Saturday, June 6, 2009

Is whey a good source of vegetarian protein?

Question: Dear Monique, I have not seen you mention whey protein in any of your articles. Is there a reason for this? Is whey protein a good source of vegetarian protein? Thank you! Garrett

Answer: Whey is the watery part of milk that separates from the curds, after most of the protein and fat have been removed from milk during the cheese-making process. It is also the liquid that usually rises to the top of yogurt. The Vegetarian Resource Group says that "it is typically vegetarian". However, because it comes from milk, it is considered an animal product, and thus is not vegan. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has indicated that whey and casein are hidden animal products that should be avoided and omitted from the diet. (Casein is another protein which comes from milk used to give cheese and most soy/veggie cheeses the ability to melt. It is also used to make plastics, adhesives and paints.)

According to the PCRM, "Animal proteins cause calcium to be leached from the bones and excreted in the urine where it can form stones. Diets rich in animal proteins also increase uric acid excretion. ... The association between animal proteins and stones probably relates both to the amount of protein they contain and to their content of the sulfur-containing amino acids. In particular, the sulfur in cystine and methionine is converted to sulfate, which tends to acidify the blood. As a part of the process of neutralizing this acid, bone is dissolved, and bone calcium ends up in the urine."

For more information, read...
(1) Protecting Your Bones

(2) Calcium in Plant-Based Diets

(3) How Can I Get Enough Protein - The Protein Myth: The Building Blocks of Life

(4) Nutrition Education Curriculum, Section Six: Nutrition and Renal Disease

Other Recommended Reading...

Plant Based Nutrition and Health
by Stephen Walsh

The New Becoming Vegetarian: The Essential Guide To A Healthy Vegetarian Diet
by Vesanto Melina & Brenda Davis

The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen
by Donna Klein

Vegan with a Vengeance : Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock
by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Becoming Vegan: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Plant-Based Diet
by Brenda Davis & Vesanto Melina

Vegan Freak: Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan Worldby Bob Torres, Jenna Torres

Virtues of Soy: A Practical Health Guide and Cookbook
by Monique N. Gilbert

Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook
by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vegan Cooking
by Beverly Lynn Bennett and Ray Sammartano

You may also want to visit the
Virtues of Soy website.
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Monique N. Gilbert, BSc. has offered guidance in health, nutrition, fitness and stress management since 1989. Through her writings, Monique motivates and teaches how to improve your well-being, vitality and longevity with balanced nutrition, physical activity and healthy stress-free living.

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