Whey Protein vs Whey Isolate: Which One Is Best For Me?

Whey protein vs whey isolate? For those seeking to gain mass and tone their physique, whey protein is a good option. Meanwhile, those who want to lose weight will benefit the most from whey isolates.

But what is exactly the difference between these two protein products? Do you really have to choose between the two? In this post, we discussed the differences between the two and which one you should pick based on your goals.

Protein content 90%30% to 70%
Carbohydrate levelLowModerate to high
Lactose levelZero to lowModerate to high
Fat levelZero to lowModerate to high
Precious peptidesZero to lowHigh
Natural vitamins and mineralsLowModerate to high
PriceHigher due to premium productionLower than most whey powders

What is whey?

Whey is the substance that remains once milk is processed and curdled. In short, this is the by-product of cheese production or casein extraction. Milk actually contains 80% casein and 20% whey.

The whey left from the extraction of casein or creation of cheese is then used for other dairy products. Acid whey, for one, is an ingredient for cottage cheese and various types of yogurt.

But mostly, whey is used for the production of whey protein and whey isolates. These are protein powders that bodybuilders and those who want to lose weight incorporate in their daily regimen.

Whey protein vs whey isolate

Whey protein usually refers to the concentrate that’s mostly found in the market. This is often confused with another product which is the whey isolate. Although both of these came from the same source, the two have different benefits and nutritional profiles.

For those who don’t give much fuss about the difference, both the concentrate and the isolate can give the same results. It can help build muscles and manage weight.

The biggest determiner here is the amount of fat and carbs found on the formula. Whey isolates have far less fat and carbohydrate content since it underwent more processes than a concentrate.

Bodybuilders and fitness buffs opt for whey isolates as they find it to have a cleaner formula and is less intrusive to their diet.

If you’re not conscious about your calorie intake, the difference between concentrate and an isolate won’t matter a lot.

However, there’s an exception. If you want more protein per serving, whey isolates are the product to choose.

Since the fillers and other contents of whey are stripped off from isolates, each scoop would have more protein. Isolates have as much as 90% protein while concentrates only have 70%.

In this video, fitness expert Vince Del Monte discusses the difference between these two kinds of powders:

Similar benefits

Although the two have big differences, they have similar benefits to its users.

Depending on the protein intake requirement of the person, both isolates and concentrates will give muscle building benefits.

Regardless of the whey protein vs whey isolate, both of these types contain high-quality protein since it’s sourced from milk. And if the milk is harvested from grass-fed cows, the protein quality is much higher.

A study of the International Society of Sports Nutrition back in 2017 showed that any protein source can significantly increase upper body strength if taken as a pre and post-workout regimen.

True enough adding whey protein to your diet will bring in the following benefits:

>Stronger immune system. Thanks to the amino acids, your immune system can respond faster to avoid inflammation. It also boosts the production of glutathione, our body’s natural anti-oxidant.

>Faster absorption. Compared to other protein sources, whey is fast-absorbing which helps muscles get the fuel it needs right away.

>Balancing your blood sugar. The protein content of whey improves insulin sensitivity as well as suppresses the production of hunger hormones.

>Increased athletic performance. Whey protein powders also contain Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) that improves muscle performance and fatigue.

Individual benefits

If you want to build muscles, whey isolates will be a good choice. It’s packed with protein and it also has minimal lactose content due to the filtration it underwent.

However, concentrates are the way to go if you want to ingest more peptides that are beneficial for your overall wellness. As long as the peptides in concentrates are retained in its basic form, it will bring in benefits to the body.

When whey is processed into an isolate, some of the compounds’ potential decreases. Still, it remains to be a source of nutrition for muscle building.

Isolates are advantageous if you want a recovery regimen without the addition of fats and carbs. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t shy away from concentrates as it’s also a powerhouse amino acid source.

Whey Protein concentrate Pros and Cons

Both the isolate and the concentrate have its own upsides and downsides. Here are some points you need to know about whey concentrates:


✔️A complete protein (contains all amino acids)

✔️Increased muscle protein synthesis

✔️More peptides on its basic form

✔️A least expensive form of whey



❌Lower protein content than an isolate, usually around 30% to 80%

❌Intolerance issues due to higher lactose content

Who should use whey protein?

If you’re building muscles, whey concentrates are for you. It contains high protein levels and other nutrients that are usually stripped from isolates during filtration.

Concentrates also have higher carb content which is a perfect choice for individuals trying to get ripped. It gives additional energy source that most isolates don’t have.

However, due to higher lactose content, it might be the last option for some.

Whey Isolate Pros and Cons

Thinking of buying an isolate instead? Here are the advantages and disadvantages:


✔️Perfect for those planning to lose weight due to lower fat and carb content

✔️Higher protein content than concentrates (around 90%)

✔️Minimal lactose content that suits lactose-intolerant individuals

✔️Complete amino acid profile




❌Most of the beneficial peptides are stripped off



Who should use whey isolates?

Both weight loss buffs and bodybuilders will benefit from taking whey isolates. The protein content alone is a big selling point. However, the only issue is that it has very low carb content which can be a downer for bodybuilders.

