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Does Whey Protein Expire? Benefits, Isolate, Hydrolysate and Availability Information

Updated on January 8, 2014
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Trained in dentistry, Sree is currently studying lab sciences. She enjoys researching various health topics and writing about her findings.

When Protein Information

Whey protein is one of the two milk proteins (the other is casein). It can be separated from milk via a series of procedures. It is also separated from milk during the cheese-making process. It is the watery by-product when milk curdles and becomes cheese.

Whey protein has 9 amino acids. It contains beta-lactoglobulin, bovine serum albumin, alpha-lactalbumin and immunoglobulins. These proteins are easily digested and absorbed by the body. They do not cause any irritation to the lining of the stomach and intestines. They also do not trigger any allergic reactions. It has a low allergen profile, as compared to casein. It is low in lactose, which is responsible for triggering symptoms of milk allergies in some people.

Due to its low allergenic profile, whey protein is used as a milk and protein substitute. People with asthma, allergies (particularly milk and protein allergies), and lactose intolerance are given whey protein. It is used to improve the nutritional content of an otherwise nutritionally deficient diet in these conditions, due to the disease-related constraints.

Does Whey Protein expire?  Benefits 1 : Weight loss
Does Whey Protein expire? Benefits 1 : Weight loss | Source

Whey Protein Availability

This special protein is available in 3 main forms. Each form has different amounts of proteins. Basically, the more protein content, the less fat it contains. Whey protein concentrate is pretty much raw form. It has about 30 to 90% protein. This form contains the least amount of carbohydrates and fats. Whey protein isolate is raw whey protein that has undergone further processing to remove more lactose (carbohydrates) and fats. It is considered as the pure form of whey protein. It contains at least 90% of proteins. People prefer to use whey protein isolate as part of their weight lose regimen.

The third form is whey protein hydrolysate. This is the predigested form, which means it is the easiest to absorb for the body. This is the whey protein used for medical conditions. Due to its partially hydrolysed proteins, it does not require much digestion from the body. It is given as protein supplements in cancer patients and those with other chronic conditions. It is also the whey protein form contained in infant formulas because they are least likely to cause allergic responses.

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Benefits of Whey Protein

Amino acids for cellular health :

  • The amino acids in whey proteins have a special design. They are called BCAAs or branched-chain amino acids. These specially designed amino acids stimulate protein synthesis in the body. One particular amino acid for this process is leucine. This process is especially important in speeding up the rate of recovery. More protein synthesis increases the body’s adaptation to stress, hence, strengthens the body’s fight against damage due to stress.
  • Cysteine is another amino acid in whey proteins. It helps the body synthesize glutathione. This substance is important in defending the body cells against damages brought about by free radicals. Glutathione is a potent antioxidant that the body produces. Hence, some studies support the claim that milk ingestion reduces the risk to develop certain types of cancers.

Whey protein for repair :

  • Naturally occurring BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) help to repair cells and muscle and bone tissues. High levels of BCAAs help to combat fatigue by providing a steady and abundant supply of amino acids for protein synthesis. The more proteins produced by the body, the faster and greater repair happens. Having an active lifestyle requires more BCAAs because the body needs to constantly build and repair muscle tissues. Whey protein is rich in BCAA, making a great nutritional supplement.

Weight loss :

  • Weight loss programs give better and faster result when whey protein is added into the diet program. It has little fat and carbohydrates, and more proteins. It is ideal to be part of a meal replacement strategy. Proteins help you to feel fuller and more satisfied with a meal. A small serving of a complete meal followed by a whey protein shake makes you feel more satisfied, even with the small and controlled meal portions. Proteins also help to make you feel fuller after a meal for a longer period. Hence, it lessens the amount of food you eat, and the frequency by which you feel hungry and eat again.
  • It effectively curbs your hunger pangs, especially during the early stages of a diet program. The recommendation is to drink a glass of whey protein isolate 20 minutes before a meal, preferably at breakfast and dinner. It can also boost the metabolic rate, helping you burn more fat at a much faster rate.

Does Whey Protein expire? Benefits,Isolate, Hydrolysate and Availability Information
Does Whey Protein expire? Benefits,Isolate, Hydrolysate and Availability Information | Source

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Does Whey Protein expire?

Whey protein is available in the market in powder form. Processed foods generally have a shelf life. Foods rarely keep for an indefinite period of time. So, the question is, does whey protein expire?

Whey protein is a packaged and processed food item. Other ingredients are added to it during the manufacturing process in order to stabilize the product. These additives are also intended to enhance the flavor and to make it more soluble. After a while, these additives break down. It may be from exposure to air when you open up a pack or to light.

Light exposure plays a major role in the breakdown of substances. Manufacturing, packaging, transport, storage, and use expose the product to light. When the substances break down, the nutritional content of the whey protein becomes affected.

Does Whey Protein expire? Benefits,Isolate, Hydrolysate
Does Whey Protein expire? Benefits,Isolate, Hydrolysate | Source

Exposure to air can cause the flavors to evaporate. The more frequent you expose the whey powder product to air, the more oxidation occurs and it loses the flavor. Oxidation also leads to the increased breakdown of the whey protein itself. Once it does, the nutritional value decreases, and so are the benefits. Exposure to air can also introduce bacteria into the whey product. Over time, these bacteria grow and multiply. Hence, it contributes to the spoilage of the whey product.

Once you mix whey protein into a drink or protein shake, it is best consumed immediately. You can preserve the flavor and keep it from spoiling for about 2 hours if you refrigerate it. Otherwise, you lose the flavor, the protein breakdown and bacterial growth sets in. all these lead to the spoilage of an already mixed whey protein.

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