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Difference Between the Whey Concentrate Vs. Whey Isolate

Published : Nov 25, 2021 7 mins read Updated On : May 21, 2024

Whey protein is a high-quality protein derived from milk during the cheese-making process. It contains all essential amino acids and is quickly absorbed by the body, making it popular for muscle building, recovery, and general nutrition.

The rise of whey protein supplements in Indian gyms can be attributed to increasing fitness awareness and the desire for muscle gains. Whey protein offers numerous benefits, including muscle recovery, enhanced muscle protein synthesis, and convenience.

It can be incorporated into the regular diet beyond post-workout shakes by adding it to smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, or baking recipes. Whey protein can serve as a convenient source of high-quality protein throughout the day, aiding in meeting daily protein requirements, promoting satiety, and supporting muscle maintenance and growth during periods of calorie restriction or busy schedules.

There are three major types of whey supplements, whey concentrate, whey isolate and whey hydrolyzed. In this blog we will understand the difference between whey concentrate and whey isolate and which is right for you.

Difference Between the Whey Concentrate Vs. Whey Isolate

What is Whey Protein Concentrate?

Whey protein concentrate is a form of whey protein that undergoes minimal processing, retaining a higher percentage of lactose, fats, and carbohydrates compared to other forms like whey protein isolate. It typically contains around 70-80% protein by weight (1).

Nutrition of Whey Protein Concentrate

  • Protein Content

Whey protein concentrate, with protein content ranging from 70-80% based on processing, typically offers about 20 grams of protein per 30-gram serving. It boasts a complete amino acid profile, including significant levels of branched-chain amino acids vital for muscle recovery and growth (2).

  • Carbohydrate Content

Whey protein concentrate includes varying carbohydrate levels, mainly from lactose. This content can vary from under 5% to as high as 20%, contingent on processing. This variability may raise concerns for those with lactose intolerance or sensitivity (3).

  • Fat Content

Whey protein concentrate exhibits variable fat content, from under 1% to around 10%, influenced by processing methods. The fat primarily comprises beneficial unsaturated fats like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Nonetheless, certain products may include added fats or oils like soy lecithin to enhance mixability (4).

Pros of Whey Protein Concentrate Supplements

Rich Protein Source: Whey protein concentrate is a high-quality protein source, containing all essential amino acids necessary for muscle repair and growth.

Affordability: Whey protein concentrate tends to be more affordable compared to other forms of whey protein, making it accessible to a broader range of individuals.

Nutrient Diversity: Along with protein, whey protein concentrate contains varying amounts of carbohydrates and fats, providing a more balanced nutrient profile.

BCAA Content: It is typically rich in branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), particularly leucine, which plays a crucial role in muscle protein synthesis.

Improved Immunity: Whey protein concentrate contains immunoglobulins and lactoferrin, which may help support the immune system.

Cons of Whey Protein Concentrate Supplements

Lactose Content: Whey protein concentrate contains lactose, which may be problematic for individuals with lactose intolerance or sensitivity.

Variable Quality: The quality and purity of whey protein concentrate can vary between brands and manufacturing processes, leading to inconsistencies in protein content and potential contamination.

Higher in Calories: Compared to whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate may contain higher levels of carbohydrates and fats, contributing more calories per serving.

Digestive Issues: Some individuals may experience digestive discomfort, such as bloating or gas, when consuming whey protein concentrate, particularly if they have sensitivities to dairy products.

What is Whey Protein Isolate?

Whey protein isolate is a form of whey protein that undergoes further processing to remove most of the non-protein components, including lactose and fats, resulting in a higher protein content per serving compared to whey protein concentrate. It typically contains at least 90% protein by weight, with minimal carbohydrates and fats.

Nutrition of Whey Protein Isolate

Protein Content

Whey protein isolate is an extremely concentrated protein source, with over 90% protein content per weight. A standard 30-gram serving of whey protein isolate generally supplies around 27 grams of protein, making it a perfect option for those aiming to boost their protein consumption.

Carbohydrate Content

It typically has minimal carbohydrate content, usually less than 1 gram per serving. This is because the processing of whey protein concentrate to produce whey protein isolate removes most of the lactose and other carbohydrates.

Fat Content

It generally has minimal fat content, often less than 1 gram per serving. This is due to the removal of most fats during the conversion of whey protein concentrate into whey protein isolate through processing.

