Whey Concentrate vs. Whey Isolate: Why Use Both?

Whey protein has been a household term for well over a decade. Even if you aren't into the fitness scene, there's a good chance you use a whey protein supplement to support your overall health. There are two primary types of whey protein: concentrate and isolate. Is one better than the other? Which one should you be using to support your fitness goals?


Concentrate vs. Isolate: What's the Difference?

Both whey concentrate and whey isolate are byproducts of cheese-making. They are both high in protein but the difference lies in the refining and hydrolyzing processes. In other words, the degree to which a protein is filtered will determine whether it is a concentrate or an isolate.


Preliminary filtration results in a product that is around 80% protein on average. This would qualify as a whey concentrate. Whey concentrate may also contain some fat, cholesterol, and natural carbohydrates.


When extra filtration and hydrolyzation is completed, you get a purer protein of at least 90%. This would be a whey isolate. Whey isolate is almost completely protein with minimal, if any, cholesterol and carbohydrates.


Benefits of Whey Concentrate

You may hear 'purer protein' and immediately think that whey concentration is the inferior option. Don't be so quick to jump to that conclusion.


Whey concentrate is considered one of the best forms of protein on the market. It's easy to digest, provides an abundant amount of amino acids over the course of a few hours, and it's been shown to support muscle, bone, and cardiovascular health.


With its medium digestion speed, whey concentration is ideal for meal replacement and pre-workout shakes.


Benefits of Whey Isolate

Whey isolate may supply a higher percentage of protein but it does so at an extremely rapid rate. This makes it ideal as a post-workout supplement since this is the optimal time to maximize amino acid delivery. With that said, whey isolate is not always the best choice throughout the day because the body makes quick use of it.


You can use it to break a fast, after a workout to kickstart recovery, and before bed as a fast digesting protein-focused snack. It's clean, effective, and has a lower calorie count. For all other reasons, use a whey concentrate.


Concentrate vs. Isolate: Do You Need to Use Both?

Absolutely! Both whey concentrate and whey isolate have their individual strengths. When you're trying to gain muscle mass, build strength and power, and increase performance, protein timing is key.


You would want to supply your muscles with a whey concentrate during the day, such as before a workout. The slower digesting amino acids will stay in the body longer, triggering an environment of growth while protecting from catabolism.


Whey isolate, on the other hand, is a rapid digesting protein. This makes it perfect to encourage recovery as it is delivering the actual building blocks of muscle tissue directly into the body when they are needed most.


Whey Protein Dosage & Schedule

If you are going to use both whey concentrate and whey isolate, here are the ideal times to take each. Fit them into your schedule as needed.



  • 30 grams of whey concentrate



  • 30 grams of whey concentrate



  • 30 grams of whey isolate


Night (1-2 hours before bed)

  • 30 grams of whey isolate



  1. Boirie Y, Dangin M, Gachon P, Vasson MP, Maubois JL, Beaufrère B. Slow and fast dietary proteins differently modulate postprandial protein accretion. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Dec 23;94(26):14930-5.


  1. Paddon-Jones D, Rasmussen BB. Dietary protein recommendations and the prevention of sarcopenia. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2009 Jan;12(1):86-90. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e32831cef8b.


  1. Veldhorst MA, Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Westerterp KR. Gluconeogenesis and energy expenditure after a high-protein, carbohydrate-free diet. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Sep;90(3):519-26. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.27834. Epub 2009 Jul 29.
Leave a Reply

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.

GIVE $10 GET $10More info