December 11th, 2018
what is whey

What Is Whey? A Complete Guide To Whey Protein

Many gym-goers, athletes, and generally active people take a protein supplement regularly. It is common knowledge that in order to maintain or build muscle, maintain a healthy metabolism, and preserve healthy body function you need to consume enough protein regularly in your diet.

It can be challenging to get enough protein in your daily diet so many choose to use protein supplements, bars and shakes.

There are various types of protein supplements but the most popular is whey protein.

Related: Best Protein Powder For Women: How To Choose

What is whey?

First a little science. There are two major sources of protein found in cow milk: whey and casein protein. The ratio of whey to casein in cow milk is typically around 20:80. [1]

Whey is separated from milk as part of the cheese making process. During the cheese making process, the milk curdles (this is the casein) and the remaining liquid is known as whey (also called milk serum).

The whey contains a number of different proteins, which together are encompassed by the singular title “whey protein”. It’s kind of like how people from San Diego and San Francisco, while very different, are both called Californians.

This whey is then processed into powdered form and sold as a powder for shakes and cooking, or as an added ingredient to protein bars and other foods.

Why use whey protein?

Whey protein supplements are great for everyone: those that workout regularly, those that have an active lifestyle, and those that don’t get enough protein in their daily diet.

There are many benefits to taking whey protein, starting with the absorption rate.

Quick absorption rate

The absorption rate refers to how fast your body absorbs the nutrients from something you eat or drink.

Whey protein supplements are already broken down into smaller molecules and strands that allow your system to digest and absorb the nutrients quickly. This is great not only for convenience sake, but for those with sensitive stomachs as well. Protein like PrettyFit Whey even have additional digestive enzymes included to help you digest the protein even easier.

In regards to working out, if you take a pre or post-workout protein shake, your body can absorb and utilize the whey’s nutrients quickly.

Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

Whey protein is a complete protein that is high in branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein), and is absorbed quickly by the body.

BCAAs are especially important for weightlifters as they help stimulate protein synthesis (lean muscle growth), and speed up recovery from a workout. PrettyFit Whey, for example, has over 5g of BCAAs in each serving.


Whey protein supplements are also offered in a million different flavors. From classic chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, to rocky roads, new car scent, espresso and beyond, you can literally find any flavor under the sun.

The fast acting nature of whey protein combined with great taste makes it a ubiquitous post-workout supplement to promote lean muscle growth and recovery. How can you pass up the convenience of a delectable shake that is good for you?


Some claim that you should get all of your protein from a well-balanced and well-timed diet. While this strategy may work for some with the time and money to do so, the convenience and fast digesting nature of whey protein makes it a perfect substitute for the active lifestyle.

Also, protein digests slowly compared to carbs and fats, keeping you feeling fuller, longer. So if you’re trying to lose weight or control your appetite, a protein shake is a perfect snack to hold you over (and it tastes delicious :))

What to keep in mind when purchasing a whey protein supplement

Not all whey proteins are created equal so always check the ingredient profile and brand before purchasing. Many brands will sell what’s called “whey concentrate”, which is a blend of wheys that typically isn’t very high quality.

The process in which the whey is made also affects the quality. We recommend cold-processed and filtered whey as heat can degrade the protein. Brands that cold-process their protein will list this in the ingredient profile as it signals a higher quality and more nutrient dense product.

Lastly, make sure your whey is not crammed with a bunch of fillers, false flavorings and preservatives. For the best results always go for the minimal ingredient formulas. After all, your body deserves the best!


  1. Lusignan MF, Bergeron A, Lafleur M, Manjunath P. The major proteins of bovine
    seminal plasma interact with caseins and whey proteins of milk extender. Biol
    Reprod. 2011 Sep;85(3):457-64. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod.110.089961. Epub 2011 May
    18. PubMed PMID: 21593483.

Evan Clark

Evan Clark is a former wildland firefighter turned fitness pro (NSCA CPT). Though he loves his heavy squat and deadlift sessions, he believes that health and fitness extend well beyond the gym and that fitness should be a tool to promote mental health and lifestyle balance.

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