Concentrates vs Isolates; what's the difference?

Whey protein comes in many forms and from difference sources.  Whether it is concentrates vs isolates or proprietary blends, do you know what is the difference?

If this is your first step into understanding protein, we realise that it can be confusing.  Protein remains a hot debate with amateur and professional sports people alike. When it comes to what's good, what's bad, concentrates vs isolates, brown rice vs whey vs soy, the world of protein can become overwhelming.  Whey protein is the abundantly popular choice. For that reason, there are many scientific studies backing its efficacy, quality and potency.  It is often seen in 2 main forms, concentrates vs isolates.  Whey protein comes from milk, usually cow's milk.  It is often known as the by-product of cheese making.  Milk is split into curds and whey where the curds are more solid and perfect for making cheese while the whey is a watery substance and is often discarded.  The liquid however can go through various filtration processes and dried into the powder we are all familiar in seeing. If you're trying to distinguish the difference between the whey protein types, here is a great guideline.

 

Whey Protein Concentrate (our pick)

Whey protein concentrate is the less processed, ‘natural’ form you will find whey in.  It generally goes through an ultra filtration process then spray dried.  This process varies in quality and you can get different concentrations and purity.  It is the only process that can be done in a certified organic manner.  Concentrations of protein range between 35-85 grams per 100, with the better quality being above 80%.  The remaining product is other ingredients found in milk such as fat, carbohydrates, lactose and even natural sugars. If you can, look for organic whey protein concentrate.

Whey Protein Isolate

Isolates go through a further process to strip the remaining fat, carbohydrates, lactose and sugar.  The result is protein concentrated at 90% or more.   The process is a chemical process that may or may not affect the protein.  While the end result is the purest, the processing method is regarded as not natural and is often much more expensive than other forms of whey protein.

Whey Protein Hydrolysate

This protein is commonly used in medical protein supplements and infant formulas due to its improved digestibility and its low allergen claims.  It is known as “predigested” form of whey protein that has already undergone partial hydrolysis – a process necessary for the body to absorb protein. 

Proprietary Protein Blend

Proprietary protein blends are a sneaky way companies can create their own mix of different proteins and fillers without disclosing the exact percentages of each ingredient.  They usually use a different mix of proteins with the majority ingredient being a ‘cheaper’ source and excipient ingredients you can do without.  You’re better off sticking to pure quality sources. 

Which to take?

When it comes to making a decision, it is really a person choice on which of the various processing you believe will deliver the best result.  Generally the choice is between concentrates vs isolates.  All of our research has pointed us to believe that Organic Whey Protein Concentrate delivers the most pure and best quality protein.  Organic sources are hard to come by and often are not cheap however, the result is a peace of mind in unsurpassed integrity.

 

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