Whey Protein vs. Whey Protein Isolate: What’s the Difference? (2023)

Whey Protein vs. Whey Protein Isolate: What’s the Difference? (1)

When looking to buy a protein powder, you'll notice how some products contain whey proteinwhile others emphasize the word "isolate." So, what is the actual difference, and when it comes to whey protein versus isolate, is one better than the other?

To help you make a decision on which is right for you, we've decided to compile some of the best whey protein and whey isolate protein powders on the market and tell you which factors to look for, why choose one over the other, and how to know if the protein supplement you chose works for you.

Why Trust Us?

The health and safety of ACTIVE's readers is of the utmost importance to us. To ensure your well-being when consuming protein powders, the ACTIVE.com editorial team prioritizes products that are independently tested by a third party. We've consulted with a team of nutritionists and dieticians to ensure the products we feature are of the highest standard. This helps us create the most accurate, authentic review content for our readers.

What is Whey Protein?

Whey protein is a byproduct of milk that gets isolated in the cheese-making process. Because whey protein comes from milk, it has a high protein content and nutritional value and it's a complete protein, meaning it contains all 20 amino acids, including the nine essential ones that our bodies cannot produce themselves.

Whey protein consists of eight proteins that together help you build muscle, decrease cholesterol and blood pressure, and reduce inflammation. This form of protein can also help you feel fuller for longer so you don't give in to food cravings.

It's generally considered easy to digest and quick to absorb, but those who are lactose intolerant might have a harder time breaking it down. There are three main types of whey protein, depending on how it's processed: concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysate. They all have their differences, with the most important being how easy it is to digest: concentrate is the hardest and hydrolysate is the easiest.

Whey Protein vs. Whey Protein Isolate

The main difference between whey protein concentrate and isolate is the way these two proteins are processed. Whey protein isolate undergoes a filtration process that's more robust than the one that results in whey concentrate, leaving it stripped of fats and carbs, leaving only pure protein behind.

This makes whey protein isolate low in fat and carbs and also easier to digest for those who are lactose sensitive or intolerant as it contains minimal lactose content. Still, it's not suitable for those with milk allergies.

Whey Isolate vs. Whey Concentrate

Both of these forms of whey can come from the exact same source and have the exact same nutritional benefits, but whey protein isolate is made through a more filtered process that strips it off from fats, carbs, and most importantly, lactose. This makes it higher in protein, easier to digest, and suitable for those who are sensitive to lactose or dairy in general.

Our Whey Protein Recommendations

By clicking on the product links in this article, we may receive a commission fee at no cost to you, the reader. Sponsorships and affiliate commissions help support our research so we can help you find the best products. Read the full affiliate disclosure here.

(Video) Whey Protein ISOLATE vs Whey Protein CONCENTRATE - दोनों में से कौन सा लें?

Orgain Grass-Fed Whey

Whey Protein vs. Whey Protein Isolate: What’s the Difference? (2)

SPECS

  • Protein: 21g
  • Carbs: 11g
  • Fat: 3g
  • Lactose: Yes

Whey Protein vs. Whey Protein Isolate: What’s the Difference? (3)

Orgain Grass-Fed Whey protein powder is whey concentrate powder that comes from, you guessed it, grass-fed New Zealand cows. The grass-fed stamp means the cows weren't fed with grains or other bulking agents, which results in a more nutritious whey protein.

One serving is equal to two scoops which contains 21 grams of protein, only three grams of fat, five grams of BCAAs, and 11 grams of carbohydrates, plus no added sugars. The formula is also gluten-free, soy-free, and kosher, and doesn't contain GMOs or other artificial additives.

