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Whey Concentrate vs Whey Isolate vs Hydrolyzed Whey

Whey Concentrate vs Whey Isolate vs Hydrolyzed Whey
Casey Walker
Writer and expert7 years ago
View Casey Walker's profile

You may just be starting out lifting weights or have been lifting weights for a while now, and you know that you need to up the protein in your diet to repair damaged muscle tissue and make muscle gains. The typical thing many people do is resort to a protein powder in order to obtain higher levels of protein in their daily diet.

However, what many people do not know is that whey protein comes in many forms and each one provides different benefits when compared to another. So although you may only know protein as whey protein, how do you determine if you should be taking a whey concentrate, whey isolate or hydrolyzed protein shake?

Although the choice is yours depending on your personal goals, it’s important to know the difference between the 3 popular whey supplements.

Whey Concentrate vs Whey Isolate vs Hydrolyzed Whey


Which Protein Powder Should You Use?

Whey Concentrate

This form of powder typically has a low level of fat and cholesterol content when compared to regular whey protein. It's also higher in carbohydrates which come in the form of lactose - a sugar compound derived from glucose, most commonly found in milk. Whey concentrate is also seen as the cheapest and most common form of protein powder on the market today.

Simply being a by-product of cheese/milk curds, it is used by many bodybuilders and athletes to increase protein consumption to allow for greater muscle tissue within the body. The protein levels in whey concentrate can also vary greatly with companies offering powders or supplements containing anywhere between 40-90% protein content per serving, depending on the source. Concentrate will also have a higher level of lactose within the compound, which will result in an increase in both sugar and carbohydrate levels in the protein.

Whey Isolate

This is usually processed and refined in a process that will remove the fat and the lactose from the compound, making isolate one of the leanest protein powders by trade and comprising of over 90% protein content per serving. However, since most of the fat and lactose is removed from the powder, it results in the removal of compounds that are filled with nutrients that can have an impact on cell life within our body. These are known as bioactive compounds, and it’s important to note that although they have their benefits to the body, they are not essential nutrients so the body can function fine without these compounds.

Such examples of bioactive compounds would be caffeine, creatine, taurine and many others. An advantage that whey isolate offers to many over the standard whey concentrate is that isolate can sometimes be lactose-free, which makes it a suitable product for many people who have an allergy to dairy or are vegan or vegetarian.

Hydrolyzed Whey

This is simply a whey protein that has gone through the process of hydrolysis. Hydrolysis is comprised of two terms: Hydro- meaning water, and –lysis which means to remove or unbind. Whey protein that undergoes the hydrolysis process simply is whey protein that has had the addition of water into the substance to allow for the protein to be broken down for the sole purpose to be metabolized much easier.

However, although this protein is superior to concentrate, it typically costs a lot more. It’s also important to note that hydrolyzed whey is also typically less allergenic when compared to other forms of whey protein. The advantage that hydrolyzed whey offers over conventional whey is that it allows for amino acids that are consumed from the protein within the body to be absorbed in a much higher rate when compared to standard and complete proteins. This results in a greater nutrient content being delivered to muscles for the purpose of replenishing spent nutrients to help with growth.

Whey Concentrate vs Whey Isolate vs Hydrolyzed Whey

What is a Tri-Blend?

A tri-blend is a mix of whey concentrate, whey isolate and hydrolyzed whey, meaning you get the benefits of all these 3 whey protein types in one protein powder.

THE Whey is a premium whey protein tri-blend, developed to help aid muscle growth and development. If you want to make the most of all the benefits of whey protein then make Thewhey, your everyday protein powder. Consume post-workout for optimal results.

Take Home Message

If your purpose is simply to build muscle tissue, typically whey concentrate is the go-to protein supplement for 90% of people. You can never go wrong with whey concentrate. However, if you are like me and prefer to remain lean all year round, while still being able to build lean muscle tissue at a reasonable rate, whey isolate will be better suited to your goals.

If you do not wish to take either of those or simply might have a possible allergy to some of the ingredients found in concentrate or isolate, hydrolyzed whey is going to be best. If you are allergic to dairy or lactose I recommend avoiding all three of these and finding a lactose free powder instead, such as Brown Rice Protein for example. Regardless of what protein you take, they all offer great benefits with regards to protein consumption and muscle growth within the body when accompanied by proper training and diet.

Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you're concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.

Casey Walker
Writer and expert
View Casey Walker's profile
Casey Walker is an experienced sports nutrition new product development technologist. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Sports and Exercise Science and a Master of Science in Sports Sciences and Physiology. Casey’s scientific research area of expertise lies in the effects of dietary nitrates on sprint performance and exercise-induced muscle damage. He has also worked as a sports scientist for a medal-winning Paralympic track cyclist, with a goal of qualifying for the Rio 2016 Paralympics. Find out more about Casey’s experience here: In his spare time, Casey is a keen middle-distance runner with an interest in triathlon. He’s always looking out for the latest blends and supplements to improve his half-marathon time and recovery.