Do You Need Whey Isolate or Concentrate?
Whey protein is the most popular fitness supplement on the market with everyone from professional athletes to everyday trainees consuming it for it’s training benefits. But what is the difference between concentrate and isolate, and which is best for you?
First of all, what is whey protein?
Whey protein is created from the liquid that remains when dairy is processed to produce yoghurt, milk and cheese. This high-protein byproduct is filtered to remove any unwanted carbohydrates and fats and then turned into powders, bars and drinks.
Whey protein is particularly good for muscle building and recovery because it is fast-digesting and has a very high protein content containing all the amino acids your body needs.
What happens when you take whey protein?
When you take 30g of whey protein (standard scoop) around 24g of that is actual bioavailable protein. Anything above 20g of protein contains ~3g leucine which is the amino acid that triggers Muscle Protein Synthesis. After sport or exercise we want to repair our muscles and soft tissues and MPS is an essential part of that process.
So what is the difference between whey concentrate and isolate?
Concentrate is the standard form that whey protein comes in. It’s filtered to remove fats and sugars (lactose) and dried to form powders we consume. It has around an 70-80% protein content and is easily absorbed by the body for muscle building and recovery. It mixes well in water and milk and tastes great.
Isolate goes through the same process but is subjected to more rigorous filtration, stripping away most of the remaining fats and sugars making it even purer and increasing protein content to 80-90%. It is faster digesting and is a great option for those with any lactose issues (although may still not be suitable for all). However, because of the extra processing it’s usually more expensive and doesn’t mix quite as well as concentrate due to its finer nature (it can sometimes be a little ‘powdery’ or dry). These days most taste great and still mix well.
Which is best for you?
If you are looking for a great whey protein supplement to add to your diet then you can’t go wrong with a whey concentrate. It’s high quality, affordable and convenient as well as tasting great.
If you want an even higher grade protein and are prepared to pay a little more, then whey isolate is your better choice. For those who want to kickstart their recovery immediately after training then this is your fastest acting tool for the job.