Whey Protein Isolate Vs. Concentrate: Know the Difference : NUTRABAY™

Whey Protein Isolate Vs. Concentrate: Know the Difference


Among all the hard-core fitness enthusiasts out there, whey protein is one of the most favoured sports supplements. But one should be aware of which type of whey protein to choose based on their individual physique goals. For instance, choosing between whey protein, whey protein isolate, or whey protein concentrate can be a little tricky as they all have some crucial nutritional differences.

If you are particular about your food, an athlete, a senior citizen, or just looking to control your appetite, a systematic approach to protein intake can benefit you in many ways. However, it is crucial to know the various types of proteins and their features before taking that protein shake.

Though many have already chosen one for them based on their tips in their gym, we discuss how they differ regarding benefits, taste, and the science behind them.

Let us start then!

What is Milk Protein?

Milk protein is made up of two types of protein:

1. Casein 

2. Whey

Here, slow-digesting casein makes up 80% of the total milk protein, whereas fast-digesting whey makes up for the remaining 20%.

When the milk gets processed to form cheese or yoghurt, some liquid remains; that liquid is nothing but whey.

This liquid is full of fast-digesting proteins, and we call it whey proteins. 

On further processing, whey protein is derived as a relatively tasteless powder commonly consumed through shakes, protein bars, and baked goods.

Whey protein is made up of several subfractions with their unique biological characteristics. Let us take a quick view of what does whey contains:

1. Immunoglobulins (IgG1, IgG2, secretory IgA and IgM)

2. Alpha-lactoglobulin

3. Smaller components: iron-binding proteins (lactoferrin, lactoferricin), calcium, potassium, sodium, phosphorous, folic acid, biotin, and vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B3, B5, and B12.

4. Bovine serum albumin (BSA)

5. Beta-lactoglobulin

(source: https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/your-expert-guide-to-whey-protein.html)

These all subfractions in whey protein are made up of amino acids. 

However, whey is mainly used for the production and growth of muscles. 

Based on the needs and formation, whey protein is available in different forms. 

Whey Protein isolate and whey protein concentrate are two of the most common and recognized forms.

They vary in their nutritional contents.

Let us now take a look at how they differ from each other.

What is Whey Protein Isolate?

Whey Protein Isolate (commonly known as Whey Isolate) is a food component or dietetic supplement made by segregating the whey components.

Whey protein isolate is the milk byproduct of the cheese-making process, and it contains a higher percentage of protein than whey concentrate.

What is Whey Protein Concentrate?

Whey protein concentrate contains higher carbohydrates (lactose) and fat than whey protein isolate and other counterparts.

It is referred to as being the cheapest, the most familiar form of whey protein and mainly used as a dietary protein intake to maximize muscle hypertrophy. 

Isolate protein vs Whey Protein

Whey Protein is the base form of the dietary supplement derived from milk. It is a mixture of globular proteins.

Whey Protein is further categorized into three different categories named Isolate, Concentrate, and Hydrolysate. These subtypes are divided based on their extraction method.

Whey Protein isolate has a higher amount of protein as compared to the same of its counterparts.

If you are looking to choose the best protein supplement that suits your body, you are in the right place!

Let us now go a bit deeper.

What is the Difference Between Whey Isolate and Whey Concentrate?

The most crucial difference between whey isolate and whey concentrate rises at the time of the manufacturing process.

If put simply, whey isolate goes through an intense manufacturing process as compared to whey concentrate.

Due to the acute processing, most of the carbohydrates and fats are removed to gather protein content, primarily with whey isolate. With whey concentrate, carbohydrates and fats remain. 

Whey protein isolate boosts the protein concentration to almost 90-95 per cent, with all fats and carbohydrates removed. It is of great benefit for those who have trouble with milk.

On the other hand, whey protein concentrate contains 70-80 per cent of protein. It also includes a low amount of lactose and fat, but it is always greater than whey protein isolate. Many fitness diehards see whey protein concentrate naturally inferior to whey protein isolate because of the fat and carb content. However, whey protein concentrate can turn out to be an excellent alternative for whey protein isolate if processed well.

The different amino acids found in whey isolate and whey concentrate are almost identical because they are processed from the same material.

The below-given table gives an idea about the difference between standard whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate per 100-calorie serving:

(source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/whey-protein-isolate-vs-concentrate#section2)

Whey Protein Isolate Benefits.

Prevents Muscle Breakdown

Muscle breakdown due to lack of protein synthesis can be a significant problem for fitness enthusiasts. It can occur during high-intensity workouts and when you try to improve muscle size without proper protein intake. 