But if you want premium protein without the frills, whey isolates are an unbeatable choice.

How whey protein concentrate is made

To know more about the difference of whey concentrate and isolate, here’s how the former is made:

Once the milk is curdled, the whey protein that remains is then processed to dry. With this, the variation of the protein content varies widely from 30% to 80%. Some can be as low as 20%.

Manufacturers produce whey protein under a mild pH. It also undergoes the ultrafiltration where the lactose, salts, and other components of the whey is put under pressure to separate from the protein content.

The UF process won’t remove all the lactose but it will reduce it drastically. Still, the amount left on whey concentrates is still enough to trigger allergic reactions.

In the end, whey concentrates remain high in carbs, fat, minerals, and vitamins. It might be a disadvantage for some, but it’s a good thing if you want to gain mass.

How whey isolate is made

When it comes to whey isolates, the filtration processes go further. With this, most of the fat, carbohydrate, and lactose content are separated from the powder.

Here are the processes that whey isolates are put through:

>Microfiltration. This first step aims to remove particles of casein and curd left after curdling.

>Ultrafiltration. This process removes all non-protein components of whey. It also strips low molecular weight particles.

>Nanofiltration. At this point, the remaining traces of salts and lactose are removed from the powder. This is like fine-tuning whey even more.

>Powdering process. Once all the impurities and non-protein components are removed, the whey will be powdered. The excess water will be removed to leave only pure protein.

>Sifting. Once the whey isolate is already in powder form, it will be sieved for any lumps and bumps. This is to ensure that the isolate will mix well on smoothies and other fluids.

Once all these processes are done, the isolate will be bagged and sold. Manufacturers have to ensure that all whey isolate products contain at least 90% protein as compared to the overall weight of the powder.

Which should you choose?

It all boils down to your needs. But to give you an idea, here’s what we suggest:

>For bodybuilders and mass gainers. It’s ideal to opt for concentrates since it contains higher levels of carbs that will complement as an energy source to the protein.

>For those trying to lose weight. Due to the lower fat and carb content, whey isolates are better for you. However, you should watch out over the protein content since it could be too much for your needs.

>For people with intolerances. We recommend whey isolates if you have intolerances to lactose or soy. Still, some manufacturers use soy lecithin which may defeat this suggestion. It pays to read the label first before purchasing.

Whey protein vs whey isolate: how to pick the right choice

Whey concentrates and isolates aren’t made equal. We recommend that you consider your budget and how much protein you actually need.

If you have a calorie restrictive diet and tolerance to lactose, your best bet is whey isolate. Take note that ingesting lactose if you have an intolerance can lead to bloating, gas, and even diarrhea.

Also, if you want to raise your insulin levels, whey isolates are a perfect choice. Isolates are also a good post-workout regimen since it’s fast-absorbing and packed with muscle-healing protein.

Our Suggested Whey Powder Isolate
whey protein vs whey isolate

Product Name: Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder

Product Description: If you’re looking for the best whey isolate, don’t miss the Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder. This is made of 100% pure whey and very keto-friendly. Those who are into keto diet will love this whey isolate since it has zero carbs and very low-calorie content. Each 31-gram scoop only has 100 calories which are very easy to integrate on a keto diet plan. We also love the fact that each tub contains 44 servings for a very affordable price. It’s also blended with vitamins and minerals for overall wellness. Most of all, it contains important electrolytes like potassium, magnesium, and sodium. This will help prevent the occurrence of keto flu the moment you make the big cut back on carbs.

Price: $$$

Availability: InStock


  • Formula Quality
  • Palatability
  • Protein Quality
  • Mixability


This formula will support your ketogenic macros without pulling you out of the keto state. Another bonus here is the fact that this Isopure formula is gluten and lactose-free.

Almost anyone will benefit from taking this whey isolate. If you’re getting ripped, this Isopure whey isolate contains 25 grams of protein for each serving.

Also, this protein source can be mixed on food and available on various flavors like Vanilla, Alpine Punch, Mango Peach, Toasted Coconut, and more. We just wish that it’s also available in an unflavored version. Nevertheless, it’s just a small gripe.

For weight loss buffs, the low-calorie profile of this whey isolate is a perfect match to their diet. It also has glutamine that helps in muscle recovery.


-Zero carbs, lactose, and gluten

-Very keto-friendly

-Packed with electrolytes ideal for the keto diet

-Low in calories

-Mineral blend for better nutrition


-Uses soy lecithin which can trigger allergies to some people


Both whey concentrates and whey isolates have benefits to offer. Still, you should choose one that suits your diet and needs.

Whey concentrates might be high in carb, but it’s a perfect choice for bodybuilders as it provides protein and energy in every scoop. Meanwhile, whey isolates are ideal for calorie-conscious people who are trying to lose weight.

The whey protein vs whey isolate argument all boils down to gauging your protein needs, identifying your intolerances, and considering your budget.

Concentrates make smoother shakes, but isolates offer better flavors. Both have their upsides and downsides. Still, since both products are sourced from whey, you can count on high-quality protein in every serving.

In the end, what matters most is that you check the label and read the ingredients. This will save you from the hassle.

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