Differences between Whey Protein Isolate and Concentrate

Differences between Whey Protein Isolate and Concentrate

Whey Protein is possibly the most sold supplement. This is due to its properties not only for the sport field, but also as a great source of proteins for some people.

We can find several types in the market depending on its composition, and we need to learn the difference between them. In this case, we will explore the main differences between Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) and Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC).

Definition of Whey

Let’s start by defining some terms… Probably, the first word you saw when you bought a protein or when you saw it in a store was: Whey

Whey is the main ingredient that is used to obtain proteins and it comes from Milk

This is why most products are labelled with this word. There are mainly two types of whey:

  1. Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC)
  2. Whey Protein Isolate (WPI)

As we can see, both terms refer to the same thing (Whey), but the difference lies on their composition.

If you want to learn more about the Effects of Whey Protein, click here

What is Whey?

The whey is the liquid part that is obtained from the milk that is used to make cheese. In this process, the fat from milk coagulates and the whey is separated, so what we get is a byproduct of milk. From then on, whey is undergoes a series of stages until it has a proper aspect and condition to be consumed and used in products to make shakes, meal replacements, or bars.

Aspect of Whey

Properties of Whey

One of the things that happens when the whey is processed is that its percentage of lactose, fats, and other elements (cholesterol…) is significantly reduced, which leaves the protein almost isolated. But mind you, you should not mix this term with the one that defines WPI.

Getting the Whey

Composition of Whey

Whey is made up of two types of proteins: a 20% of Whey and an 80% of Casein. The difference between this two is the absorption rate, whey will be the fastest, while casein provides a much more sustained supply, to the point that it can take 7h to discharge the amino acids. We can use both depending on our objectives.


Properties of Whey Protein

Complete Protein

A complete protein means that it has all the amino acids profile, including the essential ones which are those that our organism is not capable of synthesizing. These ones have to be consumed through the diet or through a Whey Protein supplement.

Proteins of animal origin are complete and they provide the 9 essential amino acids:


Essential Amino Acids Chart

If you want to deepen into the Essential Amino Acids, click here

Biological Value

Whey protein has a high biological value (BV). This means that the proportion of amino acids that the organism requires is excellent. Specifically, it refers to the amount of nitrogen that is absorbed by the body that will be later used for the regeneration and growth of the muscle. The protein will have a lower BV if it lacks one or more amino acids or if they are present but in a low percentage. The BV is measured between 0 and 100 (the higher the number, the higher the BV). Protein sources that lack some amino acids can be combined in order to compensate for this deficit. The reference to measure this value has always been egg protein (BV=100), but whey protein has a BV that breaks the scale, since it is over 100.

Protein SourceBVPCDAAs
Evowhey Protein1041

Comparative Tablet of Evowhey (WPC) and other protein sources

Net Protein Utilization

NPU, is a measure to know the percentage of amino acids that we consume and that is later used by the body. If we want a high value, the source of protein will have to be easy to digest and offer a complete aminogram, including a good percentage of the essential ones.

Protein Digestibility-Corrected Amino Acid Score

The PCDAAS measures the quality of a protein based on the requirements of amino acids by the body and its ability to digest them. The score will be between 0 and 1, 1 will be the best value (maximum digestibility). It is one of the markers that should be taken into account when it comes to measuring the properties of a protein. Whey Protein gets a 1.


Comparative tablet of BV, NPU, and PCDAAS from different protein sources

Protein Fractions

One of the most important properties of whey protein is that, depending on the manufacturing process, it will maintain the following protein fractions: lactoferrin, glycomacropeptides, alpha-lactoalbumins, immunoglobulins, beta-lactoglobulin, and lactoperoxidase.

