Whey Side Effects

Facts about the Side Effects of Whey

Whey protein is thought to be an important dietary element, yet there are certain side effects of whey that should be considered before making the decision to incorporate it into your diet.


Marketed as a dietary supplement and widely used by body builders, whey protein is a product derived from the liquid by product from the production of cheeses.  During the process of making cheese, milk is curdled, leaving a separation of chunks of solid material and a thin, watery fluid called whey.  This fluid can be obtained from any type of milk.

Whey is a highly nutritious product.  It is an excellent source of protein, and contains numerous vitamins and minerals that are essential for good health.

There are many products that can be made from whey.  Yogurt and ricotta cheese are common grocery items used in daily diets or food preparation and are made from the liquid.  Protein drinks that are used to build muscle or repair muscle tissue are made from whey.  Pet foods also contain whey to provide protein and fat necessary to animal health.

The health benefits of whey are undeniable.  As does all protein, whey builds muscle mass. It is used by body builders as a lean method of developing muscle quickly and cleanly.  There are many studies that show whey is beneficial in preventing certain diseases such as cancer, and for stabilizing blood pressure.  In addition, the proteins in whey provide a valuable source of energy, control body processes relating to metabolism and help to repair cellular structure. It has been shown to be an effective tool in preventing breast cancer, and is also a great benefit for the immune system. Most importantly, whey is considered to be a complete protein.  

Side effects of whey

Despite these important health benefits provided by whey, some people experience health issues when they consume the protein.  Often, the side effects are associated with a condition called lactose intolerance; an inability of the body to tolerate and metabolize lactose, which is a sugar found in milk and other dairy products.  Because whey is derived from milk, those whose bodies cannot handle large amounts of dairy often will exhibit symptoms when consuming whey.  These symptoms can include bloating, flatulence, stomach cramps and diarrhea.

In addition, individuals who possess an allergy to milk and dairy products may develop symptoms when products containing whey are eaten or drank.  The symptoms presented will be very similar to those exhibited in milk allergy reactions.  Symptoms such as swelling of the mouth, tongue and throat, itching, rashes, hives, wheezing and diarrhea are commonly experienced by those who have reactions to whey.  For people who have milk allergies, an alternate whey protein called whey protein isolate can be used.  This enables these individuals to receive the benefits of whey protein without experiencing the potentially dangerous side effects.


It is incorrect to think that, since whey protein is so beneficial to the body, it is best to consume large amounts of this product.  Like anything, too much of a good thing changes its effects on the body.  Whey is no exception.  Those who consume excessive amounts of whey supplements can be causing an overload on the liver; a vital organ for detoxifying the body.  The effects of too much whey in the liver can cause irreversible damage.  It is recommended that no more than 30 grams of whey be consumed at one time, and that intake of whey protein be spread out through the day.

Whey is an excellent source of lean, valuable protein; providing numerous health benefits to most individuals.  However, there are a small percentage of people who are at risk of suffering from side effects from whey who should know the risks before adding this protein to their diet.