Difference Between Whey and Whey Isolate

whey protein isolate
Last updated:

Most of us have heard of whey protein, particularly if we are more into health and fitness than others.

But still, a lot of people don’t really know the difference between the three forms that are actually found in the dietary supplement.

These are Isolate, Concentrate, and whey protein Hydrolysate [1].

The two most common forms are Isolate and Concentrate.

After you’ve read this article you will know which one is right for you. But first…

Whey vs Protein Isolate: A Complete Guide

What is Whey Protein?

You might not have known this either, but whey is the most used and popular dairy-based protein on the market today [2].

It comes from the milk that is derived when cheese-making takes place.

Curds?

Curds are a by-product when milk is coagulated or curdled. It happens usually when you add acids such as vinegar or lemon juice to the dairy.

This increase in acidity causes the casein proteins to coagulate or turn into a solid mass.

If you leave milk out to get sour, this is exactly the same process as if you were adding the acids to it. 

Coagulation is the first step in the process of making cheese.

Once the curds are formed, they get pressed and drained before other things are introduced.

This will depend on the cheese being made. But the liquid that is left over after you have drained the curds is called whey.

If you ever open up yogurt and find liquid at the top, that’s also whey.

Whey is a complete protein because it contains all of the nine essential amino acids [3].

About Whey Protein Concentrate

One of the forms of whey protein is whey protein Concentrate.

Hydrolysate may provide the correct structure of whey diet good for infant formulas.

It has biologically active components that are easy to digest.

It has all the health and nutrition that you would find in whole milk.

Whey concentrate has more lactose in it than the Isolate version, and yet still remains low in carbs and fats.

The protein content of whey concentrate is dependent on how concentrated it really is. 

Most whey concentrates have about 70-80% of the protein in them.

They are rich in BCAA’s (branched-chain amino acids) and they have glutamine in them too.

Also, it is ideal for those who want to build muscle and maintain it, or for recovering after physical exercise[5]

About Whey Protein Isolate

Whey Protein Isolate is whey protein that has undergone high filtration.

Generally, whey protein doesn’t have a lot of lactose in it. In fact, it has less than 1%.

But the filtration that takes place in whey Isolate leaves the Isolate with almost no lactose content at all.

Whey Isolate has less cholesterol, less fat, fewer carb, and calories compared to the protein concentrate powder

For those who are lactose-intolerant, whey Isolate will be ideal. It is also ideal for those who want to lose fat but also maintain their muscles.

Look out for the best whey protein isolates – they have at least 90% protein in them, more so than in the concentrated form.

Which should I take – The Isolate or the Concentrate?

 To figure out which is the best type of protein for you means realizing what your body type is. What are your goals?

What type of fitness routine do you have for your lifestyle? All these things are important.

The best protein for you could be whey. But then, it could also be protein from a plant-based protein [6].

Nevertheless, whey protein powder still remains popular because it has so many benefits.

Whey protein powders supply the user with a full source of all the essential amino acids and improve the body’s protein intake.

Choosing The One That Suits You is Important

If you are sensitive to lactose, whey Isolate is a good choice. It has been so finely filtered that there is hardly any lactose in it.

For those who are dieting, the Isolate offers lower carbohydrates and fat content.

For the best form of whey protein though, the Concentrate is ideal with its added carbs and fat in a more concentrated form. It’s also creamier.

It is also usually cheaper as well. It is fantastic for your muscle growth, maintenance, and also overall recovery as it is packed with peptides [7].

Protein is an Important Part of the Muscle-building Process

Proteins might be more important than you think because it plays a vital part in bone health and in recovery.

Most of your protein should come from whole food sources like chicken, beef, fish, eggs, beans, and dairy.

But a really good protein powder will deliver high-quality protein in concentrated and convenient forms.

That’s why whey protein is considered the gold standard [8].

It’s because it’s got all the necessary amino acids to fuel your muscles and for recovery.

Before you just get any old whey powder, though, check all the details out to ensure that your body is getting all that it needs.

The Benefits of Whey Protein Concentrate

 The reason bodybuilders and athletes love whey protein is that it does such an excellent job in your muscle’s repair and growth. It can help improve some health conditions.

