Protein Powders

Whey Concentrate vs Isolate- How To Choose?

whey concentrate vs isolate

Whey protein has gained a lot of hype over the past years and for all the good reasons. But, did you know whey protein is further of two types? What is the difference when it comes to whey concentrate vs isolate? Are they the same?

Don’t worry, we have answers to all these. 

In this review, we will study whey protein, and then discuss its further types. We will also look at the difference in the benefits provided by both types of proteins. 

What is whey protein?

Whey protein is widely consumed by athletes and gym enthusiasts who want to gain muscles or lose weight. The fact that whey protein provides benefits has made it a great addition to nutritional supplements. 

But do you know how whey protein is made? Where did it come from?

Well, whey protein is derived from milk. In other words, whey is a by-product of the cheese-making process. 

However, the important point here is that milk itself has two types of proteins: Whey and casein. Whey comprises 20% of this portion, and casein is 80% in milk.

This milk undergoes a heating process. While heating, they also introduce some enzymes into the milk. The purpose of this process is to solidify the protein and separate the milk from the liquid. In this way, the proteins are isolated from the milk.

This process is very similar to the production of cheese. Initially, this separated milk was considered a waste product. However, the nutritional properties of this whey have made it an important component of supplements. When dehydrated, this leftover liquid is converted into powder, which we call whey protein powder.

Now, this whey protein is further of two types: whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate. 

Let’s find out about them as well.

What is whey protein concentrate?

Of the two forms of whey, whey protein concentrate is the least concentrated form. However, whey concentrate is considered a complete protein. It means that whey concentrate contains all the nine essential amino acids

Now, let’s look into how this whey protein concentrate is made. The thing is, whey protein undergoes a micro-filtration process. It doesn’t undergo heating during this stage. 

Are you wondering what’s the reason behind this?

The main reason is to retain its purity and maintain the composition of amino acids in the whey protein powder. 

Apart from this, this process also ensures that when you mix the whey protein powder in a liquid base later, you get a smooth texture of your protein shake.

However, we need to make sure that not all whey protein concentrates will be the same. To study the percentage of protein in it, we need to know how concentrated the whole batch is. Most of the time, the protein content in whey concentrate is 65-75%. Also, the low-quality will include other ingredients, like fillers and additives, which will contribute to low levels of protein. 

What is whey protein isolate?

When whey protein is further highly filtered, it turns into whey protein isolate. 

This filtration removes the lactose from whey, although whey protein generally has low levels of lactose. The fat and cholesterol are also removed from whey protein during this filtration.

Due to this, we can say that whey protein isolate has a stronger nutritional profile as compared to whey concentrate. It is also believed that whey protein isolate contains 90% protein, which makes it an excellent source of protein.

Plus, as the lactose content in whey isolate is less (but not 100% removed), people with lactose intolerance can consume it. Still, you need to be careful about the severity and avoid it altogether if any kind of milk product doesn’t suit you.

Whey protein concentrate vs isolate

Are you curious to know about the main differences between whey protein concentrate and isolate? What makes one better than the other?

The main difference between the two is that whey protein isolate has more protein content. It is because it is more refined to remove the impurities.

As we discussed earlier, whey protein isolate should have 90% protein in it. However, protein content less than that is considered whey concentrate. A protein content of around 70-80% is considered to be whey concentrate. It depends on how concentrated the whey protein is.

Another primary difference is the lactose content. We also mentioned above that whey isolate has less lactose content because most of it is removed in the filtration process. 

Apart from this, whey isolate also contains less carbohydrates and fats, along with a high protein content. This property makes it suitable for people who want to lose weight. 

Whey protein concentrate or isolate?

Now, all of this discussion comes down to one question.

Should you take whey protein isolate or concentrate?

The thing is, as both of these are considered whey protein, both concentrate and isolate will provide similar benefits. 

If your goal is to gain muscles and build muscle mass, you can go for whey protein concentrate. This protein powder is famous for providing energy and building muscles.

However, if you’re lactose-intolerant and your goal is to lose weight, you should go for whey protein isolate. 

Take-away message

While whey protein isolate and concentrate will have similar benefits, whatever you choose between the two will depend on your own goals. So, in this battle of whey protein concentrate vs isolate, there is no one winner.

It simply depends on you.

If you’re more inclined towards weight loss, whey isolate is ideal. However, if you want to build muscles, whey concentrate will be a great choice.

So, choose the right protein powder for you, and get on track with your fitness goals!

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