How to Build Muscle Fast: Whey Protein Isolate vs. Whey Protein Concentrate Which Is Best to Build Muscle Fast

Whey Protein Isolate vs. Whey Protein Concentrate Which Is Best to Build Muscle Fast

Today I wanted to clear up a question I commonly get about protein powder. What is the difference between whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate.

Having a whey protein shake following a workout is something that cannot be duplicated with whole food (however skim milk does come close). Whey protein gets into your system fast because there is no need for digestion.

Amino acids get shuttled to your “hungry” muscles faster with a protein shake than with whole food protein such as chicken, fish or lean red meats. The best type of protein powder for this situation is whey protein. Protein powder also comes in different grades: concentrates, isolates, and hydrolysates. Each of these protein types and grades has unique properties and tastes.

What is Whey?

Milk protein is 20% whey. Whey is by far the most popular protein choice, perhaps because Whey protein contains large amounts of branched-chain amino acids as well as the full spectrum of amino acids (which is all the muscle building blocks you need to build muscle). Compared to the other proteins on the market, whey is one of the fastest digesting proteins (hydrolyzed = fastest,  isolate = faster, concentrate = fast).

Whey Protein Concentrate vs. Whey Protein Isolate

Many of you may really be confused about all the different types of proteins. Can you tell me what is the difference between whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate? Is one better than the other to build muscle fast??

With that being said, it’s true that whey is definitely a great source of protein. Whey has an extremely high biological value (BV). A high BV means that the amino acid ratio is excellent for building muscle and that a large proportion of the protein ingested is absorbed and utilized by the body. Whey is a dairy protein that is a by-product of the cheese making process. In its original form whey contains significant amounts of fat and lactose. Lactose is milk sugar. Because of this fact much of these components are filtered and processed to remove most of the lactose and fat. If you look on the back of your whey protein supplement you will see the terms microfiltration or "ion exchange," those are simply methods of separating the fat and lactose from the protein. The end result is a more concentrated protein either concentrate, isolate or hydrolysates.

Protein concentrates. Protein concentrates are created by pushing the protein source (milk, whey, etc.) through a very small filter that allows water, minerals, and other organic materials to pass though. The proteins, which are too big to pass through the filter, are collected, resulting in protein powder. When this process is used to make whey protein concentrate, it yields a protein powder that is 70-85% protein and up to 5% lactose. People with lactose intolerance will have trouble consuming large amounts of whey protein concentrate.

Protein isolates. This is the next step up in purification; the protein is purified again using more filtration or a technique called ion-exchange or cross-flow microfiltration. Protein isolates have very low levels of carbohydrates and fat and are almost exclusively pure protein. People with lactose intolerance usually don’t have trouble with whey protein isolates. Many companies that make whey protein isolates certify that their product is lactose free or they will even add lactase which is an enzyme that breaks down lactose to the protein powder to help with digestion. 

And all Hydrolyzed whey (Hydro Whey) is the larger proteins found in Isolates is further broken down into smaller pieces to allow it to get in your system more rapidly with the belief it will help enable your muscles to start rebuilding quicker. That's because it's made entirely with hydrolyzed whey protein isolates. 
The primary difference between isolate and concentrate is that the isolate is the most purest form of protein. Whey isolate usually contains between 90-94% protein while whey concentrate has a protein ratio of around 70-85%. 

If you are lactose intolerant and you have problems with gas then the whey protein isolate is the better choice. But what I want you to understand is that just because isolate is more "pure" doesn’t necessarily mean that whey isolate is better or will produce more and greater muscle growth. Whey protein concentrate is still an excellent source of protein and concentrate has higher BV values compared to lean red meats, chicken, fish and whole eggs. Besides, whey protein isolate does have its disadvantages one of which it's more expensive than concentrate usually twice as much!!. It is also debately that because Isolate has been filtered more than concentrate some of the valuable immune-boosting protein properties have been removed and some say the protein is degraded more making it less useful to the body.

In the long run, I don’t think it makes much difference whether you use concentrate or isolate. Nutrition companies will surely fight back and forth over whose protein powder is the best, but choosing your protein isn’t something you should lose sleep over.

Protein nutrition is very simple. To keep your body in an anabolic state to grow and build muscle the important thing is to consume between 25-50 grams of protein (depending on your needs) every three hours. Ive used whey for a while now but I still get 80% of my protein from whole food sources such as eggs, egg whites, chicken, lean red meat, nuts, and tuna. You should look at both isolate or concentrate for what it really is a supplement and it should never replace whole foods!! You should be worrying more about your whole food choices rather than what whey protein to go with!!!

See Best Whole Food Protein Sources to Build Muscle Fast