At Roam Foods, we make grass-fed beef bars using a handful of simple ingredients. We want to provide people with a no-nonsense savoury alternative to the indulgently sweet high protein snacks currently available on the market.
In today's post, we want to talk about whey protein, what it is, the health benefits, and why we use it in our products.
What is whey protein?
We’ll start by covering off some of the basics. Whey is a mixture of proteins isolated from the liquid part of milk that separates during cheese production.
Milk actually contains two main types of protein - casein (80%) and whey (20%). When cheese is produced, the fatty parts of the milk coagulate and the whey is separated from it as a byproduct.
Whey is classified as a food and used as the main ingredient in many nutritional supplements along with sweeteners, emulsifying agents, thickeners and sometimes refined carbohydrates like maltodextrin.
There are three types of whey protein that you will commonly see used in the supplements you buy:
- Concentrate. About 70–80% protein; contains some lactose and fat. It has the best flavour due to its higher fat content.
- Isolate. 90% protein or higher. It contains less lactose and fat and is better tolerated by those sensitive to lactose. It does lack some of the beneficial nutrients found in concentrate.
- Hydrolysate. Also known as hydrolysed whey. This type has been pre-digested so that it gets absorbed faster.
Whey protein makes up around 9% of our bars, and we use the concentrated format as this type binds much better in food production due to its slightly higher fat content.
The vast majority tolerate whey very well. However, there are some people who are sensitive to the lactose present which can result in some digestive discomfort.
If you're someone sensitive to whey, try the following:
- Combine whey with fibre. An example here would be our Roam bars as they’re high in fibre due to the roasted nuts, dried fruits and chicory root. If you like whey in your shakes, try adding some oats, a banana, walnuts, or some flax or chia seeds.
- Switch to an isolate format as it contains much less lactose than concentrate. If you're using whey in big doses (50g +) this will provide a significant improvement.
- Use a digestive enzyme. If you're set on including whey in your diet to support specific goals, you could take a digestive enzyme that contains lactase before consumption. Lactase is the enzyme responsible for breaking down lactose. Some people lose the ability to produce this enzyme naturally as we age.
Health benefits of whey
People think that whey is just protein, but it's much more than that. Whey is a nutrient dense food that contains high levels of key amino acids and immuno proteins that are extremely beneficial:
- Leucine. Known to stimulate muscle protein synthesis at a molecular level and enhance the release of insulin.
- Cysteine. A critical precursor amino acid used abundantly in many immune functions. In fact, cysteine is one of the main building blocks of glutathione, a “master” antioxidant that our body produces naturally.
- Lactoferrin, beta-lactoglobulin, and alpha-lactalbumin. These are specialised proteins that are critical for immunity and the strength of the gut wall.
Why do we use whey?
Simply, it's a nutrient powerhouse.
Supplements containing whey are amongst the most studied. This means it’s tried, tested, and trusted. It continually outperforms any other powders in its protein content, bioavailability, amino acid profile and additional health benefits.
You might be asking why we added whey to a bar made primarily of grass-fed beef!? It’s simple, we wanted to make a natural bar that competed with the synthetic bars in terms of macronutrients.
Most natural bars only contain around 7-9g of protein, whereas the more synthetic bars contain around 20g. Roam competes in this category but is made from foods you will likely have in your cupboards at home, not ingredients that look like they should be in a laboratory.
We understand that it can be challenging for active people to hit the protein levels they require to achieve the things that are important to them. The snacks we include to fill the gaps in and around main meals need to reflect this and contain meaningful amounts of protein.