ricotta cheese has the most ideal and natural source of whey. Similarly, the liquid which is floating on top of cottage cheese when you remove the lid is whey protein. Also, even hard cheese contains a little quantity of natural whey.
The milk you drink has close to 20% of protein which is whey. So cow's milk seems to be a good option as it has whey and is similarly effective in muscle growth when taken after post-workout. Additionally, goat milk is yet another natural source of protein that contains proteins as much and similar to that in cow's milk, including whey and casein.
Among all the sources of whey protein, Yogurt is considered to be one of the best. Since it also contains calcium, potassium and probiotics, it is lightweight, can help with gut health while helping to give the natural source of protein without relying on any additives.
Hence, whey isolates and concentrates typically contain more biologically active components and can make them a very attractive supplement which can be consumed in its natural form for effectiveness. Overall, it can be seen that natural milk and milk sources are considered to be the best sources of whey for everyday consumption.
(The author is Anish Garg, Co-Founder, Abbzorb Nutrition)
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not reflect the views of India TV)