While your wallet may wince slightly when going from a whey protein concentrate to a whey protein isolate, in the end, you’re going to be much happier with your decision to shell out a little extra coin for the added benefits.
What is Whey Protein Isolate?
A common question asked is, “What exactly is whey protein isolate and what makes it so special?” In a nutshell, whey protein isolate (itself) is a natural byproduct of cheese. When cheese is produced, it provides both casein and whey through the process. The whey is then dried and formed into a powder. When whey concentrate is filtered further (cold processed and micro-filtered) and the fats and lactose are removed, we are left with what we know as whey protein isolate. This protein source provides a much cleaner and higher quality protein source when compared to a whey concentrate or casein protein.
Below are five benefits of using whey protein isolate.
1. Higher Percentage of Protein by Weight – Purest Form of Protein
Thanks to the filtration process of eliminating most of the carbohydrates, fats, and lactose, what you are left with is a product that contains a higher percentage of protein by weight. When you look at the various forms of protein powder on the market, each form holds a different concentration of protein.
If you have been around long enough in the industry, you have probably heard of WPC80. This is a form of whey protein concentrate that is 80% protein by weight (the general standard for a WPC) – which means the remaining 20% comes in the form of carbohydrates and fats. The quality can be even less with whey protein concentrate where it can be anywhere between 35-80% protein by weight. When you look at something like a whey protein isolate, you’re going to generally see a WPI90 where it contains 90% protein by weight (at a minimum).
When you want the best results, you need the highest quality form of protein to supply your muscles with the amino acids they need to grow. That being said, supplements should never replace proper nutrition. However, when used in conjunction with a solid training and nutrition plan, your results may improve.
2. Fast-Digesting Protein Source
When you look at the various forms of protein powder on the market, it can be quite confusing trying to figure out which suits your individual needs. When it comes to speed and delivery, whey protein isolate is a fantastic source. While there is nothing wrong with whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate is faster digesting and can hit the system much quicker than whey protein concentrate or a caseinate.
Being that whey protein isolate is digested and absorbed so quickly, it makes it the perfect option for post-workout nutrition when you want to speed up your recovery.
3. Whey Protein Isolate is Easier on the Digestive Tract
Thanks to the filtration process when the fat, sugar, and overall lactose is removed or at least drastically reduced, the protein is able to be broken down, digested, and absorbed much easier – causing fewer digestive issues.
If you have used a whey protein concentrate in the past, you may have noticed a few things after drinking your protein shake. Some of the issues that could arise from consuming a lower quality protein powder include bloating, gas, diarrhea, and stomach cramping. After noting these side effects, if you have experienced them and want a better option that provides the quality protein you demand without the negative aspects, you should give whey protein isolate a try.
4. Low in Carbohydrates and Fat
With the process of filtering the whey into an isolate form, it helps drastically reduce the number of carbohydrates and fat in the dried protein. This is great for those looking for a clean profile.
Where this really comes into play is with the consumer's ability to alter and manipulate their macros. What this means is that if a consumer doesn't want the carbs and fats, it's a perfect fit. Then on the other hand, if they want the carbohydrates and fats, they have the ability to add their own to their liking. This can be in the form of fruit, vegetables, or natural nut butters. In essence, it makes it somewhat a "universal" protein source (assuming you are fine with consuming animal proteins).
5. Can Be Used by Those Sensitive to Lactose
Another benefit of whey protein isolate is the fact that the lactose levels within the protein source are extremely low – generally around 1%. Being that low, it allows those who are lactose intolerant the ability to use a whey protein powder whereas if they used a whey protein concentrate, they could have some adverse effects from its use. With that being said, that doesn’t mean that those who have extreme lactose sensitivities won’t have issues with whey protein isolate.
Those who are lactose intolerant would need to try a product to gauge if it’s something they can consume or not. It would be recommended in this instance to consume a small amount at first before consuming a full serving.
Is Formula-X for You?
Now that you know the benefits of whey protein isolate, what happens if you include a slow-digesting protein into the fold? You get a great anytime protein powder that provides both fast and slow-digesting proteins. Available in both 2 and 5-pound tubs, this protein powder is perfect for hardcore athletes and best of all… it tastes amazing! Try Apollon Nutrition 50/50 Formula-X today!