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Differences between Whey Protein Isolate and Concentrate

Whey Protein  is possibly the best selling supplement. This is due to its properties not only in the sports field, but as a source of food for certain people.

Depending on its composition, we will find ourselves in the market with several types, being fundamental to clarify them. In this case, we will list the main differences between Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) or Whey Protein Isolate and Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) or Whey Concentrate , so what are the recommendations.

What is Whey or Milk Whey?

Let’s start by defining terms … Possibly, the first time you went to buy a protein or saw it in a store, the first words you read were: Whey

Whey is translated as Milk Serum

Hence, virtually the vast majority of product names contain this word on their label, as part of their trade name. In this way, we can find two types:

  1. Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) or protein concentrated whey
  2. Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) or Isolated whey protein

As we can see, both terms refer to the same thing (Whey), except that, as we will see below, the differences lie in the composition of each one.

What is the Serum?

Whey is the liquid part that is obtained in the production of cheese from milk. When the cheese is made, the fat part of the milk coagulates and the whey is separated obtaining a by-product. From here, the whey is processed in a series of steps to get to present an aspect and condition to be consumed and used in the products of shakes, meal substitutes or bars.

Appearance of Milk Serum

Properties of the Milk Serum

One of the consequences that occur when processing the serum is to drastically reduce the content of lactose, fats and other elements that do not matter (cholesterol …) , leaving the protein almost isolated. Be careful not to confuse the term isolated in this context with the nomenclature that defines the WPI.


Composition of the Milk Serum

The Whey is in turn consists of two types of proteins: 20% of Whey and  80% of Casein. The difference between both will be the speed of absorption, serumbeing the fastest part , while casein is much more sustained, taking up to 7 hours to deliver the amino acids. Each one can be taken according to certain interests.


Properties of Whey Protein or Whey Protein

Complete protein

A complete protein means that it has the entire spectrum of amino acids including essential ones , that is, those that our body is not able to synthesize and we must resort to incorporating them from the diet, and in this case, using Whey Protein or Protein shakes of Whey Serum as a complement.

The proteins of animal origin are complete and provide the 9 essential amino acids :

Leucine Valina Threonine
Methionine Isoleucine Histidine
Tryptophan Lysine Phenylalanine

Essential Amino Acids Table

Biological Value

Whey protein has a high biological value (BV) . A high BV means that the proportion of amino acids required by the body is excellent to make use of it. Specifically, the amount of nitrogen that is retained in the body is measured, which is then used for regeneration and muscle growth. When one or more amino acids are missing or found in a reduced amount the protein will have a lower BV. The BV is a value between 0 and 100 (the higher the BV number). Protein sources with amino acid deficits can be compensated if they are ingested at the same time. The reference has been the egg protein (BV = 100), but since the appearance of the Whey Protein, it is observed that it has a value higher than 100, it leaves the scale.

Protein source vB PCDAAs
Evowhey Protein 104 1
Egg 100 1
Milk 91 1
Casein 77 1
Meat 80 0.9
Soy 74 0.9
Pea 65 0.69
Rice 83 0.47


Net Utilization of Proteins

This UNP indicator is a measure to know the percentage of amino acids consumed and subsequently used by the body. To achieve a high value, the protein source should have easy digestion and offer an amino acid ratio including good amounts of the essentials.

Amino Acid Score Corrected by Digestibility

The  PCDAAS measures the quality of the protein based on the body’s amino acid requirements and the ability to digest them. The score will oscillate between 0 and 1, this value being the most favorable (maximum digestibility). It is one of the most taken into account indicators when evaluating the properties of a protein.The Whey Protein gets a 1.

Protein Source BV ONE P PCDAAS
Whey 104 92 1
Egg 100 94 1
Casein 77 76 1
Soy 74 61 1


Comparative table of BV , UNP ,  PCDAAS of different protein sources

Protein fractions

One of the most important properties that reside in whey protein is that, according to the manufacturing process, they will maintain the protein fractions:lactoferrin, glycomacropeptides, alpha-lactoalbumins, immunoglobulins, beta-lactoglobulin, andactoperoxidase .

