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What Is Whey Isolate Protein Powder?

I know that keeping up with all the different supplement types and uses can be mentally tasking, especially since most have similar effects. As a fellow avid supplement user, I want to make this easier for you. 

Through several years of supplement research, I’ve been able to determine the specific uses of different supplements and how they differ from others. 

My intention with this article is to help you understand the specifics of the products that you take in, starting with what whey isolate protein powder is. 

What Is Whey Isolate Protein Powder?

Whey isolate is a protein form that has undergone more processing than whey protein concentrate, resulting in higher protein and lesser carbohydrates, fat, and lactose content.  This form of protein offers all the essential amino acids that your body needs for muscle growth, as well as other bodily functions, and is typically more expensive than whey concentrate. 

Woman doing exercises outdoors with a group of women

Whey is obtained as a by-product during the cheese-making process. It comes in three different types and not all of them are equal in terms of protein content. They are:

  • Concentrate
  • Isolate 
  • Hydrolysate 

How Is Whey Isolate Different From Whey Concentrate?

Much cannot be said about whey protein isolate without first comparing it to whey concentrate to highlight the difference between both protein types. The main difference between isolate and concentrate is in the amount of processing that goes into them. The former typically undergoes a more intense processing that strips it of as much non-protein content as possible. 

In the case of whey concentrate, however, a high portion of carbohydrates remain after processing, most of which is made from lactose. While this powder can have a protein content of about 60 – 80%, the protein content in isolate powder can push as far as 95%. This makes protein isolate the best for people with high protein requirements 

What Are the Benefits of Whey Isolate?

Whey protein is the most common form of protein supplement amongst athletes and fitness enthusiasts today. This is no doubt a result of how beneficial it is to the body and overall health. When it comes to isolate, here are some of its benefits:

Promotes Muscle Growth

The human body needs lots of protein -a total of 20 amino acids- to build muscle mass and repair muscle damage. Out of this number, the body only produces 11. The remaining nine, which are termed essential amino acids (EAA), need to be gotten from external sources. 

Isolate whey contains all 9 EAA, including the Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) which are important for increased muscle protein synthesis and reduced protein degradation. This makes it an excellent muscle builder, especially for lean muscles. 

Induces Weight Loss

Whey protein isolate is not only great for people looking to grow their muscle mass, it also works wonders for people trying to lose weight. How does this work?

  • It keeps you fuller for longer, thus reducing how much food you consume daily
  • It has a lower calorie content, as well as a reduced carbohydrate, fat and sugar content 
  • It has a high thermic effect, meaning that it takes the body more energy to break it down 

Increases Strength

Whey protein isolate contains a higher source of Leucine, which is one of the three BCAAs responsible for stimulating muscle protein synthesis, making it more important in muscle building than most of the other EAAs. This simply indicates that isolate whey builds more lean muscle mass, which automatically translates to increased strength, especially during workouts. 

This is even more so because isolate is highly digestible and quickly absorbed by the body. Therefore, when taken before a workout, it gets into your bloodstream faster and provides your body with the needed dose of strength. 

Aids Muscle Recovery

During physical training, your muscles go through intense stress, which causes them to wear out. To help them to recover and repair faster, you need to consume lots of protein. Isolate whey contains amino acids, such as L-Glutamine, that can help reduce muscle breakdown and soreness induced by physical exercise. 

Taking an isolate shake after each training session allows your muscles to recover faster, ultimately helping you to train better and increase your physical performance. 

Reduces the Risks of Bloating

When compared to whey concentrate, isolate has a considerably lesser protein content. This reduces the risks of bloating caused by lactose and makes it a better option for people who are lactose intolerant. 

Is Whey Isolate Good for You?

Whey is a generally safe and highly efficient form of protein. However, whether or not this powder is good for you depends on your unique circumstance. Whey protein isolate may be good for you if:

Man flexing his biceps while sitting down on a bench inside the gym
  • You’re trying to lose weight 
  • You’re trying to build lean muscle mass 
  • You’re on a diet that requires a higher protein intake 
  • You’re lactose intolerant or have a sensitive stomach 

Isolate may not be good for you if: 

  • You’re in search of a meal replacement, as it only offers other nutrients in minute quantities 
  • You’re unwilling to pay more for it

How Is Whey Isolate Powder Gotten?

Whey isolate is gotten from milk. During the cheese-making process, whey liquid is separated from the curd and pasteurized to sterilize it. It then undergoes a crossflow cold micro-filtration to separate the protein, amino acids and other micronutrients from the carbohydrates, fat and lactose. Finally, it is pumped through a dryer to convert it into powdered form.  

What Is the Difference Between Whey Isolate Protein and Casein Protein?

The main difference between whey isolate and casein is in their absorption rate. Although both are derived from milk and contain lots of protein and EAAs, the latter is much thicker and digests at a slower rate. This is why casein protein is best consumed at night, providing your body with a prolonged release of amino acids. 

How Much Whey Protein Isolate Should I Consume Daily?

The recommended daily protein intake is between 0.8 grams – 1.6 grams per kilogram of body weight, depending on various factors, including body weight, height, sex, age, athletic goals and activity level. This can translate anywhere between 1-2 scoops of isolate powder, depending on the protein content per serving of the product. 


Isolate protein powder is a highly-concentrated form of whey protein that is rich in amino acids and micronutrients needed for muscle growth and repair. This whey type offers many benefits, including a fast absorption rate, muscle mass development, and weight loss. Before purchasing any isolate product, consider its overall protein purity, as well as its other ingredients.

Jack Kelle

Jack is an entrepreneur, outdoorist, and animal lover with a background in philosophy, psychology, and business. He enjoys music, friends, and family. At RAVE, Jack works as the manager of marketing and content development.