If you’re a bodybuilder, athlete, or just a person trying to get fit, chances are you’ve heard about whey protein. Most people know that the body needs protein to repair muscles after strenuous exercise. However, things can get a little confusing when terms like “concentrate” and “isolate” get thrown into the mix.
Before you even start trying to decide which type of protein is best for you, let’s take a look at what whey protein is.
What is Whey Protein?
Whey protein is one of the safest and most effective supplements that you can take. It is packed with powerful amino acids and nutrients that help the body build muscle, get stronger, and improve overall health. Also, it is relatively easy for the body to digest and use whey protein.
While the image of protein powder may come to mind when you think of whey protein, that’s not where it initially comes from.
Whey protein comes from milk, but whey is a liquid by-product of the cheese making process. For a long time, long before people understood what a powerful supplement whey protein is, this by-product was just discarded when people made cheese.
What’s the Difference Between Concentrate and Isolate?
There are two main types of whey protein supplements: whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate. Understanding the differences between the two is crucial to maximize your fitness and ensure that you stay healthy while supplementing your diet.
Whey concentrate is the most common type of protein supplement on the market. Protein powder is created by filtering out the superfluous parts of liquid whey: carbs, lactose, fat, etc. Generally speaking, whey concentrate is the product of this filtration process and has about 80 grams of protein per 100 grams.
Whey isolate is created with the same filtration process. However, the product goes through another round of filtration, removing, even more, lactose and fat. This results in a powder that has about 90 grams of protein per 100 grams.
That’s the main difference between whey protein and whey isolate. While the essential ingredients are the same, whey isolate packs a stronger punch with 10% more protein per serving.
The Benefits of Whey Protein Concentrate
Don’t run out to the store and buy whey isolate just yet. There are many reasons why whey concentrate is a better choice for you. Here are just a few:
- The lactose, fat, and carbs in whey protein can help you feel full and stop overeating
- Whey concentrate is digested slower than isolate, which is great if you can’t eat for several hours after a workout
- It’s cheaper than whey isolate
Although whey isolate offers higher protein content than concentrate, many people find that concentrate is simply better suited to their lifestyle and goals. If you’re looking to manage your weight, concentrate is a great option that will keep you satiated.
As well, the price difference should not be overlooked. Any experienced bodybuilder can testify that supplements are not cheap, so saving money on your protein is a shrewd way to get fit without breaking the bank.
The Benefits of Whey Protein Isolate
Naturally, the obvious advantage to whey isolate is that it contains 10% more protein per serving than standard whey protein. Also, here are some unexpected benefits to whey isolate that can make it ideal for some people:
- Stripping liquid whey of lactose means that whey isolate is perfect for lactose-intolerant individuals
- Whey isolate is digested faster than whey concentrate, making it an excellent choice for a post-workout shake
- Isolate is easier to break down for the body
If it seems like the majority of elite athletes and bodybuilders turn to whey isolate for their protein, that’s because it packs a bigger protein punch. Not only does it have superior protein content, but it’s also easier to digest and begins working faster.
Which Type of Protein Should I Choose?
The decision to choose whey protein or whey isolate should be made after a reflection about your goals. Answering the following questions is a good way of make a choice easier.
- Is your objective to pack on muscle as fast as possible?
- Is maintaining a healthy weight one of your primary concerns?
- How much money are you willing to spend on protein supplements?
Truthfully, there’s no right answer. Only your aspirations, body, and finances can indeed point you in the right direction. People with overall health in mind who aren’t looking to spend a great deal on their protein will probably be better off with concentrate.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to make serious gains and don’t mind spending more to achieve them, isolate is the way to go.
At the end of the day, there’s no wrong decision (unless you’re lactose intolerant or flat-out broke). Whey protein is a potent supplement, regardless of its form.
Whether you choose concentrate or isolate, you’ll be sure to see some serious results in no time.
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