Whey is the protein powder of choice for most bodybuilders, athletes and all kinds of exercise enthusiasts.
It is even used by some in their weight loss programs.
So before we go into the difference between the two forms of whey..
- whey protein isolate
- and whey protein concentrate
Lets first take a general overview of whey protein.
Where does whey protein come from? Whey protein is found in cows milk along with another kind of protein called casein.
Casein is also extracted from milk to make casein protein powder but it is less popular as a supplement because it has a lesser biological value (BV).
BV is a rating system for how effective a protein food source is at building muscle.
The higher the score the better, and whey protein tops the chart.
The is no other single protein source that is more effective at building muscle, not even eggs!
This is the fundamental reason that whey protein powder is a best seller.
When the BV chart was first brought into play eggs where the ‘gold standard’ and given a score of 100 because no other known food source at that point had a higher BV than eggs.
Since then whey has been extracted from milk and has taken the lead and this is where we can understand the difference between whey protein isolate and concentrate.
Whey protein concentrate scores a little above eggs at 104 on the BV chart, whereas whey protein isolate leaps even higher at 159.
The main difference between them is the purity of the product.
Whey protein concentrate delivers about 70-85% pure whey protein along with some milk fat and milk sugar (called lactose).
Whey protein isolate on the other hand is about 95-98% pure.
Some of the more expensive whey protein isolates are even 100% pure and contain zero fat or lactose.
There is some debate at present about whether the extra cost of whey protein isolates are worth it in comparison to the cheaper whey protein concentrate products.
Research at the moment is not yet clear if the gains of a protein source above 100 BV starts to deliver a diminishing return, so the jury is still out.
Either way, one thing is for sure, which ever one you choose is going to help you build muscle faster than any other single protein source.
One particular advantage of whey protein isolate is that it contains less lactose which some people are allergic to or have a tough time digesting.
Some whey protein isolate powders are even 100% lactose free.
There is also a surprising benefit to whey protein and that is its ability to raise L glutathione levels in the body.
L glutathione is the master antioxidant in the body and is found in every cell (or it should be, provided we are not running low) where it disarms free radicals and ejects toxins from cells like harmful heavy metals such as lead, arsenic and mercury.
So those are the differences!