Pros of Whey Protein Isolate Supplements

High Protein Content: Whey protein isolate contains over 90% protein by weight, providing a concentrated source of protein that supports muscle repair and growth effectively.

Low Carbohydrate Content: Whey protein isolate typically has very low carbohydrate content, making it suitable for those on low-carb or ketogenic diets.

Low Fat Content: With minimal fat content, whey protein isolate is a suitable option for individuals looking to limit their fat intake while increasing protein consumption.

Fast Absorption: Whey protein isolate is quickly absorbed by the body, delivering amino acids to the muscles rapidly, which is beneficial for post-workout recovery and muscle building.

High Quality: Whey protein isolate undergoes rigorous processing to remove impurities, ensuring a high-quality protein source that is free from contaminants.

Digestibility: Due to its high purity and low lactose content, whey protein isolate is generally well-tolerated and easily digestible, causing minimal digestive discomfort for most people.

Bioavailability: Whey protein isolate has excellent bioavailability, meaning that a high proportion of the protein consumed is absorbed and utilized by the body efficiently.

Cons of Whey Protein Isolate Supplements

Higher Cost: Whey protein isolate tends to be more expensive compared to other forms of whey protein, such as whey protein concentrate, due to its higher purity and processing requirements.

Over processing Concerns: Some individuals may have concerns about the extensive processing involved in creating whey protein isolate and its potential impact on nutrient bioavailability or the presence of trace contaminants.

Digestive Discomfort: While rare, some individuals may experience digestive discomfort, such as bloating or gas, when consuming whey protein isolate, particularly if they have underlying digestive issues or sensitivities.

Who Should Take Whey Protein Concentrate

1. Budget-Conscious Individuals

Whey protein concentrate is generally more affordable than whey protein isolate, making it a cost-effective option for those on a budget.

2. Those Without Lactose Intolerance

If you don’t have issues digesting lactose, whey protein concentrate can be a good choice, as it contains more lactose compared to whey protein isolate.

3. Individuals Seeking a Balanced Nutrient Profile

Whey protein concentrate retains more carbohydrates and fats, providing a more balanced nutrient profile that can support overall dietary needs.

4. People Looking for Flavor and Texture

Whey protein concentrate tends to have a creamier texture and richer flavor, which some individuals might prefer in their shakes and recipes.

Who Should Take Whey Protein Isolate

1. Individuals with Lactose Intolerance or Sensitivity

Whey protein isolate contains very low levels of lactose, making it a better choice for those with lactose intolerance or sensitivity.

2. Those Needing Higher Protein Content

Whey protein isolate offers a higher percentage of protein by weight, making it ideal for individuals looking to maximize their protein intake, especially during muscle-building phases.

3. People Following Low-Carb or Low-Fat Diets

With minimal carbohydrates and fats, whey protein isolate fits well into low-carb, ketogenic, or low-fat diets.

4. Athletes and Bodybuilders

Due to its high protein content and rapid absorption, whey protein isolate is beneficial for post-workout recovery and muscle synthesis, making it a preferred choice for athletes and bodybuilders.

5. Individuals Seeking Fast Digestion

Whey protein isolate is absorbed quickly by the body, making it an excellent option for post-workout supplementation when rapid protein delivery is beneficial.


Whey Isolate and Whey Concentrate are two of the most common dietary supplements. Isolate undergoes more processing as compared to concentrate but except for protein content and lactose levels, both proteins show the same characteristics. To conclude, both are excellent sources of proteins, and you can take a call depending on your dietary needs and budget.


1. Is whey isolate better than concentrate?

Whey isolate is better for those needing higher protein, minimal lactose, and lower carbs and fats. Whey concentrate is more affordable and suitable for those without lactose issues.

2. Should I take whey isolate or concentrate as beginner?

As a beginner, start with whey concentrate if you're budget-conscious and have no lactose issues. Choose whey isolate if you need higher protein content and lower lactose, carbs, and fats.

3.Is whey protein concentrate better than isolating for stomach?

Whey protein isolate is generally better for the stomach if you have lactose intolerance or sensitivity, as it contains less lactose compared to whey protein concentrate. 

Neel Visaria
Neel Visaria
Health and Fitness

Neel is an expert blogger who just loves writing about health and fitness. He makes sure that his blogs are fun to read but also informative. Neel is committed to spread awareness through his blogs... Read More

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