*Yashvee Vaghela

Imagine being able to make use of the waste by-product of dairy products like milk and cheese! Protein obtained from our regular diet may not be adequate in quantity and quality. Insufficiency of protein can lead to various metabolic disorders. Hence, this issue makes it necessary for us to consume an appropriate amount of protein. The biggest obstacle is the high cost of proteinaceous foods. Therefore, the search for nutritious yet less affordable protein sources began.

Whey is the star alternative which fulfils the dietary needs. It is the yellowish green coloured liquid part of milk obtained after the curd has been separated from the milk by employing proteolytic enzymes during the coagulation process. It is used in a variety of commercial food products due to its nutritious makeup.

Milk whey has the highest concentration of quickly available and easy-to-digest amino acids. The amino acid composition of whey determines the protein quality. Based on the constitution, whey proteins are commercialised in three forms: whey protein concentrate (quintessential proteins: 29–89%), whey protein isolate (90% protein) and whey protein hydrolysate (a semi-digested form of protein).

Various dairy items from which we can obtain whey are cottage cheese, yogurt, milk. Most of the whey protein products are present in powdered form, some of which are obtained from cow’s milk and some from goat’s milk. This powder can be used to protein bars and shakes for consumption.

Whey protein is a versatile compound. It plays a crucial role as a food ingredient by enhancing the food’s sensory quality and texture. Whey protein can be added to beverages, pastas, and bakery items. Not to forget, the applications of whey proteins can be limited due to allergy problems.

Consumers are looking for natural ingredients rich in nutrients in their foods and beverages as they become more health-conscious. For this reason, bioactive ingredients are used as functional components, resulting in the creation of high-value goods. To cope with the challenges, the bioactive compounds are wrapped in a carrier material comprised of whey protein during the encapsulation process.

Currently, whey protein products are being studied for use in pharmaceutical development, functional meals, and dietary supplements to provide health advantages. By extracting and purifying bioactive peptides from whey proteins, these peptides can help with anti-hypersensitivity, anti-cancer, and anti-diabetic activities.

In a nutshell, whey protein can be incorporated into a variety of products to help increase protein intake. The most essential attribute is that it is a high-quality protein source that the body can absorb and use efficiently. Whey protein is beneficial for increasing protein consumption and for people who want to develop muscle mass while losing weight.

In-house writer, FMT Magazine