Whey protein isolate enhances protein metabolism by getting absorbed in the bloodstream much faster, and eventually, it prevents muscle breakage.

Whey Protein isolate is undoubtedly the cleanest, purest form of whey protein, and this leaves no room for muscle breakdown.

Athletic Performance

Whey protein isolate is the best for athletes. 

It helps to enhance their performance and improve lean muscle mass. Naturally, muscles are broken down and automatically repaired when our bodies are exposed to physical stress like work out. 

Whey protein isolate supports muscle optimization by speeding the time to revitalize tissues.

Muscle Wasting Diseases

Whey protein isolate helps to prevent muscle wasting, thus, beneficial for those suffering from cachexia.

This phenomenon is commonly found among those battling diseases like cancer, AIDS, etc. 

Whey protein isolate is also suitable for senior citizens and those losing muscle weight due to natural ageing or any other reason.

Improves Digestion  

Whey protein isolate can be helpful to improve digestion. 

It is suitable for lactose intolerants, and it also helps regulate bowel movements in the body. 

Whey protein is beneficial in many other ways due to the following characteristics.

1. Essential Amino Acids:

Whey protein isolate is the complete protein for a reason. It has all the essential amino acids which are necessary for your body to repair muscles post-workout.

Our bodies do not produce these essential amino acids, and thus, we need to go for the food and supplements that fulfil this need for nutrients. It is vital to get these amino acids to prevent tissue damage, muscle loss in our body, and whey protein isolate is the answer to this.

2. Low and Fat in carbs:

Extra fat and carbs can slow down your metabolism, and that is why whey protein isolate comes into the picture. With so many products that come with loaded fats and carbs, whey protein isolate is significantly low on both. It provides a necessary amount of protein to your body without carbs and fat.

3. Low Lactose Level:

There is a possibility of you being lactose sensitive or intolerant. With less than 1 per cent of lactose content, whey protein isolate is easier to consume. 

4. Easily Digested:

For those who are passionate about a lean and athletic physique, whey protein isolate is the key. One can easily digest it, and the protein contents are much easier to absorb for muscle repair and production.

As protein is the key to achieve your ideal lean and toned physique, whey protein isolate is the best protein to optimize these outcomes. 

Whey protein isolates dangers.

In recommended doses, whey protein supplements don’t pose dangers to the most. But the facts are a bit different. Whey protein isolate consumption may improve blood sugar levels, blood cholesterol levels, and other health-related factors.

Like all the health supplements, there is no guarantee of safe whey protein isolate results, especially when your intake is high.

If you take more intake of whey protein isolate than recommended, you might experience cramps, digestive discomfort, and an upset stomach. It can also lead to headaches, fatigue, and reduced appetite.

Here are some key points to know the dangers of whey protein isolate in detail.

Trace Toxins

Based on the results of multiple tests done by “Consumer Reports” and published in 2010, many whey proteins supplements in the market contain a trace amount of hazardous heavy metals like lead, mercury, arsenic or cadmium. Whey protein isolate is one of them. With consistent usage of whey protein isolate, there may be an increased threat of low-level heavy metal poisoning that leads to headaches, constipation, and joint pain. 

Excess Protein

The recommended amount of protein for men is around 60 grams, and for women, it is 55 grams daily. Hence, a regular intake of whey protein isolate in excess can increase the calorie load and can cause health issues such as kidney disease, kidney stones, cancer, and osteoporosis, in case a person has any prevailing medical condition.

Poor Nutrition

There is a possible rise in nutrient deficiencies if you regularly use whey protein isolate to substitute for other protein-rich food. Whey protein isolate cannot match some of the nutritional parameters of natural protein-rich foods. It is always good to go for a protein from natural sources unless recommended by an expert.

Whey isolates or concentrates for weight gain.

In general, whey protein is widely known for its high-class protein content, easy to digest features and inherent taste. 

Be it an athlete or a gym enthusiast, one knows the importance of pure protein sources.

However, when you have to choose between isolate or concentrate form of protein for weight gain, you may come across a couple of questions like, “what should you choose?”, “Whey isolate or concentrate for weight gain?”

To help you, we have some information.

If you are trying to boost your protein intake for the sake of fat loss, muscle gain, or just looking for an alternative for your meal, whey protein concentrate is the best to start with. 

Whey protein concentrate is much better to help you gain weight along with significant muscle gain.

If you are an athlete and working hard to achieve a lean and toned body, whey protein isolate is the best. 

The whey protein isolate is derived from filtering the whey protein concentrate, and it is significantly low in fats and carbohydrates.

Hence, this is the best supplement for you to lose weight and maintain a lean physique.


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