Whey protein isolate – as the name suggests – is an isolated protein made from whey concentrate.
Considered an ‘elite’ supplement, it’s popular with athletes and fitness enthusiasts of all levels, renowned for its superior uptake rate and bioavailability (BV). It’s naturally rich in branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) – the key components to mass building/maintenance.
Whey isolate is produced using microfiltration techniques to remove the majority of the fat and carbohydrates (lactose) in whey concentrate. This refining process alters the protein concentration to typically 90% or more, and so it is considered the ‘purest’ form of whey. Because of its purity, it’s said to be absorbed rapidly, making it the ideal choice for post-exercise consumption.
If you’re monitoring your intake of carbohydrate (and fat), protein isolate can offer an advantage; it supports muscle protein synthesis in the leanest way possible. It’s also a great option if you’re intolerant to lactose, as regular, whey concentrate can prove problematic relative to this.
Whey protein hydrolysate – or hydrolysed whey – is the result of whey solates being ‘pre-digested’ or ‘hydrolysed’ into smaller proteins and amino acids. This is believed to further increase their BV and rate of absorption.
You’ll often come across whey isolate and hydrolysate in protein blends, or ‘staged-release’ protein. They might feature alongside whey concentrate and micellar casein, which are digested at different rates. This offers a steadfast formula that theoretically, kick-starts the growth and repair of muscle tissue, supporting the recovery process over a prolonged period.
Whey isolate is often included in protein bars, snacks and meals, as well as ready-to-drinks (RTDs). With the latter akin to a soft drink (rather than a milkshake) they provide versatile, nutritional support. This can assist you in reaching your fitness goals, no matter what you’re trying to achieve. What you’re getting with whey isolate is a quality protein source with little else added. It’s designed to promote muscle development, and is suitable for both mass building and fat loss plans. Endurance athletes can benefit from whey isolate, alongside bodybuilders… and any persons in between!