It has the benefits of milk in a much concentrated form and a complete protein with all the essential amino acids, please laud the humble whey if you haven’t yet acknowledged its presence. So what is all this fuss about whey? Is it only for the class of people who actively exercise or is it for everyone? Let us attempt to answer the myriad of questions that arise when we think of whey.

What is whey’s story?

It all started long long time ago when Hippocrates first used whey in the liquid form (then called serum) to boost immunity to disease. Galen also followed the suit. Whey constitutes 20% of milk protein and is nothing but a by-product of the cheese industry. The liquid that is left behind after milk is curdled and strained is whey.

Why supplement with whey? How much is enough?

To bridge the gap between what we need (Recommended Dietary Allowance) and what we actually consume, we rely on supplements. Supplements as the name suggests are used in addition to normal meals to make it more complete from the perspective of nutrition. Hence, it should not be used as a replacement to all meals.

On an average, the Indian vegetarian diet provides 35g to 40g protein accounting for at least 3 servings of dairy, 2 servings of dal or pulses and the remainder from cereals. Now, consider for instance an average Indian sedentary man with a height of 165cm and weight 65kg requiring 52g of protein but meets only 77% of his requirement through diet. The deficit can be met through the consumption of good quality protein in required amounts. Even a non-vegetarian who consumes non-veg foods just twice or thrice a week would not be able to meet requirements merely through diet.

Further, if you are working out, your protein requirements would increase depending on the type, intensity, duration and frequency of the activity. Same is the case in stress or the growing years of life. Non-vegetarians can still meet these protein requirements through the consumption of high quality protein options such as egg, chicken etc. However, the quantity that it is consumed in also matters. Once you have assessed the quantity and quality of the protein in your diet, you can decide whether supplementation is an option or not.

Can anyone consume whey?

As long as you are not having a medical condition where whey is contraindicated, one can safely consume whey either to meet the daily requirement with or without exercise.

What is the difference between a whey concentrate and isolate?

Whey can be further classified into two forms: powder, concentrate and isolate. The major differences in these are in the table below.

ComponentWhey ConcentrateWhey Isolate
Protein 25 – 89 90 +
Lactose 10 – 55 0.5
Milk Fat 2 – 10 0.5

Adapted from Geiser, 2003.2003.

Depending on one’s requirement and workout regimen, an appropriate protein can be used.

What are the benefits of whey?

Weight loss: Nine randomised control trials have established a significant link between whey protein consumption and reduction in weight. The reduction is weight was also accompanied by a reduction in fat mass thereby changing the body composition. This effect seems to come about as whey suppresses grehlin.

Glucose lowering effect: Continuous glucose monitoring was conducted in patients with Type 2 Diabetes in a double blinded study where diet was kept identical. It was found that those on metformin therapy receiving 1 serving (21g) of whey protein before breakfast and before dinner showed a good control in blood sugar. Whey protein seemed to have stimulated insulin and glucagon-like peptide secretion. These results were majorly significant in individuals who had a lower body mass index, lower triglycerides and lower glucagon-like peptide.

Promote muscle anabolism: Adequate protein intake is necessary to prevent muscle anabolism. It is suggested that 25g to 30g (of which at least 10g is good quality) protein is essential to promote muscle anabolism.

Cardiovascular risk factors: Risk factors for cardiovascular disorders such as systolic and diastolic blood pressure, high density lipoprotein and total cholesterol have all shown improvement with whey supplementation.

Antioxidant effect: Whey protein helps replenish glutathione levels. Glutathione is a very powerful antioxidant against inflammatory disorders and hence can be a combat against such illnesses. Glutathione levels decrease when illness strikes or in strenuous exercise.

Get to know more about whey in BodyFirst ® products and the science behind it

Whey is definitely the way forward!


  1. Drink to your health. Available from:
    [Accessed on 16 Nov 2017]
  2. Whey Protein Supplementation Improves Body Composition and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Overweight and Obese Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Available from:
    [Accessed on 17 Nov 2017]
  3. Glucose-lowering effect of whey protein depends upon clinical characteristics of patients with type 2 diabetes. Available from:
    [Accessed on 17 Nov 2017]
  4. Dietary protein recommendations and the prevention of sarcopenia. Available from:
    [Accessed on 17 Nov 2017]
  5. Whey protein concentrate (WPC) and glutathione modulation in cancer treatment. Available from:
    [Accessed on 17 Nov 2017]