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There are three different kinds of whey protein powders that you can buy today. They are whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, and whey protein hydrolysate, which is another form of isolate.
What is whey protein isolate, and why do athletes and bodybuilders seem to prefer it to the other forms of whey protein?
Milk is a solution of protein and sugar (lactose) that has been dissolved in water and then emulsified into a mixture. When you separate the solid parts of milk from the liquid parts, you end up with curds and whey. Curds are a very basic type of cheese; in fact, this is the very basis of the dozens of varieties of cheese on the market. Whey, on the other hand, is typically considered a byproduct of the cheese making process. It contains a vast amount of protein along with carbohydrates, fats, and lactose.
Removing the liquid from whey leaves only the protein, lactose, fat, and carbohydrates in a powdered form. Left as is, this product is known as whey protein concentrate. At this point, the manufacturer will denature the proteins, which not only removes the vast majority of the carbohydrates, fats, and lactose, but also causes their molecular structures to unwind and simplify. The amino acids, however, are left completely intact. The resulting product is called whey protein isolate. Finally, when protein hydrolysate is broken down completely into amino acids, but has a very bitter taste and is considerably more expensive.
Whey protein isolate is by far the most popular type of protein powder among athletes, bodybuilders, and individuals who want to get in shape and lose weight. The isolate version of whey protein is virtually tasteless, but contains whole proteins, essential amino acids, and BCAAs that are very easy for the body to digest and utilize. What’s more, isolate contains only a fraction of the fat and calories as concentrate, and it is suitable for people who are lactose intolerant. In fact, many people who cannot tolerate lactose use it as a replacement for milk.
Whey protein isolate offers up all of the proteins and building blocks necessary to build lean muscle mass and create definition, but because it contains very little fat and few calories, it will not lead to the production and storage of adipose tissue. Many athletes and bodybuilders consume whey protein powder along with their regular diets to help build muscle. Others may use it as a meal replacement once per day in order to cut calories and burn fat while maintaining their lean muscle mass. It is also possible to lose weight by using whey protein isolate as a meal replacement shake twice per day – though it’s best to use it as a supplement.
What is whey protein isolate? Simply put, it is one of the most popular performance enhancement supplements on the market today. It facilitates a healthy body, assists in the growth of lean muscle tissue, preserves muscle mass during weight loss phases, and even assists in post-workout recovery, allowing athletes to reduce their fatigue and soreness.