Without question, the most popular protein supplements sold today are based on whey. Whey is one of two major proteins found in milk, constituting 20% of milk protein. The other 80% of milk protein is casein. For years whey was considered a waste product of cheese manufacture and discarded. Although the popularity of whey protein supplements for bodybuilding purposes began around 1993, it had been used long before that for various medicinal purposes. The ancient Greeks first noticed the healing qualities of whey, although they didn't understand what was in whey that precisely produced these effects. The healing effects of whey became so popular in Gais, Switzerland back in 1749 that "whey clinics" were opened throughout the country. The form of whey used wasn't in a powder or processed form but was the clear liquid portion of milk that often settles at the top of a bottle of milk. That is raw whey, and that's what was used in the past. Around 1930, two different businessmen developed actual whey protein supplements. One of them was James Kraft, whose eponymous company is still a major player in food production and processing. The other early whey producer was Eugene Schiff, another man whose eponymous company, the Schiff corporation, was for a time owned by the Weider company of bodybuilding fame. But the whey products produced by both men were crude extracts that tasted terrible, so never caught on.
Whey next appeared in supplements as part of a milk and egg protein sold in the 50s by Rheo H.Blair.Blair, who was formerly known as Irvin Johnson, was from Chicago but moved to the West Coast, where he changed his name to Rheo Blair and aggressively marketed his milk and egg protein supplement to bodybuilders via ads in Ironman magazine. There were other protein supplements besides Blair's protein available at the time, such as various soy-based protein products, meat-based protein supplements, and even some unpalatable fish-based protein supplements that seemed to do little more than provoke vomiting. But in truth, the milk portion of Blair's protein was little more than non-fat milk powder, which was highly processed and also contained an abundance of lactose, the primary sugar found in milk that some people are allergic to. The egg portion was dehydrated egg powder, which was a good source of amino acids, but due to the heat used in processing, also contained oxidized cholesterol, which is considered damaging to arteries in the body. This problem was later solved with the advent of egg protein supplements based on egg whites or egg albumin. Such supplements contain no fat and no oxidized cholesterol.
Indeed, prior to the advent of higher quality whey supplements in the early 1990s, egg protein was considered the highest biological value protein supplement available. Its actual biological value, or ability to be . . .