What is the Difference Between Whey Protein Isolate and Concentrate


    If you’ve recently gotten into working out, or are looking into boosting your overall health through more quality nutrition, there are a lot of different health products out there you may look into. One of the most common products on the health market today is something called whey protein, a popular, dairy-based protein supplement.

    Whey is made from the liquid that separates from the curds when the cheese is made. Yes, it is that liquidy stuff at the top of your yogurt, too. 

    But if you think it’s as easy as that, you’ll quickly learn that you’re wrong. In fact, there are a few different types of whey protein; isolate and concentrate.

    Let’s see who wins in the battle of whey protein isolate vs concentrate.

    What is Whey Protein Isolate?

    First up: whey protein isolate. What exactly is it?

    Whey protein isolate is made from whey protein that has been highly filtered through a special process. Though whey protein itself is already less than 1% lactose by definition, whey protein isolate takes that a step further, leaving behind a product that has virtually no lactose whatsoever. This makes it great for those who have severe lactose intolerance.

    It also is incredibly low in calories, fat, cholesterol, and carbohydrates, while touting upward of 90% protein in its makeup.

    What is Whey Protein Concentrate?

    So what is whey protein concentrate, then? Whey protein concentrate has more components that are biologically active and can prove beneficial to overall health and wellness. It has some nutrients in it called bioavailable peptides, which are good for maintaining healthy muscle mass.

    Whey protein concentrate does have some lactose in it, but still less than 1%. It also has between 70%-80% protein.

    What Makes Them Different

    Though these two forms of whey protein are daily similar, they do have quite a few differences as well, that could influence which one you decide to purchase.

    • Amount of Protein- Though both whey protein isolate and concentrate are high in protein, whey protein isolate has, on average, about 10% more protein compared to the concentrated form.
    • Amount of Fat and Carbs- A key selling point for many of us who are looking to lose weight or gain muscle mass is other key macronutrients, fat, and carbs. In this battle, whey protein isolate takes the lead, as it has slightly lower fat and carbohydrate percentage than whey protein concentrate.
    • Lactose- Though both have an extremely low amount of lactose, whey protein isolate has virtually none at all when compared to whey protein concentrate.
    • Additional Nutrients- If we’re talking about additional nutrients that are also essential to health, whey protein concentrate wins. It has more active ingredients that will help keep your body healthy and nourished.
    • Texture- In the case of texture, you will notice that whey protein concentrate has a thicker, creamier texture than whey protein isolate, making the drinking experience a bit more enjoyable.
    • Flavor- When it comes to flavor whey protein concentrate has isolate beat. Due in large part to its higher fat and carb content, it has a fuller, more milk-like flavor to it, which some prefer.
    • Price- If you’re on a budget, chances are, you want to go with whey protein concentrate. It is typically cheaper than whey protein isolate.

    Which One is Right for Me?

    So now you know the key differences between the two, how can you decide which one is right for you? It all depends on what your personal fitness goals are. 

    If you’re looking to cut down on fat while building lean muscle, try whey protein isolate. If you are looking for something to help you recover post-workout, or you’re looking to bulk up, try whey protein concentrate.

    No matter which form you choose, whey protein can help you reach your fitness goals.


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