In the cheese making process, there is a waste product that can do wonders for you. Whey is a power packed nutrient that has fed children for centuries, enough that it is part of nursery rhymes. Since the cheese making industry never could find a large market for whey, it was sold as a cheap nutrient. There whey floundered in obscurity until it was discovered by athletes and bodybuilders. For intense training, it is a high quality protein that has the unique advantage of mixing with liquids. It is loaded with amino acids.Whey’s amino acids are branched chain amino acids, called BCAA’s.These include L-leucine, L-isoleucine, and L-valine. The ideal BCAA source is from whey protein 80% concentrate. Easily digestible and quick acting, a whey protein shake brings a healthy dose of BCAA’s:
Leucine is considered to be the dominant BCAA. It is one of the most powerful anabolic nutrients, responsible for the repair and building of skeletal tissue. Leucine is also needed for manufacturing human growth hormone (HGH) that keeps muscle tissue from breaking down.
Isoleucine, similar to leucine, repairs and builds muscle, and is needed for the creation of HGH. Furthermore, it is needed for manufacturing hemoglobin, a critically important component of red blood cells.
Valine is necessary for building and repairing muscle. It also maintains the nitrogen balance in the body.
Whey concentrate powder diluted with sufficient liquid rapidly delivers the BCAA goods. Many studies have been conducted on the safety and effectiveness of whey protein. In clinical tests, results showed that supplementation with 20 grams of whey protein concentrate per day for three months resulted in significantly more peak power and 30 second maximal work capacity. 
Don’t fall for the trap of taking soy protein instead of whey protein. Soy is a mass produced plant protein source, much cheaper than whey but much more of a problem. It is considerably more contaminated than grass fed animal protein, and has far too many nutritional downsides compared to animal protein. Soy protein powder is almost guaranteed to come from genetically modified seeds with potentially serious effects on the endocrine system.
Grass fed cows produce milk, the whey form this milk has been shown to have a composition similar to human breast milk. According to research, grass fed and organic milk products have significantly more nutrients than commercial milk products.  Organic whey has considerably more nutrient value and considerably less contaminant.
However, things get you can’t expect to help yourself consuming any whey protein from a different with commercial toxic laden whey. You can’t expect to help yourself consuming any whey protein container with a muscle man pictured on it. Contaminants slow reactions and commercial whey protein powders are highly packed with contaminants. Much of the filtering process and refining process of commercial whey protein powder strips away nutrients, the very reason we take whey. Read the label.
Whey protein is typically contaminated by a variety of artificial additives and by the contaminated milk it is made from. It comes from a billion dollar nutritional supplement industry. Virtually all of the whey protein powders you’ll see in stores will be contaminated with antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, fungicides, and preservatives. It is almost always sweetened by artificial sweeteners, flavored by artificial flavors, artificially textured, and comes with a liberal dose of artificial color. The carbohydrate that commercial whey protein comes with is almost exclusively maltodextrin, a corn derivative that goes into almost all junk food.
Mass marketed containers of whey protein use high heat processing to assure a long shelf life. Unfortunately this heat fractures the molecular bonds of the branched chain amino acids. The resulting powder is only a fraction of the potency of natural whey. Commercial whey is treated with acid, the most common (and cheapest) method of separating the casein curd from the whey. But this acid treatment degrades the protein the same as heat degrades the protein. The protein molecules become denatured and insoluble. This means that more chemicals must be added to the whey to make it soluble.
Consumer Reports published research in 2010 that showed alarmingly high concentrations of heavy metals in the most popular brands of whey protein powder. The lead, arsenic, and cadmium content causes permanent damage to the central nervous system. When the top selling brands of whey protein were tested, every one was heavily contaminated, led by the most popular one from EAS. 
To hide whey’s strong taste, manufacturers mask the aftertaste with artificial flavor and chemical additives. Chemical flavoring, artificial sweeteners, chemical preservatives, chemical detergents, and sugar alcohols are used. Most whey protein is artificially sweetened with sucralose, the product of making a non-nutritive sweetener from sugar treated with chlorine and hexane.
You’ll find whey powder in four concentrations: sweet whey, whey concentrate, whey isolate, and whey hydrolysate. Sweet whey has the lowest protein concentration of the three, about 34% protein, and is often found as an ingredient in baked goods. Whey concentrate has about 80% protein and is very easily digested.
Whey isolate has about 90 – 94% protein but the filtering process makes it a major problem for absorption. It is a powder made from complex process that involves acidic separation from the cheese curds. Whey isolate is stripped of nutritional co-factors such as vitamins, alkalizing minerals, and lipids lost in the advanced processing. This makes it extremely acidifying. It is difficult for the human gut to recognize and digest. For the slight gain in protein count over whey concentrate, manufacturers charge a premium. Consumers get less nutrient impact.
Whey hydrolysate is yet another round of filtering with excellent marketing, thus the considerably higher price. The protein is also in the 90 – 94% range, coming from microfiltration, ion-exchange, and reverse osmosis. The processing of whey hydrolysate filters away many of the nutrients which are naturally found in whey and the very reason why whey has been such an important nutrient.
Putting whey to work
Once you’ve settled on organic whey concentrate, you’ll find it to be very energizing. Whey has a remarkably fast nutrient delivery. It is especially good for taking before a workout and immediately after a workout. When about 15 – 20 grams of whey is taken about 90 minutes before a workout, the blend of 2:1 carbohydrates to protein, the amino acids blend with carbs to force glycogen into cells for more energy. Muscles have more fuel and respond with greater force.
Immediately after the workout, another whey protein shake goes to work. Once again the ratio is about 2:1 carbs to protein. The protein helps the carbohydrates push glycogen into cells, speeding recovery. The body immediately goes into an anabolic state. As a result, the quick rebuilding effort cuts down on delayed onset of muscle soreness, DOMS. Furthermore, the CNS is supplied with nutrients to recharge quickly.
It is essential that the carbohydrate is absorbed rapidly. You’ll see some recommendations to have a post workout recovery drink within 10 minutes of completing the workout. Then you’ll see other recommendations to take it 60 minutes after the workout. You’ll see information that maltodextrin as the carbohydrate works fastest to get glycogen into cells, table sugar next, then the slowest is honey and fruit (fructose.) But honey is a food, the others aren’t. Therefore the best and safest way would be to take your recovery drink immediately after working out and be patient with honey’s slower absorption. It will be in the cellular level the same time as maltodextrin if the maltodextrin is taken 30 minutes after working out. Be early, be safe, avoid chemically manufactured foods from corn such as maltodextrin. Go for honey.
Whey protein should be a primary ingredient in the diet of a serious athlete. There are so many positives that an athlete would be foolish to bypass this superfood. The problem is finding grass fed whey or organic whey. This is basically a problem of importation. In Ireland, Uruguay and Argentina, New Zeeland along with other nations, the dairy industry is traditional. They let cows wander to eat grass, they don’t inject them with antibiotics, there is no Monsanto recombinant bovine hormone to increase production, there is no grain laced with arsenic and lead to make cows grow. All the milk is just milk. All the whey is just whey concentrate.
Get grass fed whey from the US or imported, but get your whey without all the chemical additives.
1. ______. Nutrition Working Group. Nutrition for Athletes, olympic.org, June, 2003.
2. Bottemiller, Helena. Most Antibiotics go to Animal Agriculture, foodsafetynews.com, February, 2011.
3. _______. Alert: Protein Drinks. Consumerreports.org. July, 2010.