Whey Protein in Foods

Whey Protein in Foods

Whey protein in foods? Yeah you read it right. You may be familiar with whey protein as a supplement but you can consume whey protein from different foods as well and it is healthy and natural too. So, first let’s understand what whey protein is?

What is Whey Protein?

Before focusing on whey protein first let’s understand what is protein?

Protein is one of the main macronutrients that our body needs to grow and repair its cells. Protein is a combination of amino acids that work as the building blocks of protein. Often people consume protein to support their muscle growth and meet their daily nutritional goal. Furthermore, protein has a huge role in weight loss diets. Whey protein is one of the main sources of protein for athletes and bodybuilders to increase their athletic performance and muscle strength.

Whey protein is a protein that is derived from the milk during the cheese and yogurt making process. This contains all 9 essential amino acids including full of branched-chain amino acids, functional peptides, immunoglobulins and antioxidants. A study published in a journal supporting the ability of whey protein to boost muscle growth.

Whey Protein in Foods

Which foods contain whey protein? Can you use whey protein as meal replacement? All of these questions will be answered in this section.

Whey protein is an effective source for boosting muscle protein synthesis. It can be used as workout supplement, meal replacement, or as a snack. Whey protein is great for athletes and bodybuilders.

Naturally, dairy-based items contain whey protein. Dairy-based items contain about 11-15 grams of protein per cup but there are individuals who don’t prefer to consume dairy-based items or are intolerant to those. For them other whey protein sources are more suitable.

Below provided list contains all the foods that contain whey protein.

Cottage Cheese

Cottage Cheese is a soft and fresh cheese which is a byproduct of the cheese making process that contains a significant amount of whey protein in it. Not only does it contain a higher amount of protein Cottage Cheese is also low in fat and calories. This makes Cottage Cheese a good option for those who want to increase their protein consumption and lose fat.

Ricotta Cheese

This unpressed, high-moisture cheese is rich in whey protein and other essential nutrients. This creamy, slightly sweet cheese is made from whey leftover from cheese production or from a combination of whey and milk or sometimes from milk only.

Cow and Goat Milk

Milk is the primary source of whey protein and contains whey protein in its protein content. Milk not only contains whey protein but also contains all the essential nutrients such as calcium, vitamins A and D, and healthy fats.

Just like post-workout protein shakes, cow milk has the similar ability to boost muscle growth when consumed after workout. Cow milk contains about 20% whey protein in its protein portion and 80% casein.

Similar to cow milk, goat milk has the same amount of nutrients and is a good substitute for those who are allergic to cow or buffalo milk.


One of the best natural whey protein source Yogurt also contains calcium, potassium and probiotics. The unstrained versions of yogurt offer the best benefits. Especially the Greek yogurt due to its strained processing method it becomes thicker and contains a higher amount of protein in it. The Greek yogurt contains about 15g protein per cup.

Whey Protein Powder

Whey Protein powder or supplement in powder form is the convenient and highly concentrated source of whey protein. It is available in 3 different forms i.e. concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysate. Add them with smoothies, shakes and drink them before or after workout.

Composition (%) of whey protein forms:

ComponentWhey PowderWhey ConcentrateWhey Isolate
Protein11 – 14.525 – 89 90 +
Lactose63 – 75 10 – 55 0.5
Milk Fat               1 – 1.5  2 – 10   0.5
Adapted from Geiser, 2003.

Protein Bar

On average a protein bar contains 10-20g protein. These protein bars are great as nutritious snacks. Few protein bars contain whey protein but not all. Some may contain soya protein and others may contain a mix of plant-based proteins so, it is better to check the ingredient list before buying it.

Fortified Cereals

Some breakfast cereals contain whey protein in them that makes the breakfast more nutritious and healthy. You must check the label on the package to ensure that the cereal is containing whey protein, not the protein from other sources.

Meal Replacement Shakes

The meal replacement shakes are exactly as the name implies. The shakes designed to replace your meals come in different forms such as: low-calorie shake for weight loss and high calorie shake for building bulky muscle. These protein replacement shakes often contain high quality whey protein in their content for providing a balanced nutrition. Since these shakes are consumed in place of one or more meals these replacement shakes contain not only protein but carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals too. So you must keep it in mind while buying a meal replacement shake that the shake contains all the required micro and macro nutrients.

Fortified Baked Goods

This food option is impossible to overlook when considering whey protein in foods. Some bread, muffins, crackers and baked goods contain whey protein. This allows the consumer to enjoy their favorite treat with some extra dose of high quality protein in it.

Protein-Enhanced Beverages

Whey protein in beverages is common. Protein-shakes, Protein water and Smoothies that contain whey protein can be used as post-workout recovery drink. These protein infused drinks contain whey protein as their primary ingredient. When you are short on time these beverages offer a convenient way to consume whey protein on the go.

Whey protein is the watery portion of the milk that gets separated during the cheese making process and the milk contains 20% whey protein in it. Discovering whey protein in foods simplifies the task of maintaining a well-rounded protein intake. Whey protein is not only used to improve athlete performance, it is also used for asthma, diabetes, weight loss, and many other conditions. Why protein is sold in powder and liquid form and it is also used during snack preparation as an ingredient and added with milk while preparing waffles, pancakes, muffins, chocolate and pudding. People who want to increase their protein consumption without being dependent only on supplements may consume these above mentioned foods and maintain their nutritional balance. Furthermore, foods like baked goods containing whey protein makes it easier for lactose intolerant people to consume whey protein in their daily life.

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