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November 05, 2016 3 min read

I've gotten a lot of questions regarding the differences, pros & cons, and which form of protein should be consumed. Obviously, there are many factors that play into this such as, body type, allergies, fitness goals etc.

I personally know the differences between certain types of whey protein, but I did some research and gathered info on this topic from several different articles to compile into one for you guys! Check it out below!

Whey Concentrate

The two most common forms are whey concentrate and whey isolate. The main difference is that isolates are more pure than concentrates, meaning other non-protein components have been partially removed to “isolate” the whey protein. Many concentrates are 80% protein, which means on a dry basis, 80% of the total weight is protein. As an example, 100g of whey concentrate contains about 400 calories, 82g of protein along with about 9g of carbohydrates (about half is lactose), 6g of fat and 150 mg of cholesterol.

Whey concentrate is the least processed of the different types of whey protein supplements. It contains more complete proteins and bioactive compounds than other forms of whey protein, but usually less protein per serving. Whey concentrate can contains about 70 to 80 percent protein, but also trace amounts of lactose and milk fat.

It serves as a great meal replacement option, which is perfect for maintain fitness levels and ensuring you get a more “complete” meal replacement. It also happens to be cheaper than other forms of whey protein.

However, this protein features higher carb levels which means more calories, and higher amounts of lactose, which might present a problem for people with lactose intolerance.

Whey Isolates

Whey isolates are typically about 92% protein (dry basis), meaning you get more protein per equivalent dose. The same 100g of whey isolate delivers less calories (about 370 calories), but with more protein (92g) and considerably less total carbohydrate, lactose, fat and cholesterol.

While whey isolate is more processed, but this processing helps produce more protein per serving. Furthermore, whey isolate absorbs more quickly in the body than concentrate. That’s why this particular whey protein is so valued by body builders who want to build muscle mass and quickly begin their workout recovery.

The flip side is that whey isolate tends to be more expensive than the concentrate. Also, many of the bioactive compounds within the protein are broken down during processing, which means you may lose out on some of the health benefits of whey concentrate.

Whey Hydrolysates

This whey protein form is thought to be the fastest absorbing of all the whey proteins. The reason is that all of the proteins found within are predigested, which means the long chain amino acids found in whey concentrate and isolate are broken all the way down into single amino acids. The body already tends to convert these long chain amino acids into single amino acids, but with hydrolysate, this is already done for you.

This could result in better muscle protein synthesis and a bigger spike in insulin production than whey isolate. Hydrolysate is very popular with body builders, but since isolate andhydrolysate are both heavily processed, many of the bioactive compounds and long chain amino acids are destroyed, which may reduce many of the health benefits present in concentrate.


So which one is right for you? It depends on many different variables a I stated earlier. It depends on your fitness goals, allergies (whether or not your lactose intolerant), budget and so on.

I personally think concentrate suits me just fine, and I also prefer a blended protein to get protein from multiple sources. But my best recommendation would be to just try different types of whey protein, and see how your body responds. Trial and error is a true test in figuring out what works for you and which protein will give you the best results.

Thanks for checking this article out! I hope it can give you an idea about the differences between the most popular forms of whey protein.

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