Chapter II- What Is Whey?
During the manufacture of cheese, milk is curdled by means of rennet. The milk coagulates and a hard part (casein) and a liquid part (whey, also called lactoserum) appear. Whey is therefore the liquid that escapes from the curd when it is left to drain. It is transparent, yellowish-green in color, and possesses a slightly tart flavor that is fairly pleasant.
Whey can also be found in yogurt, which is another form of coagulated milk. The clear liquid that appears on the surface of yogurt when you take out a spoonful is whey.
(However, the whey at the top of store-bought yogurt is not fresh and therefore is not beneficial.) Raw whole cow’s milk contains all the nutritional elements (proteins, vitamins, minerals, and so on) necessary for the growth of the baby calf. When this milk is curdled, these elements will be divided between the casein and the whey. The figures provided in the table below compare the nutrients found in raw milk to the amount of each nutritional element that remains in whey after the casein has been removed.
This table clearly shows the distinctive characteristics of whey. Whey is poor in fats (lipids) and proteins because these two substances primarily remain in the cheese. But it is the exact opposite regarding sugar (carbohydrates): only a negligible amount remains in the cheese and most of it can be found in the whey.
It is important to note that although the protein content of whey is quite small, these proteins are of very high biological value. Furthermore, the sugar that is contained in whey is lactose, a very physiological sugar that the body finds quite easy to metabolize. When fresh liquid whey is transformed to make powdered whey, the proportion of these different elements changes again.
The nutrients are naturally present in higher concentrations in the powdered form because the liquid part has been removed. But with the addition of water, this powder-based whey will reveal a concentration similar to that of fresh whey.
To summarize, whey is a food that is rich in lactose, is practically fat free, and contains proteins of very high biological value. It is quite rich in potassium (but poor in sodium) and contains some of the valuable vitamins found in milk.
Given that the healing virtues of whey depend on the properties and proportions of the different nutritive substances it contains, we will first take a look at whey’s nutritional aspects. We will then look at the basis of its healing properties as well as in what diseases and health disorders its use is indicated. We will end the book with an explanation of how to follow a whey cure.