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Whey Protein Concentrate Vs. Whey Protein Isolate

Raging debate has been going on regarding which form of whey protein is better: whey protein concentrate or whey protein isolate. Let us delve deeper into what each of these offers.

Definition of Whey Protein Concentrate

Whey protein concentrate has anywhere between 29%-80% protein depending on the product. The protein level in whey protein concentrate decreases the amounts of fat and other compounds usually increase as well. 

Whey protein concentrates are manufactured from liquid by ultra-filtration, dia-filtration, clarification and drying techniques. This entire process help maintain all of the essential amino acids which are not produced by the body. In addition, whey protein concentrate is quickly and easily digestible without the aid of additional protein enzymes.   

Some claims for whey protein concentrate include the following:

It is a form of “whole food.” This means it contains more of the natural enzymes, nutrients and vitamins. 

It contains more natural antioxidants such as glutathione. More of the nutrients are left intact because whey protein concentrate typically requires less processing. 

It is as close to a natural supplement as you can get. 

Whey protein concentrate has been shown to ward off Alzheimer’s disease, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure and prevent signs of aging.   

Definition of Whey Protein Isolate

Whey protein isolate is a type of whey protein powder that is created by removing whey protein from milk, drying it, and then removing the non-protein components (including fat and the milk sugar lactose) from the dried powder. The American Dairy Products Institute affirms that whey protein isolate contains at least 90% protein. Whey protein concentrate is created in the same way as whey protein isolate. The main difference is that in whey protein concentrate, the non-protein components are not removed. 

Generally, whey protein isolate contains lower amounts of carbohydrates and is more expensive than whey protein concentrate. 

With its higher protein content, whey protein isolate is considered by numerous fitness experts to be the better protein supplement.

Some claims for whey protein isolate include the following:

Athletes use whey protein isolate to enhance athletic performance and increase lean muscle mass. 

Whey protein isolate contains high concentrations of the naturally-occurring branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) leucine, isoleucine and valine. When taken within an hour after exercise, whey protein isolate staves off fatigue and helps repair and build muscle.

Whey protein isolate is also used as a meal replacement for people who are trying to lose weight. This is because of the higher concentration of protein and the smaller amounts of fat and lactose. As whey protein isolate also increases muscle mass, it also increases the body’s basal metabolic rate (the amount of calories your body burns at rest). This is linked to easier weight loss.

Some studies have shown that whey protein isolate has immune system-boosting properties.


Now that everything is all said and done, which form of whey protein should you go for? It really depends on your situation. For one, if you are lactose intolerant and have problems with gas and bloating, you may be better off going for whey protein isolate. Another consideration is your budget. Some fitness experts claim that whey protein concentrate delivers results in terms of muscle growth inasmuch as whey protein isolate does. In this case, you should go for whey protein concentrate, the cheaper kind. 

As a parting shot, try to analyse your situation very carefully vis-à-vis the facts which were presented. Each person’s situation is different. A thorough analysis of your own situation is the only deciding factor whether whey protein concentrate or whey protein isolate will prevail as your protein supplement of choice. 


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