Is Whey Gluten Free? This is the most common question asked by people with Gluten intolerance or sensitivity, especially when they are going to eat any Whey product. This article will systematically focus on some issues that would help you to understand and check the factor, whether the Whey product waiting in your kitchen or dining table is Gluten-free or not.
What is Whey?
Naturally, milk contains two major types of proteins; those are Casein and Whey. The Whey protein is found as a by-product while extracting cheese from the milk. During this process, the Whey protein is separated from the Casein protein in milk.
Whey protein offers a total protein; as it is a great natural source of all the 9 essential types of Amino acids. However, the Whey protein contains a low amount of lactose content. Moreover, the Whey protein bears a natural blend of essential proteins, like Alpha-lactalbumin, Bovine serum albumin, Immunoglobins, and Beta-lactoglobulin. The composition of Whey protein doesn’t include any trace of Gluten.
Benefits of Eating Whey Protein
In many cases, people complain that they are spending a considerable amount of time in the gym regularly and eating healthy diets; but they are not getting the expected results. If you experience such a problem, then you can try the Whey protein intake. The Whey protein offers a wide range of health benefits. However, sometimes doubts like ‘Is Whey Gluten Free?‘prevent people from taking Whey products. Therefore, first, you should be aware of the facts like, what the Whey products can do for your body. Read the following section to get your answer.
Reduces body fat concentration
The Whey protein helps to lose body fat. In this regard, it can be mentioned that Nutrition & Metabolism published a 12-week-long study in Minnesota in the US on the efficiency of Whey protein 5,6. This study shows that Whey protein intake reduces the fat concentration in the body and preserves the muscles potentially. Therefore, you can try the Whey protein bars, when feeling hungry.
Develops bigger & sturdier muscles
The Whey protein significantly contributes to muscle development. If you want to build muscles with bigger size and want them to be sturdier enough, then add the Whey protein to your regular diet. Research conducted by Baylor University at Waco in Texas found that the Whey protein intake 1 hour before as well as after doing physical workouts or exercise results in the better development of fat-free body mass as well as strong muscle.
Makes you less hungry
Australian research regarding the efficiency of Whey protein indicated that Whey protein lowers the secretion of the Ghrelin hormone that signals the brain about feeling hungry and delays the process for about four hours 8. Therefore, you can take Whey protein foods instead of taking unhealthy snacks.
Fights against cancer
Prevention is always better than cure. The Whey protein fights against the risk of occurring cancers, such as prostate cancer and colon cancer 9. Moreover, the Anticancer Research journal shows in a study that the WPC and the glutathione modulation are applied in cancer treatment 10. Therefore, cancer patients can eat the Whey protein food by getting approval from their medical professionals.
Gets you out of the stress
In the Netherlands, a research attempt was made to find out effective ways to get rid of stress 11. This research shows that Whey protein intake could effectively reduce stress symptoms. Moreover, the participants experienced better moods after taking Whey Protein. The outcome of this research indicates that the consumption of the Whey protein changes the secretion level of serotonin in the brain, which is responsible for creating stress in a human.
Strengthens immune system
Research conducted by the University of Alberta found that arduous aerobic activities reduced the glutathione levels in the body which put risks upon the immune systems, nervous systems, and gastrointestinal system 12. This research finally indicates that whey protein supplements can significantly reduce the decrease of Glutathione levels after cardio sessions. Therefore, you can take the Whey protein to evade the risk of lowering the Glutathione levels.
Lowers blood cholesterol
The British Journal of Nutrition published a study, which found that the consumption of Whey protein can effectively reduce the overall level of Cholesterol as well as the LDL Cholesterol among the participants 13,14. Therefore, if you are suffering from high blood cholesterol, then include the Whey protein in your diet.
Improves Asthma conditions
Whey protein could improve immune response in children with asthma. The International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition published a research 15,16, which indicated that the children bearing Asthma had experienced better cytokine response after taking the whey protein supplements regularly for a month.
Checks risk of hypertension & heart disease
The International Dairy Journal published research, that shows that the Whey protein-supplemented beverages significantly contributed to reducing blood pressure in patients with high blood pressure or hypertension 17. Moreover, the Whey protein intake can reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease.
What is Gluten?
Before answering your query about whether the Whey enriched foods are gluten-free, let me clarify “What is Gluten?” Gluten is one kind of protein composite found in grains, including wheat, rye, triticale, barley, etc.
Gluten serves as a natural glue that maintains the shape of food grain cells and holds the grains together. Gluten is naturally present in diverse categories of foods, in different quantities.
What are the Main Sources of Gluten?
