Whey is a great source of protein and has a high biological value (BV).
Whey is a dairy protein that is a by-product of the cheese making process. Before it is processed, whey contains large amounts of fat and lactose (milk sugar), not exactly what you want to ingest to build lean muscle mass. That’s why it is filtered and processed: to remove most of the lactose and fat. If you’ve ever heard of microfiltration or “ion exchange,” you’ll know they are methods of separating the fat and lactose from the protein in order to purify it for fitness purposes.
The end result is a more concentrated protein for sports performance and muscle-building – either concentrate or isolate. Whey protein isolate and whey protein powder concentrate are two alternatives on the market to be considered when seeking a quality protein supplement for your diet and exercise regime. This decision is what confronts many weight lifters and fitness buffs when glancing at the shelves with all the varieties of protein powder available in the health food market.
Which whey protein should you be using; concentrate or isolate? Here are a few facts to help you make an informed decision.
The most important chemical difference between the two is that Isolate is processed to a more refined state so that even the fat and lactose are removed. This more involved system of purification results in a higher concentration of protein in the end product because the isolate form is free of anything that doesn’t contribute directly to muscle enhancement.
In other words, isolate contains more protein with less fat and lactose per serving. Depending upon the particular brand, whey isolate usually contains between 90-94% protein while whey concentrate has a protein ratio of 70-85% depending upon the brand.
This may be very important depending upon what level of bodybuilding you are at and what kind of bodybuilder you are. What are your goals? For professional level bodybuilders, smaller levels of fat are crucial to maintain competition quality muscle definition, and also when whey is utilized for the goal of losing weight. For the average weightlifter who doesn’t need to lose weight and just wants to add a little muscle, this is not important at all. Many bodybuilders want to gain weight.
A decrease in lactose levels will also help those people who are lactose intolerant, meaning they cannot digest the lactose (sugar) in milk and get sick as a result. If you have some lactose intolerance, isolate will reduce the stomach bloating that can occur when drinking protein shakes made with dairy products. However, there are a few disadvantages to consuming whey protein shake isolate also.
Because of the extra manufacturing involved in processing the higher purity protein in whey isolate, whey isolate powder is more expensive – which adds up when you have to take it on a regular basis. And just because isolate is a little more pure, it doesn’t necessarily mean whey isolate is “better” or will produce greater muscle growth. That depends mostly on how much you work out and how good your exercise routine is. Whey protein concentrate is still an excellent source of protein that can build serious muscle. And it has other advantages too.