Question:

Hello, I have a question about whey protein. I’ve been using a powdered whey protein. However, I also make my own cheese at home. A byproduct of cheese production is whey after separating the proteins with heat and a mild catalyst like lemon juice or vinegar. I’m generally wary of processed foods. My thinking is a less processed protein will be of a higher quality and a drastically low cost. It is in liquid form and kept refrigerated.  What should I consider from a spoilage and nutritional standpoint? My thinking is whey protein that is less processed.

– Eric D.

Answer:

So glad to hear you’re not washing your whey down the drain! Nutritionally, homemade whey protein is fully intact and not denatured like high-heat pasteurized powdered products. The liquid contains fewer chemicals and acid byproducts than commercially produced whey powder. It is also a source of vitamins A and several B vitamins and minerals original to the source milk/yogurt. In addition, there would be some vitamin C from the lemon juice used.  One cup of fluid acid whey contains about 2 grams of protein, 13 grams of carbohydrate and less than 1 gram of fat, providing a total of nearly 60 calories.*

If you’re going for protein though, liquid whey isn’t that concentrated, which necessitates quite a volume of it to make an impact. Since it keeps well (lasting several months in the refrigerator) you can use the tart liquid in cooking various foods and recipes over time. Clarity or cloudiness doesn’t matter – cloudiness indicates that some of the residual casein protein may have passed through the cheesecloth. For supplementing your diet to support exercise, convenient alternatives to powdered whey protein include hard-cooked egg whites and canned tuna in water.

*National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release April, 2018

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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