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Before you rush to buy a protein powder to help you add lean muscle mass, recover after workouts, and even boost your overall health, it is vital to understand the differences in whey isolate vs. whey protein, commonly known as whey protein concentrate. Although they are similar, they are also very much different – and that difference could have an effect on your physique.
Whey protein concentrate is a very popular supplement for many reasons. It’s relatively inexpensive when compared to other options for putting on lean muscle, it’s easy to use, and it’s virtually tasteless, which means you can add it to just about any shake or smoothie you choose, or buy a flavour of choice. Whey protein concentrate is the powdered version of traditional whey, which is the byproduct of the cheese making process. Once the cheese maker has separated the curds, which is the base for most cheeses, the whey is the liquid that is left over. Whey protein manufacturers simply dehydrate the solution in order to provide a dry powder that is chock-full of nutrients, proteins, and essential amino acids.
When comparing whey isolate protein powder vs. whey protein concentrate, remember that whey isolate goes through additional processing. Manufacturers will take the whey protein concentrate and denature it, which is a fancy term for unraveling the molecular structure of the proteins and removing things like fat, carbohydrates, and sugars called lactose. Because the molecular structure of whey isolate is simplified, it is far easier for the body to digest and use. This makes it a powerful supplement for post-workout recovery. The proteins and amino acids are all still there; they’ve simply been altered in such a way that the body can readily use them.
Deciding which is better in the whey isolate vs. whey protein debate all comes down to the individual’s reasons for using the supplements. Whey protein concentrate provides many health benefits. For example, some studies suggest that the concentrate may provide enhanced immune-boosting power. Concentrate also contains CLA, or conjugated linoleic acid, which is a naturally occurring fatty acid. Whey protein isolate, on the other hand, is also beneficial – particularly for athletes and bodybuilders who do not want to add to their caloric intake. Isolate provides the perfect medium for consuming extra protein without extra fat and calories.
Strangely enough, whey protein isolate is the type of protein recommended for both bodybuilders and people who want to lose weight. Bodybuilders simply consume the powder along with their normal meals to provide extra protein that their bodies can use to create lean muscle mass. Because the isolate digests quickly, it goes to work to promote recovery within a few minutes after consumption. People who want to lose weight can also use whey protein isolate as a meal replacement once or twice per day. This way, they can cut calories and build lean muscle, which provides a significant metabolic boost and helps burn more fat.
The whey isolate vs. whey protein concentrate debate is often a heated one, but the truth is that either product can be beneficial. Whey protein isolate is the product of choice for most people, however, because it is a purer form of protein that contains less fat and calories.