kept health food (and weight loss) secret is probably whey pro-
tein. So versatile a food is whey protein that athletes, lactating
mothers, body builders, the elderly, patients and those interested
in weight loss, can all benefit from it.
“The first time you taste whey protein powder it may be unusual,
but give it a chance. For me, it works best in fruit smoothies for
added proteins. Especially if I want that smoothie to be a meal
replacement, it helps to meet my nutritional needs better,” says
Zaira Ahmad, a Registered Dietician in Somerset, New Jersey.
WHAT IS WHEY & WHEY PROTEIN?
Whey is the watery liquid left over after the curd is formed
during the making of cheese and fermented or acidified dairy
products. However, as Haider Khattak, Director, Islamic Food
and Nutrition Council, Canada, points out, whey is halal only
if it has been produced by enzymes from halal,
“Enzymes have to be sourced from microbial or plant sources to
be considered halal by most halal certifying organizations,” he
says. “Rennet, on the other hand, is an enzyme that is extracted
from the stomach of a calf or lamb, and used to coagulate milk
to make cheese. It too needs to be certified to ensure that it is
from halal slaughtered animals,” he says.
“Whey protein is separated from milk during the process of
making milk into cheese. It has one of the highest levels of
protein digestibility and is more rapidly digested than other
proteins such as casein, that is also found in cow’s milk,” adds
Zeshan Sadek, Halal Administrator at Halal Food Council of
REBUILDING THE INJURED, ILL AND WEARY
Protein promotes the rebuilding of tissue. While that is what
makes proteins and whey protein important for bodybuilders
and athletes, it is also important for those recovering post surgery,
incisions and even wounds, says Sarene Alsharif, a nutritional
consultant in Rockford, IL. The growth of new skin is jump-
started by protein and its amino acids. While the body can create
non-essential amino acids, the only way for it to make essential
amino acids is when we eat high quality protein foods. A lack of
protein in our system, or the consumption of poor quality pro-
teins, can slow down the healing process. Whey protein is often
recommended for patients who have had surgery and even those
undergoing burn therapy, Alsharif explains.
RIGHT FOR MOTHER & CHILD?
Pregnancy can increase the expectant mothers need for pro-
tein by up to 33%. According to Jednak, M., et al (1999), in
American Journal of Physiology — Gastrointestinal and Liver
, “Protein meals reduce nausea and gastric slow
wave dysrhythmic activity in first trimester pregnancy”.
Similarly, the body needs more protein during hormonal
changes such as adolescence, lactation and menopause, and
whey protein can provide the body with much needed amino
acids during this time.
“Breast milk is best for infants,” says Sadek. “When that is not an
option, opt for infant formulas that contain whey protein, even
for premature infants, as it contains alpha-lactalbumin, which
is also found in human breast milk.” He adds that certain kinds
of whey protein based infant formulas have also been shown to
help reduce crying in colicky infants, according to a study by
Lucassen, P., et al. (2000) published in the journal,
“Babies need protein for normal growth and development and
to tackle big challenges like rolling over, crawling and walk-
ing. Whey protein is a high-quality, easily digestible protein,”
concurs Christine Steele, Ph.D., Director of Science, Innovation
and Education, Abbott Nutrition. Globally, Abbott Nutrition sells
hundreds of IFANCA halal-certified products that contain whey
protein, including infant formula, therapeutic nutrition and
nutritional shakes. The IFANCA Crescent M symbol appears
on their halal certified line of products.
However, since the second most abundant component in whey
protein is alpha-lactalbumin, one of the main whey proteins in
human breast milk, it is best to consult a doctor to be sure whey
protein is right for you if you are pregnant or nursing.
Protein promotes the rebuilding of tissue.
While that is what makes proteins and
whey protein important for bodybuilders
and athletes, it is also important for those
recovering post surgery, incisions and
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