Whey protein powder is typically made from the liquid byproduct of cheese production, called whey. The process of making whey protein powder involves the following steps:
- Cheese production: Cheese is produced by coagulating milk using rennet or another acid, resulting in curds and whey.
- Separation: The curds are then separated from the whey using a centrifuge.
- Concentration: The whey is then concentrated to increase its protein content through ultrafiltration or another process.
- Ion exchange: The concentrated whey is then subjected to ion exchange, where the proteins are separated based on their electrical charge. This results in the production of whey protein concentrate.
- Drying: The whey protein concentrate is then dried, either through spray drying or drum drying, to remove any remaining moisture and produce a powder.
- Packaging: Finally, the whey protein powder is packaged and sold.
Whey protein powder is a complete protein, containing all the essential amino acids. It is also quickly absorbed and utilized by the body, making it a popular supplement for athletes and individuals looking to build muscle and improve their athletic performance. Additionally, whey protein powder is low in lactose and is often used as a substitute for individuals who are lactose intolerant.