These will contribute significantly to having a positive impact on health markers, since they possess, among others, the following properties: antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, support for the absorption of iron, improvement of intestinal flora, …


Benefits of Whey Protein or Whey Protein

We can list a possible list of benefits, that both types of proteins are going to share
  • Help to lose weight and maintain muscle mass , as it helps to help high protein diets
  • Quality protein contribution for muscle growth
  • Support to optimize physical recovery after stressful activities, such as training with loads. You can alsoreduce the recovery time to be in better physical condition for the next session
  • Raise the levels of glutathione , one of the most powerful antioxidants available in the body
  • Increase the function and the correct maintenance of the immune system


The Whey Protein is undoubtedly a great source of nutrients

CFM or Cross-Flow Microfiltration

This technique corresponds to the one that offers the best whey processing.

The processing method employs a low-temperature technician of whey microfiltration to obtain a high protein content as a result, being greater than 90%.Likewise, the integrity of the protein fractions, as well as vitamins and minerals, remain intact; Extremely low levels of fat and lactose are achieved, and a non-denatured protein (maintains the primary molecular structure)

Unlike other methods that use chemical agents, such as the Ion Exchange, the CFM technique uses ceramic filters of optimum result, undoing the unwanted elements, and allowing to achieve the highest level of protein purity .


Both WPC and WPI can be obtained from this method. If you want to know more about the Importance of the CFM Method , click

Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) or Whey Protein Concentrate

This type of protein would be the first resulting product after processing the whey. It is considered as the best-selling protein supplement thanks to its efficiency and to be more economical. Its use could be said to be intended to provide protein in a diet, in which we seek a convenient way to meet our protein requirements. If our intention is to provide a quality protein supplement for our muscle growth phase (volume) or to maintain the current weight, without making a large outlay, this will be the most interesting option.


Among its features we will find:

  • The content of proteins, depending on the method of obtaining, will range between 55-89%
  • Usually have more fats and carbohydrates
  • It would not be recommended for lactose intolerant
  • It has the best flavor
  • You may have a digestion problem

Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) or Whey Protein Isolate

The serum isolate protein would be located as the one that provides the highest level of purity, gram per gram of product, reaching levels of percentage > 92% . It is obtained from continuing to process the WPC, and therefore, the result will be an extremely low protein in fats and carbohydrates , with minimal traces of lactose or in some cases negligible, and that will be destined for a more demanding public. Also, you will not normally have any problems with digestion or upset stomach.


In this sense, those people who control millimetrically their diet, with an important objective to define the musculature, would be much more optimal. It does not mean, on the contrary, that a person who does not have this goal in mind, and simply seeks a contribution of proteins, will be able to make perfect use of this type of proteins.

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

The main difference between isolated and concentrated whey protein is based on the manufacturing process

% Proteins 89-93% 55-89%
% Carbohydrates down above
% Fat down above
Purity above above
Lactose down above
Dissolution above above
 Definition Diet  above  down
 Maintenance Diet  above  above
 Volume Diet  above  above
 Price  above  down


  • The isolated protein will be a purer protein, with much lower levels of lactose and fat . This is beneficial for those athletes and / or athletes who look for a certain weight, according to their competition, or they need to go down to enhance their athletic qualities.
  • The lower levels of lactose help reduce bloating that some people suffer when taking whey protein. If you have lactose intolerance and problems with swelling, WPI may be your best option.
  • The most negative side of acquiring the isolated protein is that it has a slightly higher price than the concentrated protein.
  • Both types of proteins can fit perfectly in both maintenance and volume diets for their protein intake and in amino acids, and where you tend to raise calories (volume diet) or maintain the normocaloric diet (maintenance diet).


In general, you have to take into account some considerations before choosing the type of whey protein, personal goals, such as nutrition or sports goal. The Whey Protein Isolate undoubtedly has the advantage in terms of quality and quantity of protein per serving, but as mentioned before, whey concentrate tends to be more economical, a very important factor nowadays.



In the market we can find certain whey protein products where it is common to contain an isolated and concentrated whey protein mixture, so we have an option that shares a price somewhat lower than a WPI but of higher quality in composition than a WPC

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