Whey is a liquid by-product of the process of turning milk into cheese. It contains amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Whey protein also comes as a protein supplement. Some detox diets include foods containing whey. Consult your doctor before following a detox diet or taking whey supplements.
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Whey is one of two main proteins in milk from cows. According to the McKinley Health Center at the University of Illinois, one of the significant benefits of whey is that is has a high biological value, meaning your body can absorb whey more easily than some other types of protein. You find whey protein, which assists in building muscle, in drinks, meal replacement bars and powders. Research shows whey supplements may help athletes become stronger and leaner, states the McKinley Health Center. Taking whey supplements is typically safe if used in recommended doses, though some people are allergic.
A detox diet helps to cleanse the body of waste. The lungs, kidneys, colon, liver, skin, blood and lymph all assist with elimination of waste. Detoxing contributes to a healthy liver and digestive tract. The liver's role in detoxification is breaking down toxic substances. Bile from the liver then transports the toxins out of the body. Whey may support this process because it is a liver healer, according to "The Fast Track One-Day Detox Diet," by Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman.
Whey is included in some detox diets. "The Fast Track One-Day Detox Diet" states that whey is high in the amino acid L-cysteine, which your body converts into glutathione. Your liver uses glutathione for cleansing; therefore, replenishing glutathione every day is useful for a detox program. In addition to L-cysteine, whey contains other beneficial substances for the liver, including the amino acids glutamine, glycine, taurine and methionine. Nutritionist Joy Bauer recommends whey as part of a detox plan. She suggests a protein powder smoothie for breakfast that includes vanilla whey protein powder.
Some experts believe that detox diets are unsafe. According to an ABC News article from October 2009, detoxes are dangerous, particularly when people do them without doctor supervision. Detoxs can increase risk of dehydration by reducing the amount of electrolytes in the body. A lack of electrolytes may lead to complications, such as organ damage and heart problems. Other unpleasant effects include muscle breakdown, vitamin deficiencies and blood sugar issues, according to registered dietitian Susan Moores, writing on MSNBC.com.