What is the Difference Between Whey Protein Isolate and Whey Protein Concentrate?

Whey Protein Isolate vs Whey Protein Concentrate

What is the difference between whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate? Am I putting the right supplement into my body? Kudos to you for wondering exactly what you are putting into your body. Investing in yourself is what we preach at Kingsfield Fitness; and we're glad you are investing in yourself by learning about this topic. 

I'm sure you've probably asked this question a few times and never got a straight answer.  Read this article by Kingsfield Fitness to obtain a full understanding between these two protein powders. 

Whey protein isolate - Kingsfield Fitness

 

By Reading This Article you Will Get the Following:

  • What is whey protein?
  • What is the difference between whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate? 
  • The best practices to implement protein supplementation as part of your fitness routine

Whey protein vs natural sources of protein

Supplement what you can't get naturally. At Kingsfield Fitness, we believe that a natural diet is attainable and can be sufficient for some people. We also understand that it is challenging for everyone to accomplish a perfect diet. Tight schedules, family trips, etc. can all present a challenge. If you can't obtain optimal nutrition naturally, you should look into supplementation as a secondary option. 

Protein powders, drinks and bars are some of the most popular dietary supplements. One of the most common types of protein found in these products is whey, which comes from dairy. There are different types of whey protein, including whey isolate and whey concentrate.

If you’ve ever had a protein shake, it was probably made with whey protein, the most popular form of protein powder out there. A favorite of body builders, fitness enthusiasts, and many people just looking to maintain healthy protein intake, whey is in high demand, with global sales expected to reach $14 billion by 2020. Whey protein can be an easy and delicious way to help you reach your health and fitness goals.

1. What is Whey Protein?

As we wrote about previously, protein is essential for optimal muscle recovery.

Whey protein has become the go-to for many for several reasons, but the biggest ones are its affordability, how quickly your body absorbs it, the fact that it’s a complete protein, as well as its taste. Since it comes in a variety of flavors, whey protein can be mixed into various smoothie and shake recipes, whether you’re craving a sweet, post-workout treat, or want to throw it into a blender with some other ingredients to make it more filling.

Much of the protein that is currently found in protein bars, drinks and powders is derived from milk. When milk is processed to form cheese or yogurt, the remaining liquid is called whey.

There are several different types of whey protein used in supplements. Two of the most common forms are whey isolate and whey concentrate.These forms are produced using different processing techniques and vary slightly in their nutritional content. Learn more about the difference below.

2. What's the Difference Between Whey Isolate and Whey Concentrate Protein?

There are several nutritional differences between whey isolate and concentrate. These differences are caused by the processing methods.

Whey Protein vs Traditional Protein 

The biggest difference between whey protein isolate and concentrate is the level of refinement and filtration. Isolates are processed for longer so they have a higher (approximately 90%) concentration of protein, with less carbs, lactose, and fat. Because of this, whey protein isolate has more protein per serving than concentrate, and is a generally considered healthier than whey protein concentrate, which is dried immediately after being collected and has a lower protein concentration (approximately 80%).

Since the whey protein isolate is lower in lactose, it can also be an ideal option for people who are sensitive to lactose. That said, the safest option for anyone with lactose-sensitivity is to avoid whey altogether (since it is still dairy-based) and choose a plant-based protein instead.

While isolates can be slightly more expensive than concentrates, you’re often getting more out of them, since the amount of protein per serving is higher.

Check out this video for a brief analysis between the two protein options. 

 

Another solid video on the difference between the two protein powders. 

 

3. The best practices to implement protein supplementation as part of your fitness routine.

Protein is necessary for muscle repair and growth. For this reason, many people consume protein supplements in the form of shakes along with their workouts. However, the optimal time to have a protein shake is a hotly debated topic. Some believe it’s best to drink a protein shake before a workout, whereas others argue that after a workout is ideal.

1. Meal Replacement

When you’re rushing out the door late for work in the morning, the last thing you have time for is to make a quick breakfast to kickstart your day. That’s one scenario where protein shakes can come in handy. In general, we recommend adding in a source of vegetables, a serving or two of fruit and some healthy fats alongside a scoop or two of protein powder. These protein shakes can be used in place of a meal or in addition to a regular meal when trying to gain weight. Here’s our recommend recipe for both men and women:

Men
2 scoops of protein powder
1-2 cups of vegetables for fiber (like spinach, which doesn’t affect the taste)
2 handfuls of fruit for healthy sugars (fresh or frozen)
2 tablespoons of healthy fat (a nut butter or seed for example)
Liquid (almond milk, regular milk, water — your choice)

Women
1 scoop of protein powder
1 cup of vegetables
Handful of fruit
1 tablespoon of healthy fat
Liquid (almond milk, regular milk, water — your choice)

These recipes bring up another topic of concern — gender differences. Workout supplements are often viewed as a male-dominated industry, but protein powders are also effective for women. It is true however, that women have different nutritional needs than men. In general, they need less protein per pound of bodyweight (primarily due to differences in body composition). For that reason, we are initially recommending for females to use one scoop instead of two. It’s not that women need exactly half as much as men…Ultimately, it’s just giving you a framework to start something. You can adjust it from there based on your needs.  

2. Post-Workout

With the advent of the post-workout window — a thin slice of time to intake nutrients after a workout for the biggest benefit — protein shakes and shaker bottles became a necessity for a gym trip. If you didn’t slug a shake before you walked out the door, the notion went, you were compromising recovery time and crippling the benefits you could reap from your workout.

Protein supplementation post-workout has been shown to be beneficial, particularly in helping individuals recover after a tough session and potentially increase muscle and strength gain. However, the post-exercise window may have been a bit overblown. Post-workout nutrition is important but not as much as you may have previously thought. Basically, it’s not a bad thing to have a shake right after you work out, but you don’t have to. Don’t drive yourself crazy thinking that you’ve wasted a workout because you didn’t have a shake right after working out. 

Protein can be a beneficial way to supplement what you can't get naturally. Now that you know the differences, you can make the right decision on which one to buy.   

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