Ever wonder how your whey protein is made? It’s actually a lot more straightforward than you might think, and you might be surprised at just where it all comes from. In this bitesize article we’ll explain what whey protein is made of and how it is made; these things are always good to know.
It all starts with cow’s milk …
If you’ve ever heard the phrase ‘curds and whey’, this is the very same whey that goes into making your whey protein. It is obtained by heating cow’s milk to remove the bacteria, and then separated into two separate substances: the curds (which is what cheese is made of) and the whey, which is the liquid that remains once the curds are removed.
So whey protein powder is, perhaps rather surprisingly, a by-product of the cheese-making process. This is a good thing as it means that no element of the milk is wasted; the curds (rich in a protein called casein) go on to make delicious edible products like yoghurt and cheese, while the liquid whey is transported off to the manufacturer (that’s us) to be dried out and transformed into the whey protein powder you shake up to make your protein shakes.
Making sense? Here’s the step by step process of the whey powder-making process break it down a little more clearly.
How is Whey Protein Made?
1. Dairy cows produce milk, which is collected by farmers
2. The cows’ milk is then stored, refrigerated and shipped to cheesemakers
3. The milk is then quickly heated (a process called pasteurisation) to remove any harmful pathogens and bacteria
4. Enzymes are then introduced to the milk which help separate out the two main proteins milk is made up of – caseins (solid) and whey (liquid)
5. The casein is kept by the cheesemakers to produce cheese, while the liquid whey is sent to whey protein powder manufacturers
6. We filter the liquid whey to remove carbohydrates (lactose) and fats from the whey
7. The filtered liquid whey is then spray-dried with blasts of hot and cold air which dries it out into a fine powder.
8. The dry, protein-rich whey powder is then packaged up into tubs or pouches and shipped out to you for your delicious protein shakes, pancakes and other protein-rich treats.
And that’s it. Now you know how whey protein is made, here’s a few interesting facts about whey protein just to stretch your knowledge even further:
Whey Protein: Did you Know …?
Whey protein is a complete protein
A complete protein is any protein that contains all 9 essential amino acids. Whey protein is therefore considered ‘complete’, because it does indeed contain these 9 amino acids, including the 3 branched-chain amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine.
You can find whey protein in food
While consuming whey protein in powder form is preferable for convenience and speed, this incredibly beneficial protein can also be found naturally in several food sources, including:
- Butter and cream
- Ricotta cheese and cottage cheese
- Baked goods containing any of the above
Unsurprisingly, the above are all products of the original dairy farming and cheesemaking processes we described in our ‘How is Whey Protein Made?’ section.Now you know everything about how whey protein is made and its fantastic benefits, check out our full range of whey protein powder here at Kinetica Sports and discover our highly-popular range of delicious flavours.