Whey Isolate V Standard Whey



I searched the forums and couldn't find a post that addressed the topic of whey protein vs standard whey. I found a discussion dissecting the nutritional composition of every conceivable high end whey protein, but nothing that particularly addressed the question of....


Is Whey isolate 'better' than standard whey ? Manufacturing processes and ingredients aside is it a given that whey isolate is the superior form to take ? It seems that there is more useable protein in whey isolate per gram so if one were being particularly brutal monitoring calories ingested there is more protein bang for buck in an isolate.


I assume the quality of protein is also higher ?



  • I think that the consensus is whey concentrate is the preferred form of whey but some people can't digest it and use isolate.

  • Danno RedDanno Red Practical Man
    edited March 2014

    The difference is simply in purity and to attain that purity the manufacturing is a bit more rigorous--34% or higher is a concentrate and typically in nutritional products 80% is the protein concentration in these while isolates are 90% or higher. However, to call a concentrate less pure seems a bit disingenuous since it's essentially calling milk impure, rather whey is impure. Neither are impure unless they have something in them that doesn't belong and that might just come down to why you're consuming it. If what you want is protein, isolate is the way to go, plain and simple. The rigor of the processing (whether ion-exchange or cross-flow, ultra-filtration) is essentially irrelevant because neither impart significant denaturation to the native state of the whey proteins. Ion-exchange contributes a slightly higher mineral content (salt) due to the pH changes that occur during isolation and membrane filtered products see a slight increase in denaturation due to the high-pressures across the membrane--there's essentially some high-shear mixing going on as the proteins are stuffed through the pores of the membrane.


    Back to purity...what's left in milk after you make cheese is called whey...it's been stripped of almost all the casein and fat and what's left is the water-soluble minerals, sugar (lactose) and whey proteins. This process is the source of almost all whey proteins in the marketplace. If you dry this down you get dry sweet dairy whey which is about 70% sugar 5% fat & 12% protein give or take plus some minerals and about 5% trapped moisture. To concentrate or isolate the protein what you're getting rid of is the sugar, fat, minerals and in the case of ion-exchange the non-protein nitrogen--which is nitrogen that inflates a protein's score as tested by an analytical lab that provides nutrition facts to a company that is obligated to label for nutrients. So, if you're after the protein and want to minimize all the other dairy matter that you get an isolate is the way to go because it'll provide you the amino acids (BCAA's, essential) that you're probably hoping to consume.


    Keep in mind a baby calf needs a lot of things in nature to assure that it grows up big and strong...and not all of those things are protein. They need sugar, fats, minerals, and bioactive proteins (other than whey) among them. Things like bovine-serum albumin, lactoferrin, glyco-macropeptide and others provide some health benefits when taken in sufficient quantities but are missing in some isolates in order to reach their desired purity. If you look at bulletproof, it includes collostrum which is the first milk a mammal gives after birth and it contains a lot of bioactive components meant to nutritionally baptize a calf and science has shown that humans, despite being a branch or two away from ruminants on the species tree, benefit from consuming this bovine version. Not surprising when you consider how well we do on their whey as well. 


    For those that are protein or sugar sensitive may want to consider the make-up of cow's milk versus human's. First, there is no beta-lactaglobulin in human's milk. It's almost exclusively alphalactalbumin (whey) and casein. Cow's milk is 25% alpha tops, while it contains 50%+ beta...this difference is part of why I believe modern infant formulas upset so many human babies...there's no evolution in humans to say that babies should be eating cow protein. Soy is even worse. Ion-exchange can produce a protein so pure in such a selective way that a pure alpha-lactalbumin protein is possible...one is commercially available called BioZzz. (I work for this company which also makes a WPI for disclosure's sake). Another aspect of sensitivity is the lactose...many adults lose the ability to process lactose and consumption of this disaccharide creates bowel distress...so for these folks, an isolate would be the ideal. If however, you're after a more broad-spectrum nutrition then a concentrate would be your best bet. I personally like the sound of the upgraded one despite the fact that my company has nothing to do with it. And, despite my vested interest in the sales of whey supplements, I still think our best bet is to get our food from whole foods raised the way nature intended, not German scientists that spawned NPK farming and brought upon us the corn- & soy-fed livestock. I also blame govt subsidies for the growth of fuel crops...what a tangled web they've weaved and only thanks to the internet are we finally getting to unwind the "progress" modern ag has come to.

  • Thanks for the input. I hadn't really considered that they were different, only that one might be clearly superior. I've just bought some whey isolate as I'm taking my training up a notch and considered it would be better. I hadn't considered that concentrate might cover a few more bases nutritionally than isolate. I think my diet is quite good in that it is mostly paleo....not really bulletproof, so hopefully I won't lose out nutritionally from switching from concentrate to isolate


    thanks again

Sign In or Register to comment.