Nutrition Benefits of Whey Protein
Whey protein is well known throughout the food industry (and by consumers) as a high-quality protein source. It contains just the right balance of essential amino acids for optimum protein utilization in the body. Its protein quality is reflected in its high PDCAAS and DIAAS values, making it a popular choice in sports nutrition, infant nutrition, and medical nutrition products.
Functional Properties of Whey Protein
Whey protein can also boast a wide range of functional properties. For example, whey protein’s water-binding ability makes it useful in thickening and gelation. It’s also an effective emulsifier and foam stabilizer. Due to its many functional properties, whey protein is especially important in bakery products, where it can be used to reduce fat, replace egg, enhance browning, improve flavor, and increase shelf life.
Types of Whey Products
Whey products can be divided into three major categories:
1. Whey Protein Concentrates
Whey protein concentrate (WPC) has a mild, pleasant flavor and comes in a range of protein concentrations. WPC 34 (which has about 34 percent protein) and WPC 80 (with about 80 percent protein) are examples of two very different whey protein concentrates, with WPC 34 commonly used in baking and WPC 80 for protein fortification. Products that use whey protein concentrate include:
- Bakery products
- Soups and soup mixes
- Dairy products
- Infant formulas
- Beverage mixes
- RTD sports and nutrition beverages