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Friday, February 13, 2009

What is WHEY ?

[Extracted from Wisegeek]

Whey is a by-product of cheese making. It is formed when the curds separate from the milk or cream. After the cheese curds are formed, the remaining liquid is called whey. This liquid is watery and thin. Sometimes whey has a tinge of bluish color, but this depends on the quality and type of milk used.

Whey can be made from any type of milk, with cow's milk being the most popular in the United States. Goat's milk is commonly used in the Middle East and in some desert areas, camel's milk is used in the cheese making process.

Whey is also formed in the making of yogurt, being the thin liquid that forms on top of the settled yogurt. This can be drained off and added to shakes, smoothies or other liquid drinks for added protein.

Whey is often used in the making of ricotta cheese. Using vinegar or another acidic liquid, the whey is heated and the addition of the vinegar will cause the fats to congeal into the curds that create the cheese.

Whey is an excellent source of protein, vitamins, minerals and lactose. It is the base of many protein drinks for athletes or others wishing to build or repair muscle tissues. Whey is also an important supplement for those who have limited mobility in the limbs as it contributes to the prevention of atrophy of muscular cells.

Whey is also used in pet foods as a source of protein and fats. It contributes to a healthy coat and proper muscle development.

Most people are familiar with the old nursery rhyme, Little Miss Muffet as she was eating her curds and whey. This type of cheese would be similar to cottage cheese and made by allowing milk to sour and naturally separate into curds and whey. While this method of making cheese may not sound appetizing to most people, it is a method used around the world in many different cultures.

Whey can be an important addition to anyone's diet. Those that have difficulty in finding the time to eat right or have other dietary concerns such as protein needs in a vegetarian diet, will find whey an excellent supplement.

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