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Whey Protein Isolate vs. Concentrate: What's the Difference?

By Derek Witcher January 15, 2020 0 comments

  • Isolate and concentrate are both forms of whey protein, which mean they can help you build muscle and cut fat.
  • Isolate protein contains more protein and less calories, whereas concentrated protein contains less protein and more calories.
  • Isolate is a great option for lean muscle building, toning and weight loss, while concentrate may be preferred in bulking.

You already know that you need lean protein to fuel your workout. The power-packed energizer helps the body repair and build lean muscle tissue, which is vital for bulking, cutting and toning. One of the easiest ways to consume the ideal amount of protein throughout the day is by drinking a protein powder shake before and after you pump iron. But with so many brands and options on the market, how do you know what kind of protein you need?

Today, we’re covering the hotly debated subject of whey protein isolate vs. concentrate to help you decide which option is best the best whey to go for you and your style of exercise. Both of these products are considered some of the best supplements for muscle growth and toning.

What’s the Difference?

First thing’s first: let’s clear something up. Whey protein concentrate and isolate are both forms of whey protein, the high-quality protein that’s a byproduct in cheese and yogurt production. So both isolate and concentrate proteins start off as the exact same thing—regular whey protein. The thing that differentiates isolate from concentrate is the way it’s processed after that. Different production techniques result in different nutritional values, which we’ll discuss in detail below.

Whey Protein Isolate: Best Protein for Cutting, Clean Bulking

Whey protein isolate is refined to 90 percent protein and is the more processed version of the two whey proteins, resulting in lower calories per protein and lower lactose content. It’s absorbed by the body faster than concentrate.

Isomorph 28 Pure Whey Isolate
  • Good for Cutting—If you’ve ever tried to limit your caloric intake, you know that protein supplements can be hard to fit into your diet. However, isolate protein is a good option because it provides more protein for fewer calories, helping you cut and tone effectively. Because of this, it’s also regularly recommended for clean bulking.
  • Good for People with Lactose Sensitivity—In a 100-calorie serving of whey isolate, there is less than 1 gram of lactose, compared to about 3.5 grams of lactose in a 100-calorie serving of whey protein concentrate. This makes it better for lactose intolerant or sensitive people and can help digestion before and after your workout.
  • Good for Post-WorkoutThis kind of protein is suitable for both pre- and post-workout supplementation, but it’s ideal for consuming after you work out because it’s absorbed by the body fast, which can help it kick into a state of recovery faster. The extra protein will also help keep you full so you don’t feel like eating after expending a lot of energy.

Concentrate: Best Protein for Cheap Bulking

Concentrate generally contains about 70 to 80 percent protein and is the less processed version of the two whey proteins, resulting in a higher amount of lactose, calories and protein. It’s absorbed by the body slower than concentrate.

100% Whey Protean
  • Good for Bulking—Though not as “pure,” concentrated protein can still help you reach some of your fitness goals , especially when it comes to clean bulking. They provide you with a higher dose of protein and calories without any crazy amounts of fat, sugar or carbs, so you can bulk up cleaner than you could with food alone.
  • More Affordable—One of the benefits of the concentrated form of whey protein is that it tends to be more affordable. That’s because it’s less processed and contains less protein. You may get more protein bang for your buck with isolate, though concentrate definitely is a money-saver up-front.
  • Great Meal Replacement—Since whey protein concentrate powders contain more calories and protein, they tend to be more nutritionally dense and diverse. If your goal is to replace full meals with protein shakes, then choose a product in concentrated form. With that being said, isolate products tend to be a bit tastier than concentrated ones.

Choose High-Quality Protein

One thing to remember is that both isolate and concentrate are considered high-quality whey protein options, especially when you buy from a reputable brand like Hi-Tech Supplements. Choose from top brands available in our store and you’ll be one step closer to reaching your fitness goals, no matter if it’s about gaining, cutting or a toning.


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