Journal of the American Nutrition Association, 2023 (Scopus)
© 2023 American Nutrition Association.Functional foods are defined as foods and ingredients that exhibit health benefits beyond their nutritional value. Research on functional foods is increasing rapidly as they may help prevent and manage some non-communicable diseases. Whey proteins are recognized as a high-quality nutrient source and known to contain some bioactive components. They are rich in essential amino acids such as cysteine, branched-chain amino acids such as leucine, valine, and isoleucine, and bioactive peptides. Whey proteins look promising as a potential functional food, given its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, blood pressure lowering, anti-obesity, and appetite suppressing effects that is discussed in the literature. Whey proteins also show functional properties that play an essential role in food processing as an emulsifier, fat-replacer, gelling and encapsulating agent and are known to improve sensory and textural characteristics of food. This review focuses on the functional food aspects of whey proteins, associated health effects, and current food applications.