Whey differs from milk in containing much less protein and that in the form of lact-albumin, about 0.85 per cent, a slightly higher proportion of sugar, and a mere trace of fat, 0.04 per cent. Its value depends on its characters as a dilute mildly nutritious fluid, easily digestible, non-irritating, and somewhat diuretic. It is especially useful in some of the acute gastric and intestinal affections of infancy, in marasmus, and for premature or debilitated babies who cannot obtain breast-milk and are unable to digest the diluted milk of other animals. Curiously, in infants, it very commonly gives rise to green stools. Whey is, also, useful as the sole diet in enteric fever, as a substitute for milk in jaundice, in renal and other dropsical affections, in abdominal plethora and in some pulmonary diseases.
In enteric fever it may be given in doses of 4-6 oz. every two hours, according to the state of the patient and the alimentary tract. Many typhoid cases come to a bad end because of over-feeding and resulting intestinal fermentation, abdominal distension, the passage of undigested stools, and sometimes ileus, haemorrhage or perforation in consequence of the distension. This state of intestinal distension is rarely developed on a diet of whey. When it has arisen on other diets it may often be relieved by complete starvation, a liberal allowance of water, or a diet of whey only.
In abdominal plethora whey is given in amounts up to ten tumblerfuls a day, with a diet of fruit and vegetables. It is best to begin with one glass night and morning and increase by an extra glass daily. It should be taken warm, and given alone or with a mineral water.
The so-called "whey cure" is carried out at Ems, Ischl and Reichenhall, for the treatment of chronic laryngeal and bronchial catarrh, and chronic phthisis. It consists of 20 oz. of whey daily and a modified diet, in which animal foods are reduced and vegetables increased. The benefits which may be derived from such a course of treatment are mainly due to the place, the change of scene and climate, and the regular habits and mode of life. It is barely conceivable that the course is a justifiable one for a case of chronic phthisis, for the benefits derived from the climate and mode of life are likely to be more than counterbalanced by the insufficiency of the diet. For catarrhal states, associated with plethoric conditions, the result of high living, the treatment is likely to be beneficial.
Curdle 30 oz. of milk at 105° F. with rennet. Break up the clot thoroughly and strain through muslin. This should yield from 20-22 oz. of whey. It contains more protein and fat, when made by this method, than if the whey is simply allowed to separate out by contraction of the curd after clotting.