Reviewed By Kyle Crowley MSc Sports Nutrition
Whey Protein Concentrate and Whey Protein Isolate are the undisputed kings of the protein world, with each having their own benefits depending on your physique goals. So, which is best and which is the right choice for you?
There are two main differences when it comes to the concentrate vs isolate debate, even though both proteins are derived from the same raw ingredient, milk.
Put simply, both these proteins go through a filtration process, with isolate being subject to a more intense process. This allows isolate to be lower in calories, carbohydrates and fats than concentrate while maintaining its high protein contents.
In this article we cover all areas of Whey Concentrate vs Isolate and which is better below…
As previously mentioned, Whey is a protein derived from milk. Milk itself comprises two types of proteins, consisting of 80% casein and 20% whey. To isolate these proteins from the milk, it undergoes a process where it is heated and enzymes are introduced to cause the protein to solidify, separating it from the liquid. This process mirrors what occurs naturally in the production of cheese by dairy producers.
Once separated, the protein is dehydrated, resulting in a powder with an optimal ratio for creating a highly effective protein shake. Both of these proteins are considered complete, containing all nine essential amino acids, including the crucial leucine that is highly sought after by those dedicated to muscle building. If you’re interested in delving deeper into the functions of essential amino acids and leucine, we have a dedicated article available for further reading right here.
Whey protein is extracted from milk. After the whey protein is separated, it undergoes a micro-filtration process instead of being subjected to heat. This results in a highly pure and refined high-protein blend that provides potent benefits to your muscles. Whey protein concentrate is widely acknowledged as the most popular, effective, and cost-efficient protein option available in the current market.
The choice to micro-filter whey protein concentrate, rather than using heat, is primarily to maintain its amino acid composition at its purest and most robust. This process also ensures that when mixed with either water or milk, it retains its luxuriously smooth texture. However, it’s important to note that this feature is characteristic of only the highest quality whey protein concentrate shakes.
For more information on this, check out our in-depth article on What is Whey Protein Concentrate?.
After the whey protein is extracted from milk and subjected to microfiltration, it retains an exceptionally high protein content. Depending on the specific protein concentrate you choose to purchase, the percentage may range from 30% for lower-quality options to 80% for premium-grade products.
At Protein Works, we exclusively utilize the 80% variant, ensuring that you receive the utmost quality in every sip. Alongside its elevated protein levels, it also boasts minimal carbohydrate and fat content. To provide an example, here are the nutritional details for our Cookies ‘n’ Cream Flavour Whey Protein 80 Concentrate (we offer 15 other flavours if you’re interested).
|Per 25 Serving|
It’s likely you’ll already be familiar with the benefits of consuming Protein, for example, enhanced muscle growth, enhanced muscle repair, and reducing recovery times, which is extra important if you’re an avid gym goer. But its the nutritional breakdown, low fat and low carbohydrate content which make it ideal for anyone on a diet, or looking to build lean muscle mass without the added calories.
So you can indulge in this protein paradise without it harming your macros. Not bad for a little pouch. Whey Protein Concentrate is also easily digested, rapidly absorbed by our body and contains all nine essential amino acids, we like to call it an all-rounder.
Whey protein isolate is often overlooked in the sports nutrition world, but don’t let that make you underestimate it at all, because whey protein isolate packs one hell of a protein punch, even more so than the concentrate. As we’ve discussed Whey Protein Concentrate contains around 80% protein contents, whereas isolate contains around 90% .
Simply due to how whey protein isolate is processed gives it this incredibly pure, lean contents. Whey protein isolate goes through a process called ‘Cross-Flow Mico-filtration’. This simply separates the protein from fat, cholesterol, and lactose, giving it that ultra-pure end product. This means that Whey Protein Isolate has much less fat, cholesterol, carbohydrates, lactose and calories than any other protein shake on the market. Although, it’s not 100% free of lactose it does contain a very low lactose content which is why it is often recommended for athletes who struggle with dairy products.
For more information on this, check out our in-depth article on What Is Whey Protein Isolate?
Similar to Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Protein Isolate contains an incredibly lean nutritional label. You’ll be able to find Whey Protein Isolates on the market with different protein percentages, but we’d rather give you the best so ours contains an incredible 90% protein contents. As it’s been intensely filtered, it means your body can digest and absorb it with ease. See below of the nutritional breakdown from our Diet Whey Isolate 90 Chocolate Silk Flavour (10 other flavours with this one)
|Per 25 Serving|
As our Diet Whey Protein Isolate name suggests this bad boy is perfect for anyone on a diet and want to keep an eye on their carbohydrate, calories and fat consumption whilst making sure they hit those all important protein numbers. It’s extremely low carbohydrate formulation means our bodies can easily and quickly absorb the protein and send it directly to where our bodies need it most.
The high protein contents will help our muscle’s, grow and repair ready for the next intense gym session and with all 9 essential amino acids, and amazing flavour choices, you really can’t go wrong.
Both Whey Protein Concentrate andWhey Protein Isolate contain very high protein contents, but the difference comes down to the number of carbohydrates and fats they contain. If you’re following a calorie controlled diet and looking at reducing your weight then Whey Protein Isolate is probably your go-to shake, whereas if you’re looking at building lean muscle mass then we would suggest Whey Protein Concentrate.
Another thing to note is the price. As Whey Protein Isolate goes through a longer manufacturing process it tends to be a little more expensive, though contains lower lactose content. It’s swings and roundabouts really, with pros to both of them.