What We Like

  • Clean ingredients, no gluten or added sugars
  • Comes from grass-fed cows
  • Affordable price
  • Contains 5g of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)

What We Don't Like

  • Contains sunflower oil, rice dextrin, and xanthan gum which might cause some digestive issues in people who are sensitive
  • Some people report an unpleasant taste

BUY: Orgain Grass-Fed Whey

Naked Whey

Whey Protein vs. Whey Protein Isolate: What’s the Difference? (4)

SPECS

  • Protein: 25g
  • Carbs: 3g
  • Fat: 2g
  • Lactose: Yes

Whey Protein vs. Whey Protein Isolate: What’s the Difference? (5)

One of the cleanest whey protein concentrates on the market is Naked Whey. Its unflavored version contains only one ingredient: whey protein concentrate from grass-fed cows. With 25 grams of protein per serving and only two grams of fat, this protein powder aims to be the easiest to digest and the quickest to absorb.

Their flavored versions contain clean ingredients, but they do use coconut sugar as a sweetener which brings the carbohydrate content up and could potentially spike your blood sugar levels.

What We Like

  • Grass-fed protein
  • High-protein content and 5.9 grams of BCAAs
  • Only 1 ingredient, no gluten, sugars, GMOs, or artificial ingredients

What We Don't Like

  • High price
  • Flavored versions contain coconut sugar which increases the sugar content

BUY: Naked Whey

(Video) The Differences Between Whey Concentrate and Whey Isolate | Nutritionist Explains... | Myprotein

Bulk Supplements Grass-Fed Whey Protein.

Whey Protein vs. Whey Protein Isolate: What’s the Difference? (6)

SPECS

  • Protein: 23g
  • Carbs: 1g
  • Fat: about 2.6g
  • Lactose: Yes

Whey Protein vs. Whey Protein Isolate: What’s the Difference? (7)

Another clean grass-fed whey protein concentrate comes from Bulk Supplements. Made with only one ingredient, it's free from gluten, soy, or any other artificial additives. Satisfied customers report it being easy to digest and blend with milk or another beverage of choice, but since it's unflavored it might not be the best taste for everyone.

It comes in six different sizes and the smallest one contains only three servings so it's a great option for when you're traveling and don't want to take the whole two-pound container with you.

What We Like

  • Only 1 ingredient—grass-fed whey concentrate
  • Affordable price
  • Comes in six different packaging sizes

What We Don't Like

  • Only unflavored so it might not taste the best for some people
  • Often goes out of stock in specific sizes

BUY: Bulk Supplements Grass-Fed Whey Protein

Jacked Factory Authentic Whey

Whey Protein vs. Whey Protein Isolate: What’s the Difference? (8)

SPECS

  • Protein: 24g
  • Carbs: 1g
  • Fat: 2g
  • Lactose: Minimal

Whey Protein vs. Whey Protein Isolate: What’s the Difference? (9)

Jacked Factory Authentic Whey is a mix of whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate and it's made through a special filtration process that makes it low in lactose. This makes it easier to digest for those who are lactose sensitive or intolerant. The formula is free from gluten and added sugars, but it does contain some artificial flavors and sucralose which might cause digestive issues in some people.

What We Like

  • Mostly clean ingredients and grass-fed whey
  • Good amount of flavors
  • Gluten-free, sugar-free, GMO-free

What We Don't Like

  • No unflavored version
  • Contains sucralose and artificial flavors which might cause digestive issues

BUY: Jacked Factory Authentic Whey

Our Whey Isolate Recommendations

XWerks Grow

Whey Protein vs. Whey Protein Isolate: What’s the Difference? (10)

(Video) Pick The Right Whey Protein in Under 4 Minutes

SPECS

  • Protein: 25g
  • Carbs: 1g
  • Fat: 0g
  • Lactose: Minimal

Whey Protein vs. Whey Protein Isolate: What’s the Difference? (11)

XWerks Growis a clean whey protein isolate that comes from grass-fed cows. It's made with zero antibiotics, pesticides, or hormones, and it's free from gluten, sugars, or other artificial additives. Designed to help improve your muscle growth and repair, this protein isolate is easy to digest and quick to absorb.

It contains a high protein content and minimal lactose, making it a better choice for anyone who is sensitive to dairy and milk.

