So I did an interesting protein experiment with Egg Whites vs Whey


(Richard Morris) #1

I did this experiment after doing 2 5 day fasts, by doing some exercise to fully deplete muscle glycogen and then eating a set amount of protein and tracking my glucose. I added a little short chained fatty acids (butter) just to make sure I was making abundant ketones even if my insulin peaked and my glucose dropped so my glucose production wouldn’t be confounded by my brain increasing demand for the stuff…

The first leg of the experiment I ate 200g of egg whites and 20g of butter and tracked my glucose.

And this is what my blood glucose did

The second leg I did similar exercise (actually 50% more but still to depletion of glycogen) with 25g of whey protein isolate powder (the same amount of protein) blended up with 250ml of water and emulsified with 20g of melted butter.

And this is what my blood glucose did

This self experiment was originally designed to detect if a source of the amino acid aspartate uncoupled ketone production, but I was unable to find a source of protein sufficiently low in aspartic acid. But it turned into an interesting example of the insulinogenic nature of whey especially for a type 2 diabetic.

I apparently make 1.88 times the insulin of a normal person and clear it about 5 times more slowly. This experiment uses serum glucose levels as a proxy for insulin in a glycogen depleted state, as my muscles are an empty reservoir for insulin to clear glucose into … how long my glucose remains low is a good indicator for how long my insulin remained high.

With egg white I had the usual hysteresis you expect from protein causing sequential glucagon and insulin secretion.

With whey my insulin just started pouring out of my pancreas and continued for almost 6 hours.

Which lines up nicely with the science on this subject. Where whey has been shown to be more insulinogenic than eating a meal of only white bread.

Apparently if you are on a low insulinogenic (like a ketogenic) diet, eating whey is probably not working in your favour.

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About time you “published” your test results. :wink:

Fasting is a great time to test foods in isolation. I did some similar tests with collagen powder, essential aminos powder, and chicken bone broth during a 7-day fast. The broth was the only test that gave me anything but a flat line on glucose. It gave a small increase in glucose at 30 min, then a decrease below baseline at 90 min. No ketone tests.

(jilliebean1973) #3

Is this any food with whey or mainly protein powders that use whey as their protein source?

(Richard Morris) #4

I believe this is just isolating the effect of whey on insulin in someone who overproduces insulin.

I’m not sure why whey is specifically insulinogenic but the amino acid alanine is a specific secretagogue for insulin so I assume it is digested into an unusual amount.

(aircraftwelder) #5

Interesting I always drink a whey/creatine drink right after weight training. Maybe I shouldn’t.

(Richard Morris) #6

All I can tell you is on the basis of these results I probably shouldn’t :slight_smile:

(Lucrecia) #7

Thank you so much for this very valuable information! Have just had a big KA-CHING moment. I’m wondering if this is why I just had a 48 hour flu type bug thing, after not being sick for 3 years. I think it’s related to my cheese eating for the last couple of months. I know the stuff doesn’t agree with me because I overeat it and obsess about it. Also my waist has been expanding a bit. I stopped eating it recently and started doing lots of bone broth and then did a 48 hour fast and hey presto! I had a herxheimer response! Hadn’t linked it all together, but it just clicked for me now, reading the results of your experiment. All lending further credence to my theory that I have insulin resistance issues, even though my fasted insulin test were low and my Doc disagrees with me. My excessive hunger, my overeating, despite being keto with strict 80/15/5 ratios for 2 years, and my struggle to drop the last little bit of excess body fat tells me that I’m still having insulin issues as a result of my high sugar diet for the first 50 years of my life! I’m just supremely lucky that I didn’t end up with fully fledged T2! Thank you dear brother for all the amazing work you do!


Very interesting, Richard. It confirms what is discussed a lot…people noticing weight loss stalls when eating cheese.

Is 25 g whey equivalent to 200 g egg white? How much protein in 25 g whey, and how much protein in 200 g egg white?

(Richard Morris) #9

Egg whites are about 10% protein, and the WPI I used was like 80% protein - so that was my best guess at the same amount of protein.

