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Whey Protein Isolate - Part 2 - First Supplement Usage

Updated on February 24, 2014

<< Part 1 - What Is It? <<

Now that you know what whey protein isolate is, you might be wondering when people started supplementing with whey protein.

How would you know that supplementing with whey would help you build muscle?

Did they figure it out on accident?

Let’s find out.

The History of Protein Supplements

You can thank the cheese manufacturers for not throwing away the whey as they were processing their cheese.

For many years people would use whey in animal feed. Then veterinarians started to notice that the animals were getting a lot healthier when they were fed whey. That sparked a lot of interest in the scientific community, so they started to research whey.

In the late 1930s, a pharmacist named Eugene Schiff came up with a method of processing the whey for human consumption. He opened his own company called Bio-Foods to help package the whey for sales in local drug stores.

Because of World War II, there was a high demand for non-perishable foods so food companies started selling powdered milk, eggs and soy protein as a means of getting additional protein.

So it seems that the demand for powdered supplements was sparked by necessity.

In the 1940s, there were many debates in bodybuilding magazines over raw and cooked diets or vegetarian and meat eating diets. These arguments spawned many articles written about the importance of protein in the 1950s, some of which focused directly on using protein supplements.

It took until the 1950s before companies started specifically making protein powders for athletes. One of the popular supplements that contained whey around that time was called Hi-Protein Food created by Irvin Johnson. His product became very successful thanks to the before and after pictures of weaklings getting strong after using his protein.

Others saw his success and tried to copy his product, but their ingredients weren’t as superior. He later changed his name to Rheo H. Blair and started calling his protein “Blair’s Protein” which became the number one protein supplement for bodybuilders.

This was the start of a huge protein supplement industry in the making.

Finding A Better Whey

You’ll have to fast forward all the way to 1992 before you’ll find the purer form of whey protein known as whey protein isolate.

What everyone had been using in the past was whey protein concentrate, which isn’t as pure or efficient.

It was in this year that scientists came up with a way to extract the protein from whey, leaving behind cholesterol, fat and sugar (lactose). The finished product was the purest and most easily absorbed protein supplement created to date: whey protein isolate.

Now methods like micro-filtration and ion exchange make it possible for you to have a better whey protein.

So, you can thank the animals for eating their whey-based food, which sparked interest in scientists.

You can thank Eugene Schiff and food companies during World War II for creating milk based products as a supplemental way to get protein in your diet.

You can thank the bodybuilding magazines for debating over diets and focusing on the importance of protein.

You can also thank Rheo H. Blair for getting the ball rolling for many protein supplement companies to come.

It was a long chain of events, but now you have a very pure and efficient form of protein available to you today.

Now that you know how it came to be, let’s look at why you should be supplementing with whey protein isolate.

>> Continue Reading Part 3 - Why Should You Take It? >>

Did YOU Know the Origins of Whey Protein Supplements?

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    • profile image

      whey protein isolate 7 years ago

      Many people take advantage of it because it is a great way for them to get the highest amount of protein void of fat. There are very few foods that can do that. You can easily mix it into a shake or mix it into a refreshing drink when you feel like you're going to crash in the middle of the day. You can also have it as a meal.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for an interesting hub.