Let’s check out the health benefits: 

1) Lose weight

If you want to lose weight, add whey to your diet. With whey, you stay fuller for longer, stabilizing your blood sugar. 

You are also protected from stress.

It is recorded that people who took 50 g of whey protein concentrate noticed gradual and consistent fat loss over a 6 months period [9].

2) Decreased cravings for snacks and sweets

If you take whey Concentrate, it helps to decrease your blood sugar by around 20% after eating a meal rich in carbs.

When your blood sugar is stable, you are less likely to crave unhealthy food.

3) Stress is eased off and your immunity boosted

That’s because whey protein has enzymes and factors in it that increase glutathione [10], a very strong antioxidant.

Glutathione also protects the cells from stress and boosts the immune system. When you are sick, try taking some whey Concentrate.

4) Easy digestion

Whey offers easy digestion and makes it good for people who have sensitive guts.

Whey Concentrate is an all-around superb way to get balanced nutrition, whether you are doing workouts or just as a snack.

The Health Benefits of Whey Isolate

1) Immunity booster

Whey isolate is healthy for your immunity which is beneficial for workouts. 

2) Protein synthesis prevents muscles from breaking down

That is the key aspect of an intense workout; to prevent muscles from breaking down because of a lack of protein synthesis in the active parts.

This can happen even when you are trying to increase strength.

Whey protein isolates get absorbed into the bloodstream faster, preventing your muscle’s breakage [11].

3) Managing hunger and cravings

Starving before doing muscle-building workouts isn’t the best idea – especially when fat gets burned at such a fast rate.

Studies show that when you take whey protein supplements, hunger pangs are reduced significantly.

 4) Fat loss

When you are trying to lose weight and build muscle, it is whey proteins that can reduce your need to take in more calories.

This is because it is cholesterol, and calorie-free.

Whey protein Isolate preserves the muscle and burns fat, leading to a controlled calorific diet.

5) Increases repair and muscle mass

Taking whey, you eliminate fat from your diet and alter it with pure protein. Your physical build will be enhanced by growing lean tissue.

Taking liquid whey an hour before your training session, you create a proven method of increasing lean muscle mass, size, strength, and vigor.

Look at our general comparison showing the differences between whey protein Concentrate and whey Isolate

 

Whey Concentrate

Whey Isolate

How much protein 80% 90%
Action Weight gain

To build muscle

Reduce fat

Gain muscle

Protein Per scoop Protein per scoop – 25 g protein per scoop – 30-31 g
Which is better for beginners Whey Concentrate for beginners. As you start working out more, then you can move to Isolate. For those working out for some time, whey Isolate should be the choice
Processing process Less processed than the Isolate.

Concentrate is made by processing the dairy by-product

Undergoes more processing than the Concentrate.

Isolate comes from processing the whey Concentrate further

Calories The Concentrate has more calories; it is naturally sweeter Fewer calories as it goes through more filtering processing. Fat, lactose, and unwanted minerals are removed
Cost Cheaper More expensive
Digestion Slower digestion Faster digestion
Carbs, fat, sugar content Concentrate has more Carb and fat content are much lower in Isolate due to the filtering processes
Health benefits Probably is the best choice as it retains more relevant active compounds Isolate is a purer product. It has a high amino acid and protein content, fewer carbs, and lactose.

 

When all is said and done 

Regardless of which one you choose, they have similar health benefits.

Both will benefit your efforts in the gym and help you to reach your fitness goals.

Conclusion

Most of the research carried out on protein powders has proven that whey protein supplement is the way to go when it comes to building muscle [12].

After all, whey protein contains a brilliant mix of essential nutrients. When you take in amino acids, you deliver some top bodily benefits.

One study from The Journal of Nutrition [13] compared whey protein supplements with soy protein.

The participants who ate whey protein for a period of 23 weeks had waists that were smaller than the participants who ate soy protein.

But if you are someone who doesn’t want to have a dairy-based protein but rather a non-dairy protein powder, research shows that pea protein is the same as having whey protein [14].

Whey concentrate and whey Isolate protein are both excellent in what they deliver and you can be the one to decide which one will suit you best.

Both ways, they are going to benefit your health and fitness goals, because after all, ‘your success is found in your daily routine’.

References