These will significantly contribute to improve the health markers, since they have the following properties: anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory properties, support for iron absorption, improved intestinal flora, …

Whey Protein Fractions

Benefits of Whey Protein

We can make a list with the benefits that both types of proteins are going to share

  • It helps with weight loss and preserves muscle mass, since it supports high-protein diets
  • Quality protein supply for muscle growth
  • Support to optimize the physical recovery after intense activities, like weight training. It can also shorten the recovery time so that we will be in our best physical condition for the next workout
  • It increases the glutathione levels, which is one the most powerful antioxidants of the organism
  • It increases the proper function and maintenance of the immune system

Benefits of Whey Protein

Whey Protein is, without any doubt, a great source of nutrients

CFM or Cross Flow Microfiltration

This method is the best way to process whey.

It uses a technique of low temperature microfiltration of the whey to obtain a high percentage of proteins, which tends to be higher than 90%. At the same time, it preserves the integrity of the protein fractions, apart from the vitamins and minerals; it also achieves extremely low levels of fat and lactose, as well as an undenatured protein (it keeps the primary molecular structure)

Unlike other methods that use chemicals, like the Ion Exchange, CFM uses ceramic filters that provide an excellent result, since it gets rid of those elements we do not want and achieves the highest percentage of purity.

CFM Purity

Both the WPC and WPI can be obtained through this method.

Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC)

This type of protein is the first resulting product of processing whey. It is regarded as the most sold protein supplement thanks to its efficiency and because it is more affordable. Its use is meant to provide proteins to the diet in order to achieve our protein requirements. If our objective is to use a quality protein supplement for our muscle growth phase (bulking phase) or to maintain our current weight without making a great investment, this will be the most interesting choice.

Some of its features are:

  • The protein content will be between a 55-89% depending on the processing method
  • It usually has more fats and carbs
  • It is not advised for lactose intolerant people
  • It has the best flavor
  • It can cause some digestive problems

Whey Protein Isolate (WPI)

Whey protein isolate is the one with the highest purity per gram of product, reaching a >92%. It is obtained by processing the WPC, which is why the result will be a protein with an extremely low percentage of fats and carbs, with barely any traces of lactose, which will meet the expectations of a more demanding public. Moreover, it does not produce any digestive problem or stomach discomfort.

In this sense, it will be very useful for those who control their diet very thoroughly and who want to define their muscles. Nevertheless, this does not mean that those who do not have this type of objectives in mind and who just want a protein supply cannot use this type of product.

What are the differences between Whey Protein Isolate and Whey Protein Concentrate?

The main difference between whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate lies on its manufacturing process

% Proteins89-93%55-89%
% Carbohydratesdownup
% Fatsdownup
 Cutting Diet up down
 Maintenance Diet up up
 Bulking Diet up up
 Price up down


  • Whey protein isolate is a purer protein, with lower levels of lactose and fat. This will benefit those sportspeople and/or athletes who want to achieve a certain weight, depending on the competition, or who need to lose weight to enhance their athletic capacities.
  • The lower lactose levels help to reduce the swelling that some people experience when taking whey protein. If you are lactose intolerant and you feel bloated, WPI may be your best choice.
  • The negative side of whey protein isolate is that it is more expensive than the concentrate.
  • Both type of protein can fit in maintenance and bulking diet due to their protein and amino acids supply, while increasing the amount of calories (bulking phase) or maintain a normocaloric diet (maintenance diet).


In general, we need to keep in mind certain things before choosing the type of whey protein, like personal objectives, the diet, or the sport goal. Whey Protein Isolate is the one that has the advantage in terms of quality and amount of protein per serving, but whey protein concentrate is more affordable, which is a very important factor nowadays.

We can also find whey protein products that combine whey protein isolate and concentrate, so that we get a higher quality than a WPC but at a slightly cheaper price than a WPI.

Differences between Whey Isolate and Concentrate Review

Properties of Whey - 100%

CFM - 100%

WPC and WPI - 98%

Differences - 100%


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About Melanie Ramos
Melanie Ramos
Melanie Ramos uses the HSN Blog to share the latest information and content, so that all those readers who want to learn.
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One comment
  1. I really like your post, especially the way you describe it in detail.
    protein is a very essential source in our lives to stay fit and healthy
    thanks for sharing

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