A Designer Protein Weighs In

  • Jaspal Bajwa
  • India
  • Apr 10, 2015

Perspectives do matter. What is junk or waste for one, may represent big value in the eyes of another. In the history of mankind, many an accidental discovery has later turned out to be a gold mine. More than 8,000 years ago, one such voila moment was when the milk of goats or cows went sour. The resultant curd (solid) and whey (liquid) separated naturally. This curd of coagulated protein – primarily casein - became the earliest known cheese. Whey is the liquid remaining after the milk has been curdled and strained. Whey, though a byproduct of cheese manufacture, packs quite a nutritional punch of its own. The Greek physician Hippocrates (b.460 BC), who said ‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’, held the health-boosting properties of Whey in high regard. In ancient Ayurveda texts there is mention of five kinds of ‘Matthha’ (Whey) – of which the most beneficial are ‘Takra’ and ‘Chhaachh’. Takra is curd mixed with water and Chhaachh is a clean-tasting drink, which is obtained when curd is churned to remove the butter from it and ample water is added. Chhaachh is very often had with rock salt, ‘jeera’ (cumin) and other digestive herbs added in. It is a cool, light, thirst-quenching appetiser and digestive aid, as it can remove excessive vata (wind) formation and also alleviate bile complications. In Europe too, by the 17th. century this ‘byproduct of the cheese industry’ had become very popular as a health tonic. In recent years, Whey protein isolate-based drinks and shakes have become very popular with sports enthusiasts, for building lean muscle and shedding fat. In the 1930s, Rutgers University reported the high mineral content in Whey and stated that it could be an effective treatment for rickets and tuberculosis. During the last decade several studies suggest that Whey protein may be able to halt a host of pathologies as also restore and sustain cellular energy. Interestingly, Whey protein seems to have the ability to temper the free radical activity of cancer cells; it ensures that the human body becomes an ‘unfriendly host’ for cancer cells. In 2005 a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition from the Lund University in Sweden made headline news for people suffering from Type 2 Diabetes. Whey appears to stimulate insulin release and Whey supplements can help regulate and reduce spikes in blood sugar levels. To sum up, Whey is a great dietary choice to help build muscles and/or shed excess fat. It helps maintain a ‘positive protein balance’. Given all its benefits, Whey is now considered a powerful and healthy super-food for almost any age group.

Tip of the Week

For maximum benefit, source natural Whey protein from grass-fed cows. Alternatively, you can go for a high quality nutritional Whey supplement of any reputed nutraceutical brand. Dried Sweet-Dairy Whey (DSW) typically contains 11-14.5% protein, whereas protein in Whey Protein Concentrates (WPC) can go as high as 34 to 85%. Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) has a protein content of 90% or higher. Whey is truly a no-frills ‘designer-protein’ - designed to be absorbed thoroughly and quickly. The speed of absorption matters, because it affects the anabolic (muscle-building) qualities of the protein. As a snack food, a Whey protein bar is both filling as well as nutritious.

Nature’s Wonder Food(s) of the Week: Forms of Whey 

Liquid Whey contains lactose, vitamins, protein and minerals, along with traces of fat. The nutritional value of ‘Sweet Whey’, obtained from rennet coagulation, differs slightly from that of ‘Acid Whey’, wherein coagulation is done with citric acid or lemon juice. For example, the latter has significantly more calcium, phosphorous and zinc. Whey is a high quality source of protein, whether measured by Protein Digestibility (PD) - the proportion of protein that is absorbed by the body, Biological Value (BV) - the proportion of absorbed protein that is retained for growth and maintenance, or Protein Efficiency Ratio (PER) - the gain in body weight per unit (gram) of protein consumed. The Biological Value of Whey is as high as that of egg or meat, with the added value of it being fat-free. Of the 20 Amino acids in the protein base of the human body, nine essentially come from our diet, because our cells cannot manufacture them. Whey protein is one source that provides all nine essential Amino acids. In fact the Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) - leucine, isoleucine, and valine - and other fractions found in Whey can mimic the anti-ageing benefits of calorie-restriction diets. In addition, this super-food provides a number of bioactive immune-system enhancing components. Good quality Whey protein provides all the key amino acids for the production of glutathione - the ‘master antioxidant’ that helps to dramatically lower oxidative stress and inhibits the diseases of ageing.

For Education purposes only; always consult a Healthcare Practitioner for medical conditions


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