What We Like

  • Clean ingredients and grass-fed whey
  • Easy to digest and quick to absorb
  • Comes in 4 different flavors

What We Don't Like

  • The price
  • Contains xanthan gum which might cause digestive issues in some people
  • No unflavored option

BUY: XWERKS Grow

Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate

Whey Protein vs. Whey Protein Isolate: What’s the Difference? (12)

SPECS

  • Protein: 28g
  • Carbs: 2g
  • Fat: 0g
  • Lactose: Minimal

Whey Protein vs. Whey Protein Isolate: What’s the Difference? (13)

Transparent Labs is a supplement brand that's well-known for its high-quality ingredients and products. And the whey protein isolate Transparent Labs makes is 100% pure grass-fed whey, comes with no artificial ingredients, gluten, or sugars, and it's suitable for those who are sensitive to lactose.

The price point is somewhere in the middle, so it's not too high but also not the most affordable. However, they do offer significant discounts when bundled with other products.

What We Like

  • High protein content
  • Clean ingredients and grass-fed whey
  • No gluten, sugars, or artificial additives
  • Large variety of flavors

What We Don't Like

  • No unflavored version

BUY: Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate

Kaged Whey Protein Isolate

Whey Protein vs. Whey Protein Isolate: What’s the Difference? (14)

(Video) CONCENTRATE VS ISOLATE WHICH IS BETTER || 100 % SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN INFO ||

SPECS

  • Protein: 25g
  • Carbs: 4g
  • Fat: 0.5g
  • Lactose: Minimal

Whey Protein vs. Whey Protein Isolate: What’s the Difference? (15)

Kaged Whey Protein Isolate has a high-protein formula that's free of gluten, sugars, soy, or artificial ingredients and it's designed to be easily digested and rapidly absorbed. Satisfied customers report great taste and texture, making it easy to blend with milk or any other beverage.

Since it's whey protein isolate, it's suitable for those who are sensitive to lactose, but with four grams of carbohydrates per serving, it's still a bit higher than most protein isolates on the market.

What We Like

  • Clean ingredients
  • Great flavors
  • No gluten, sugars, GMOs, or soy

What We Don't Like

  • Not grass-fed
  • No unflavored version

BUY: Kaged Whey Protein Isolate

Jacked Factory Authentic ISO

Whey Protein vs. Whey Protein Isolate: What’s the Difference? (16)

SPECS

  • Protein: 25g
  • Carbs: 1g
  • Fat: 0.5g
  • Lactose: Minimal

Whey Protein vs. Whey Protein Isolate: What’s the Difference? (17)

Jacked Factory Authentic ISO is made through a special filtration process that makes it extremely low in carbohydrates and lactose. It's made with grass-fed whey protein isolate and contains no gluten, sugars, soy, or GMOs. It does, however, contain some artificial flavors and sucralose which might cause inflammation and digestive issues in some people.

What We Like

  • Grass-fed whey protein isolate
  • No sugars, gluten, GMOs, or soy
  • High protein content

What We Don't Like

  • Contains artificial flavors and sucralose which might cause digestive issues in some people
  • No unflavored version

BUY: Jacked Factory Authentic ISO

FAQs About Whey Protein vs. Whey Isolate


Which is better for muscle gain: whey protein or whey isolate?

When it comes to promoting muscle growth, there is no difference. The only difference is in the way it's absorbed by your body. Some people who are sensitive to lactose cannot properly break down and digest whey protein concentrate so they can't reap all the benefits from the high protein content.

Is whey isolate worth the extra money?

For those people who have trouble digesting whey concentrate, they are usually ok with spending a little bit of extra money if it means whey isolate will work for them.

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When should I take protein?

Most people take protein powder supplements right after their workout in order to build muscle, but science says it can be anywhere up to two hours after your workout. It can also help you feel fuller for longer so taking it in between meals might promote weight loss and healthier weight management.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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