Why whey protein? What is the best form of whey? How is whey protein made?


Your questions about whey protein are answered right here in our latest article!

Reflex Nutrition has been making whey protein supplements for 20 years since the company’s inception in 1996. Everything we know, discovered, developed, innovated and researched has been brought together to provide everyone the absolute facts in a very easy to understand article that is outlined below. We answer the questions to what is the best form of whey protein and how it is made.

A quick word from James Phillips, “Whey Expert“ and founder of Reflex Nutrition, “I have a feeling I’ve spent more time working with whey protein and introduced more variations of whey protein and formats than any other company or person in the industry, I’ve now very nearly spent half my life, that’s 22 years, devoted to this business so it is fair to say that myself and the team at Reflex Nutrition are well placed to offer the real facts, I hope this article will point anyone wanting to know more about whey protein in the right direction.”

The Basics of Whey Protein

First of all we’re guessing that you’re interested in whey protein because you want to take additional protein to build lean muscle, to help you lose weight or for the health benefits associated with whey protein. Whey protein is found in milk, it is the small part of milk protein, the larger part is called casein or micellar casein. Nearly all whey protein on the market is derived from cheese production, we’re sure you’ve heard of curds and whey? To make cheese, rennet or starter cultures are added and it makes the milk curdle forming “curds and whey”. The curds are collected to form cheese and the whey is the liquid part which is then collected and filtered to produce whey protein using various filtering techniques.

So what is so special about Whey Protein?

Well first of all, it sits at the top a table which measures the biological value of protein from foods, it’s a measure of how well your body can utilise protein found in food. Whey protein is the best, your body can utilise every last gram. Not only is it the best, it also contains three important amino acids which are used to build and maintain muscle. The amino acids are called Branched Chain Amino Acids, L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine and L-Valine. This is one of the reasons why whey protein has become so popular with sports people and bodybuilders.

What is the best whey protein?

The best whey protein comes from the best raw material so before you can answer that question you have to ask a different question. Where does the best milk in world come from or where are the best dairy herds? And how do you define best?

At Reflex Nutrition we have four very specific criteria which we use to select our milk proteins.

  1. The cattle must be within the EU, this guarantees that the cattle are free from banned antibiotics and growth hormones like rBGH or rBST which unfortunately are widely used in the USA.
  2. The cattle must be grass fed or be grass fed on pasture in all but the most extreme of circumstances. Why? Because grass fed cattle produce the best milk, that’s a fact.
  3. In an ideal world we’ll select only from Ireland, Germany, France, Belgium and Netherlands based on their exemplary dairy industries and reputation for producing the world’s finest grass fed, milk, butter, cheese and beef.
  4. Processing techniques used to make whey protein. They must be the least invasive using techniques that gently filter out unwanted fat and lactose whilst retaining the nutrition qualities of whey protein. These filtering techniques are cross flow micro filtration, ultra filtration and membrane filtration. They all produce whey protein concentrates or whey protein isolates depending on the time and grade of filter. The ONLY difference between them will be the protein, fat and lactose contents in all but ONE instance (see below). The whey protein isolates being the most expensive because it takes a disproportionate amount of time to filter out all of the fat and lactose.

So what is the best form of whey protein ? This refers to the ONE instance from the above paragraph. The whey protein that employs the least processing of ANY whey protein and that is Native Whey which is filtered at cold temperature from fresh milk and NOT a by product of cheese production. Reflex Nutrition uses this whey protein extensively and manufactures a stand alone Native Whey product. You can read more about Native Whey Protein here. Suffice to say it is whey protein in its most natural perfect form as nature created it, hence the name Native Whey.


What forms of whey protein do we avoid and you should avoid too?

There are a few and we avoid them for a few reasons.

  1. Whey protein made in the USA where the milk has been derived from cattle which are fed growth hormones like rBGH or rBST, these cattle are often fed grain and as a result the quality of the milk if inferior to that of grass fed cattle. Welfare of the cattle is also a consideration, the use of growth hormone increases the chances of infections and the subsequent use of antibiotics. Google “USA Mega Dairies” for more info.
  2. Ion exchange whey protein, the process uses both acid and chemicals to produce whey isolates. Although ion exchange whey has a very high protein content of around 90% it lacks a few valuable protein fractions that have unique nutritional qualities, so compared to cross flow micro filtered whey, ion exchange is inferior.
  3. Acid whey, dairies produce huge quantities of this material and unfortunately the process used to make it during cheese manufacture employs quite harsh acids which can denature the protein making it difficult to mix. Acid whey is not the best tasting either. We’ve never used acid whey at Reflex Nutrition, it simply does not meet our standards.

Other forms of whey protein

Hydrolysed Whey Protein

This is a whey protein which has been treated with enzymes to effectively pre-digest the whey protein for easier digestion. A process originally developed to make whey proteins hypoallergenic for infants and individuals in hospital who are allergic to certain whey fractions. A true hydrolysed whey protein has a considerable proportion of its whole proteins broken down into small peptides which may be listed on some labels by their molecular weight in Daltons. At Reflex Nutrition we use a couple of hydrolysed whey proteins, the main being of high degree of hydrolysis whey which has been treated very extensively which results in a protein which is absorbed extremely quickly and easily. It is the sole source of protein in our focus post workout supplement called Growth Matrix.


Whey protein is immensely popular and hopefully this article has highlighted the main benefits of whey protein with a brief insight into how it is made. The market out there is a minefield, if you want to choose the best remember to look out for the companies that offer whey that is derived from the EU guaranteeing protein content, have a registered quality control process and you shouldn’t go wrong.

Nathan Chan

Marketing Manager Nathan has a genuine passion for all things fitness and all aspects of sports nutrition and has worked in the industry for over eight years. "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life" - Confucius

One thought on “Why whey protein? What is the best form of whey? How is whey protein made?

  1. Kyler Brown says:

    I’ve been trying to learn more about whey protein recently. I am one of those people who wants to take additional protein to build lean muscle. I didn’t realize that you should avoid whey protein made in the USA where the milk has been derived from cattle which are fed growth hormones like rBGH or rBST. Thanks for sharing this.

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