This is a good question.
Actually there are data suggesting that protein fractions may indeed be biologically active, so it’s not only the amino acids themselves that are of interest. (How full peptides have biological effects is still being studied.)
There is literature out there that whey fractions do denature at temps lower than that needed to cook oats. Here’s a quote from J Brun and, D Dalgleish (International Dairy Journal 9 (1999) 323}327):
“whey a-lactalbumin and b-lactoglobulin denature when
they are heated at temperatures greater than about 70 degrees C (158 degrees F).”
Because I wanted some quantification, I just did a little microwave experiemnt with my pre-workout oats and protein powder. Here’s the scoop (pun intended)…
1 c. water
0.5 c raw oats
30 sec = 45 degrees C
60 sec = 62 degrees C
90 seconds = 76 degrees C
120 sec (done) = 93 degrees C
Prior to the oats being cooked (at 90 sec), this crosses the denaturation point. Even though microwaves differ, there’s still a concern…
A serving takes 2 minutes to cook (by definition we need to bring the oats to a boil to cook them (100 deg C or 212 F). So, it may be safer to let them cool a bit upon pulling from the microwave.
I also saw that adding 1/2 c. frozen berries brings the temp below the denaturation point in under 30 sec.
Since oats seem to act better than freaking housing insulation regarding temperature retention, this is a great way to get them quickly cool enough to mix in a protein like Grow!.