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Is Raw Whey Protein Hard To Digest? How much time it takes to digest?

People who wish to lose weight, gain muscle, or improve their athleticism frequently utilize protein supplements.

Around 1.3 grams to 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day is required to maximize muscle growth. Hence, whey proteins have become a must!

We all gravitate toward unprocessed, raw, pure, or organic products in this day and age! As a result, unprocessed whey is becoming increasingly popular.


Is Raw Whey Protein Hard To Digest

Some people claim that it is hard to digest, and the absorption is minimal. Is it true, though? This article will address that question and discuss the benefits and drawbacks of raw whey by comparing it with processed way.


How Is Whey Processed?

The watery component of milk that separates from the curds during the cheese-making process is used to make whey protein. The liquid is ideal for the bacteria to flourish. We would not want that! Why? Because this will lead to the degradation of whey protein and the formation of lactic acid.

Thus the whey liquid is passed through a buffer tank to maintain the pH. It is then passed through a clarifier to remove any remaining solid particles. Once we have only whey liquid, it is pasteurized and then cooled.

There you have it. It is pure whey! It has fats, carbohydrates, lactose, antioxidants, minerals, etc.


Understanding The Processed Whey Protein

There are many forms of protein, but how they are processed after pasteurization separates them from raw whey protein. To grasp the difference between processed protein powders and unprocessed whey protein, it helps to know the three main types of proteins.

1. Concentrate

As the name goes-this protein powder is concentrated. It has 70–80% protein. It contains lactose and fat. The good news is that amount of sugar present is less. However, it is slowly absorbed in the system.


2. Isolate

In terms of protein concentration, isolate is more potent. It contains nearly 90% protein or more. When compared to concentrated powders, it has less lactose and fat. The best part: It gets absorbed quickly!


3. Hydrolysate

It is also referred to as hydrolyzed whey. It contains no sugar or fat, making it ideal for all health-conscious individuals! It is loaded with enzymes that help with digestion. Because it is pre-digested, it is quickly absorbed in the body.


How much time does raw whey protein takes to digest?

Standard Raw whey protein will typically be digested within 2 to 2 ½ hours, while hydrolyzed whey protein (which has been pre-digested) will be digested within 1 to 1 ½ hour.


Raw Whey Vs Processed Whey

Let us do a comparative study to understand the characteristic of raw whey! Whey protein in general

1. Processing

Whey Processing

The raw whey is further treated by heating them at a high temperature. The main plan is to remove the fat content present in the whey and concentrate the protein.

Thus, processed whey typically has 26-28 grams of protein, whereas raw whey has 22-24 grams.


2. Branched Chain Amino Acid Content 

Branched Chain Amino Acid Content

Three of the nine amino acids are branched-chain: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. The term branched-chain refers to the chemical structure of these molecules.

Processed whey protein has the highest branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) content and approximately 11% leucine. Research suggests that leucine can increase protein synthesis and aid in muscle development.

A raw whey has approximately 2100 mg of leucine, whereas processed whey has 2400 mg or more in its formula.


3. Lactose Content

Lactose Content

Raw whey may be a bad idea for those who are lactose intolerant. Processed whey contains very little lactose in its formulation, making it a safe drink for all those allergic people out there! Consuming raw whey may result in complications such as digestive issues, stomach pains, nausea, and so on.


4. Toxicity

According to research conducted by an independent group called Clean Label Project, heavy metals like lead and mercury were discovered in several protein powders.

Bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical utilized to manufacture plastics, was also found in several proteins! These chemicals have the potential to cause a variety of cancers.

Since raw whey is not processed, it is free from any metallic contamination.


5. Sugar Content

Sugar Content

Since protein powders taste awful on their own, they are flavoured with artificial sweeteners to make the experience enjoyable. Diabetic patients should be very mindful when choosing protein shakes.

Raw whey may be advantageous here since it is usually unflavoured without artificial sweeteners!


6. Cost


Well, processed whey contains additives such as sweeteners, aromatics, preservatives, and so on, which can increase the overall production cost. The raw whey is one of the most affordable forms of whey protein available!


Let’s Talk About Digestive Ability

Protein digestion requires the use of an enzyme known as proteases. Proteases are enzymes that break down complex protein molecules into amino acids. The body depletes these amino acids to aid in muscle recovery and strengthening.

Milk is used to make whey proteins. Milk contains proteases naturally, so digestibility should not be an issue. However, some processed whey protein powders contain additional digestive enzymes that can speed up this process, promoting faster absorption.


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In a nutshell, both raw whey and whey protein similarly promote muscle growth.

Raw whey is an excellent choice if you want a low-cost source of protein powder; additionally, people with diabetes can use unprocessed whey since it is devoid of sugars!

As discussed in the article, raw whey can be digested by the body like any other protein can. Hyrosylated protein powders are a good choice if you want an easier-to-digest and absorb powder.

We hope you found this article helpful. Don’t forget to let us know in the comment section if we can answer your question.

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