The difference between whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate is simple: Whey isolate is more pure. In fact, it’s the purest form of protein available. It contains a significantly higher percentage of protein by weight when compared to whey concentrate. Essentially, whey isolates are just concentrates put through a second purification process to filter out the lactose, carbs, and fat that are still present in the powder.
While whey concentrates will aid in building lean muscle, if you want the most potent, pure, effective, and fast-acting form of protein, whey isolates are the way to go. Expect to pay a bit more for whey isolates, as they are more expensive to produce.
If you’re looking for the very best in whey isolates, my recommendations based on purity, effectiveness, taste, and price are:
Integrated Supplements 100% Whey Protein Isolate
Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydrowhey
All three of these powders are 100% whey isolate with no concentrate.
It’s important to remember that most protein powders are a blend of whey protein isolate and concentrate. Cutting the isolate with concentrate allows supplement companies to bring their costs down, and thus charge consumers less while still delivering an effective protein powder.
If you choose to buy a blend, be sure to check the percentages of whey isolate and concentrate. If the powder contains more concentrate, then you will also see more fat, carbs and calories in the nutrition facts. Try to find one that has a majority percentage of whey isolate like Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard 100% Whey.