What is whey protein?

whey protein


Whey protein is a fast digesting, high quality protein supplement derived from milk during the cheese making process. It contains essential amino acids needed to build and repair muscle tissue.


  • Whey protein is one of the primary proteins found in dairy products, making up 20% of milk protein. It is quickly absorbed and contains more branched-chain amino acids than other protein sources.
  • Whey protein powders like whey isolate and whey concentrate are popular supplements among athletes and people looking to increase daily protein intake.
  • Whey is particularly effective at stimulating muscle protein synthesis when consumed before or after workouts. It may also aid fat loss and reduce appetite.


  • Whey protein shakes
  • Whey protein bars
  • Adding whey protein to oatmeal or smoothies

Related Terms

  • Leucine – Essential amino acid that triggers muscle protein synthesis and aids muscle growth and recovery. Abundant in animal and dairy proteins.
  • Protein synthesis – Process of building new protein molecules from amino acids. Required for muscle growth and repair. Leucine helps stimulate this.
  • Amino acids – Compounds that join together to form proteins. Include essential amino acids like leucine that must come from diet.
  • Casein protein – Slow-digesting dairy protein that releases amino acids steadily. Taken at night to provide muscles with leucine while sleeping and fasting.

Common Questions

  • When should I take whey protein? Take whey protein shortly before or after workouts to provide muscles with quick protein and leucine for growth and recovery.
  • Does whey protein build muscle? Yes, whey protein can help build muscle when combined with strength training by providing amino acids like leucine to stimulate protein synthesis.
  • Is whey protein safe? Yes, whey protein is generally safe for most people when consumed in normal amounts. Potential side effects include bloating, gas, thirst.

Do Not Confuse With

  • Creatine – Supplement that increases cellular energy (ATP)
  • Steroids – Synthetic compounds that stimulate muscle growth and testosterone
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