Foam or froth is formed when gas particles are trapped in the liquid, so basically, they are aerated microbubbles. The foam may enhance the appearance of some beverages like milk or coffee, but it may be undesirable in whey protein shakes.
Whey protein lovers often complain when they mix protein powder into their shaker, add some water and give it a vigorous shake; it results in a frothy and foamy protein shake that can take several minutes to settle.
Now the question arises that should you be worried about it? The answer is no. Many people believe that foaming is bad or whey protein shake should not create any foam. But the fact is that it does not indicate that whey protein is of poor quality or it will harm the body.
Foaming Indicates Purity
You will notice that froth formation is more common in pure whey protein powders with no artificial additives or fillers like thickeners. In contrast, protein supplements containing protein blends or gainers produce less foam. It is because commercially anti-foaming agents are added in whey protein powders, and sometimes binding and flavouring agents also prevent foam formation. If your whey protein has more flavours added, it will produce less foam.
Therefore, if your whey protein shake produces a lot of foam, it means the protein powder is pure and is of excellent quality. It is just a sign of blending of entire protein content in a good way.
Why does foaming occur?
Proteins are long amino acids chains linked together by peptide bonds. They are amphiphilic in nature, containing both hydrophobic (water-repelling) and hydrophilic (water-loving) ends in the same molecule. When we stir the whey protein shakes vigorously, the amino bonds loosen, and the chain partly unwinds, due to which the hydrophilic and hydrophobic ends get exposed. The hydrophobic ends reach out for the air, the hydrophilic ends stay in the water, and then the proteins coagulate in a structure that holds onto air bubbles.
How to prevent foaming in protein shakes?
These are some tips that might help prevent froth formation.
- Use a glass and spoon to stir the protein powder instead of a blender or shaker.
- Use less water to mix the protein as less water promotes less foam. As it mixes with the water, you can add more water to avoid foam.
- Avoid mixing the entire scoop of protein powder at once with water and mix the powder little by little.
- You can also prepare your protein shake before your workout, and by the time you are done with your training, the foam will have ample time to settle.
To sum up, proteins with higher purity tend to create more foam. Denatured or damaged proteins have lower quality, thus making less or making no foam. During processing, when proteins get damaged, the amino acid ends also get damaged, which cannot entrap much air, thus making shakes without foam.
Only high-quality proteins produce more foam on shaking. If your protein powder makes a lot of foam, don’t worry! You are consuming the good stuff. But if you don’t like it, you can avoid it by mixing whey gently.