About 20g of protein in each challenge.

(Larry Lustig) #10

Except that whey is a by-product of cheese production, and you’d expect to find most of it gone from all cheeses that are not special “whey-type” cheeses (like Ricotta). That’s where the whey comes from that body-builders slurp up and why it’s so cheap. It’s basically a waste (wheyste?") product of cheese production. Isn’t that right?


@larry, I’d like to see whether the protein profile is different in the variety of dairy products, including whey protein.

So, I guess so far, ricotta and whole milk dairy products (like yogurt and kefir) are included with whey protein category.

FYI…being an italian, ricotta makes up a lot of my cheese eating. So, this topic is of great interest to me.

(Lucrecia) #12

Hmm… yes, which is why I avoid all other dairy. Really thought the cheddar etc would be fine for me. And it is. Kind of… until it isn’t. What I mean is that I still get good BG while eating it, but slowly, steadily these numbers creep up and up. Ditto the size of my waist. Sigh… it’s been 2 years already and I really thought I’d be fine by now and able to eat cheese again. Apparently not. Starting to think that I need to have the same ideas about cheese that I do about wheat or potatoes, etc. I just don’t do that stuff anymore and I’m never going to eat them again. Having to say goodbye to cheese permanently though makes me feel sad and almost bereft - like a kid that’s lost her teddy! :slight_smile:

(Larry Lustig) #13

May well be true – but probably not due to whey (depending on the specific cheeses that you eat).

(Jacquie) #14

Me either. Used to use a lc protein powder years ago when lifting to ‘get that protein up.’ Didn’t last too long, as I wasn’t a shake person. Did make a few lc muffins for a while though. :slight_smile:

(Lucrecia) #15

I’ve been doing mostly Kerrygold Cheddar with a bit of organic full fat cream cheese. But it’s the cheddar that hits the spot for me and I can easily eat 8 oz of the stuff without blinking. Even if I load it up with masses of butter to try and balance the macros. I just haven’t wanted to really confront the nature of my addiction to cheese. Probably because most of my keto buddies are eating the stuff and I feel resentful that I can’t. Time to wake up and be an adult about this… and stop with the self-pity party already!


Ok so this is what I found out:

…There are 2 major categories of milk protein that are broadly defined by their chemical composition and physical properties. The casein family contains phosphorus and will coagulate or precipitate at pH 4.6. The serum (whey) proteins do not contain phosphorus, and these proteins remain in solution in milk at pH 4.6. The principle of coagulation, or curd formation, at reduced pH is the basis for cheese curd formation. In cow’s milk, approximately 82% of milk protein is casein and the remaining 18% is serum, or whey protein.

…Milk protein consists of approximately 82% casein and 18% whey (serum) proteins. Both casein and whey proteins are present in milk, yogurt, and ice cream. In most cheeses the casein is coagulated to form the curd, and the whey is drained leaving only a small amount of whey proteins in the cheese. During cheese making, the 6-casein is cleaved between specific amino acids and results in a unique protein fragment that is drained with the whey.

…Whey proteins contain immunoglobulins which are important in the immune responses of the body. Whey proteins contain branched chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine)


(Scott Shillady) #17

Absolutely, when rennet is added to milk the casein, forms curds, the whey is dumped. Cultures are also added that continually consume lactose as it ages. That is why carb counts on aged cheeses such as cheddar parmegian and swiss, or lower than fresh cheese like Mozzerella.


Don’t tell the vegetarians where rennet comes from.


There’s an amino acid calculator here, with equal servings of protein grams selected for whey acid (dried) and cheddar cheese. An actual serving size for whey is typically 20 - 30g of protein.

[can’t get link to save the correct quantity of whey to match cheese]

Unfortunately, commercial brands of whey powder do not show up in the database with amino acid content. Sometimes that information is available on the label. Sometimes it is proprietary information and therefore a great unknown blend of aminos.

Casein is said to be a slowly digested, and whey fast (~60 minutes).


@carolT, excellent thank you!