If you want to go gluten-free, then you have to know the common sources of Gluten. The three main sources of Gluten protein are Wheat, Barley, and Rye. To find out the detailed sources of Gluten, you have to know the foods that contain high-concentration of these grains.
- The main sources of Wheat are cereals, bread, roux, baked goods, salad dressings, soups, sauces, pasta, etc.
- Barley is widely found in foods including soups, malt, beer, food coloring, malt vinegar, etc.
- The rich sources of Rye include rye beer, rye bread, pumpernickel, cereals, etc.
- Triticale is a new kind of grain that bears similar quality to grains like wheat and rye. It is potentially available in the cereals, bread, pasta, etc.
Benefits of Gluten-free Food
Gluten is certainly essential for a healthy body. However, doctors and nutritionists suggest Gluten-free foods to individuals who have a history of celiac disease. Moreover, some people show Gluten intolerance and therefore they have to choose a gluten-free diet. Let us know these two main reasons for eating Gluten-free food in detail.
In our digestive tract, there are small finger-like tissues called ‘villi’ that help in digesting food. Celiac disease is responsible for damaging the villi; as intestinal lining; as the gluten-containing food particles create chronic inflammation in the intestinal lining of the digestive tract.
If an individual with Celiac disease eats a small quantity of Glutinous food, then s/he often experiences symptoms like bloating, skin rash, cramping, etc.
Celiac disease might also lead to further complications like lactose intolerance that results in anemia or iron deficiency. The National Institutes of Health shows that 1 in every 133 people bears Celiac disease and can’t eat glutinous food.
Gluten Sensitivity/Gluten Intolerance
Some people experience symptoms, like fatigue, headaches, diarrhea, bloating, etc. right after eating glutinous food. Though these people don’t have Celiac disease, they bear Gluten sensitivity, which is also termed Gluten Intolerance.
And Gluten-intolerant people often enjoy a better life, if they follow a gluten-free diet regularly. Gluten intolerance is more common among the general people around the world compared to the ratio of people suffering from Celia disease.
Possibly 1 in every 10 people bears Gluten sensitivity worldwide. Therefore, if you have Gluten intolerance and your menu includes any Whey protein product, then you should check whether your chosen Whey product is gluten-free or not.
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Is Whey Gluten Free in Pure and Processed Form?
The whey protein is edible in both a pure state as well as a processed state.
Is whey protein gluten-free in its pure state?
Pure Whey protein is harmless for gluten-intolerant individuals. The Whey is a high-quality protein, which is available mainly in the powder form. The whey protein powder naturally contains no gluten in its pure form. Therefore, you can add this safe protein to your gluten-free diet; even if you have Gluten sensitivity.
Is whey protein gluten-free after industrial processing?
In all types of Whey protein powders, only one type of ingredient is always common which is ‘Whey protein.’ Except for this common ingredient, additives like flavorings vary widely from product to product and brand to brand.
Therefore, any Whey powder that contains ingredients like wheat, rye, barley, etc. in any quantity or form can’t be considered gluten-free. However, during the industrial processing cross-contamination might occur if the same machines are used for packaging the Whey protein as well as the gluten-enriched wheat flour. Whey protein in its pure form is gluten-free.
Adding to these, a range of food products available in the food industry apply the Peptide-bonded Glutamine to the Whey proteins during their production phase. Additionally, some process Whey proteins are derived from the gluten-enriched hydrolyzed wheat.
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Which Type of Whey Protein is Gluten-Free?
Whey protein is available mainly in three types. Is every type of Whey gluten-free? Let’s read the following section.
Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC)
The WPC contains a lower amount of both fats as well as carbohydrates, especially lactose concentration. You can find the concentration level of protein in the WPC through the protein percentage figure. The protein concentration in the Whey protein can be as low as 30% and as high as 90%. Therefore, it is essential to check the WPC while eating any food containing the Whey protein. However, the WPC contains no Gluten.
Whey Protein Isolate (WPI)
When the Whey protein goes through a further process for removing the fats as well as lactose contents totally, then it falls in the category of the WPI. If you want to take the high-protein foods, then include the WPI-type foods in your diet; as the WPI foods usually contain a minimum of 90% protein. But, the WPI is devoid of Gluten.
Whey Protein Hydrolysate (WPH)
The Whey protein is absorbed by our body through the Hydrolysis process. However, compared to the WPC and WPI, the WPH requires the body to go through a lower amount of digestion process; as the WPH is the “predigested” state of the whey protein. More to say, the WPH is widely used as a healthy protein supplement and infant formula due to its greater digestibility as well as lower allergen potentiality. And the WPH processing has no connection with Gluten.