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What Is Whey Protein Isolate?

What Is Whey Protein Isolate?

So we get ordinary whey protein as a by-product when making cheese and this whey protein typically has a protein content of around 80%. Now Whey Protein Isolate 90 is believed to be a superior protein powder since it undergoes a process called Cross-Flow Micro-filtration which basically separates the protein from fat, cholesterol and lactose meaning you get a purer protein powder with a 90% protein content, hence the name Whey Protein Isolate 90.

Who Uses Whey Protein Isolate

Because Whey Protein Isolate is believed to have less fat, cholesterol, lactose, carbohydrates and calories than most other proteins on the market, it’s mainly used by those concerned about keeping their body fat levels low but who still require the protein to help their muscles repair and recover. Therefore Whey Protein Isolate 90 is mainly used by bodybuilders when they are ‘cutting’ and lowering their body fat for competition but who want to keep muscle mass, fighters who need to make a certain weight class but still need enough protein to recover and function properly or anyone concerned with body fat levels.

Whey Isolate And Lactose Intolerance

Although whey concentrate is considered low in lactose, whey isolate is considered even lower because of the Cross-Flow Micro-filtration process; this is why many experts will recommend this for athletes who suffer from lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance is the inability to process lactose, which is a sugar found naturally in milk and milk derived dairy products. Also known as lactase deficiency, since lactase is the enzyme responsible helping this process, being lactose intolerant can cause anything from bloating to vomiting. It must be noted that people must first identify if they are lactose intolerant and then the degree to which they have it and if it is severe, should probably avoid all milk based protein powders and instead use pea protein or hemp protein. But for those who suspect they are mildly lactose intolerant and can’t quite stomach whey concentrate, whey isolate might be a great alternative.

Whey Concentrate Vs Whey Isolate 

People have long debated which one is better, whey concentrate or whey isolate. The truth is there is no outright winner and it largely depends on your personal nutritional goals. Whey isolate obviously has a higher protein content and is lower in carbohydrates, lactose and fat however is typically more expensive due to the additional manufacturing process it undergoes. Therefore I think it’s worth asking yourself whether the additional benefits are worth the price tag? And as explained above, often they are if you’re goal is to keep your body fat low or if you’re lactose intolerant.

For more information – please see our dedicated article on this topic Whey Protein Concentrate Vs Isolate


  • Jason E. Tang, Daniel R. Moore, Gregory W. Kujbida, Mark A. Tarnopolsky, and Stuart M. Phillips (2009)‘Ingestion of whey hydrolysate, casein, or soy protein isolate: effects on mixed muscle protein synthesis at rest and following resistance exercise in young men’ Journal of Applied Physiology September 2009 vol. 107 no. 3 987-992
  • Jason E. Tang, Joshua J. Manolakos,  Greg W. Kujbida, Paul J. Lysecki, Daniel R. Moore and Stuart M. Phillips (2007) ‘Minimal whey protein with carbohydrate stimulates muscle protein synthesis following resistance exercise in trained young men’ Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 2007, 32(6): 1132-1138
  • Tang, Jason E; Phillips, Stuart M (2009) ‘Maximizing muscle protein anabolism: the role of protein quality’ Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care: January 2009 – Volume 12 – Issue 1 – p 66-71

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