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Whey protein is a collection of proteins found in whey, a byproduct of cheesemaking. When a coagulant (usually renin) is added to milk, the curds (casein) and whey separate; whey protein is the water-soluble part of milk. As a supplement, it’s sold as dry powders with various levels of processing that affect how concentrated a source of protein they are and how fast they’re absorbed.
It’s a high quality, well-absorbed source of protein that’s very useful for hitting targeted daily protein goals. Its benefits extend to the benefits of increased protein intake in general, such as augmenting muscle gain in conjunction with resistance training, limiting muscle loss during low-calorie diets, and modestly limiting fat gain during periods of excessive calorie intake. These effects aren’t exclusive to whey protein but it will likely be more effective than most other protein sources per gram.
Whey does not harm the liver or kidneys, but it can exacerbate pre-existing damage. People with damaged livers or kidneys should exercise caution when increasing protein intake quickly without the guidance of a doctor. See more: can eating too much protein be bad for you?