What is the Difference Between Whey Protein vs Isolate?

What is the Difference Between Whey Protein vs Isolate?

We’re moving back to basics. When you think of whey protein, you probably envision scoops of pillowy powder being sprinkled into a smoothie at your gym’s juice bar. But each protein supplement is different and carries a unique set of properties that can best be utilized based on dietary needs and preferences. It’s important to have an understanding of what protein actually is.

What is protein?

On the molecular level, proteins are large, complex molecules composed of tinier, bead-like molecules known as amino acids (1). They are essential to building, maintaining, and replacing the tissues in our body, especially after tough training sessions that create tears in muscle fibers.

Most of the protein found in the bars and powders you see on the shelves of health food stores comes from milk and the liquid byproduct produced while making other dairy products from it, or whey.

What is whey?

Before milk is processed, roughly 20% of its protein is comprised of whey protein while the remaining 80% is made up of casein protein.

Each of these types of protein have different nutritional strengths. Whey is considered particularly beneficial for increasing the production of new protein in muscles, making it ideal to consume some form of natural whey protein supplement after a training session (2).

Whey protein is highly bioavailable and easily absorbed by our body. Whey is a “complete” protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids and the highest branched chain amino acid content found in nature (3).

“To date, dairy proteins seem to be superior to other tested proteins, largely due to leucine content and the digestion and absorptive kinetics of branched chain amino acids in fluid-based dairy foods,” (3).

As a high-quality dietary protein, whey is effective for the maintenance, repair, and synthesis of skeletal muscle proteins. Additionally, whey has the ability to act as an antioxidant, antihypertensive, antitumor, hypolipidemic, antiviral, antibacterial, and chelating agent (4).

That said, we’re shining the spotlight on one of Promix’s greatest passions: high quality, grass-fed whey protein powders.

There are different types of whey protein used in Promix’s natural protein supplements. The two most common are referred to as whey concentrate & whey isolate protein. Each undergoes a separate processing method and holds a different nutritional breakdown.

Whey protein vs isolate

After processing, liquid is dried away from milk’s protein in order to form those tasty powders that bulk up your smoothies. The concentration of protein is the main distinguishing factor between a whey concentrate and an isolate form. Whey concentrate goes through less processing and contains up to 80% protein (the remaining 20% of a whey concentrate solution is a mix of solid fats and carbohydrates also left behind when liquid is extracted). Whey isolate is put through additional steps to achieve an end result of up to 90% protein concentration, purposefully reducing the fat and carbohydrate content to around 10%. Promix Whey Protein Isolate goes one step further and only produces seasonally during the summer months for milk that is rich in immunoglobulins, lactoferrin, CLAs, L-Carnatine, and growth factors.

BOTH are excellent options to enhance lean muscle gain & strength, promote fat loss, and boost general nutrient intake while steering clear of common allergens.

Increase Lean Muscle Gain & Strength (1)

  • A meta-analysis found whey protein, alone or as a part of a multi-ingredient, could increase upper and lower body strength and promote lean body mass or fat-free mass gain in resistance-trained individuals. This enhancement was even more evident when whey protein was consumed with the addition of creatine (5).

Aside from its studied benefits in strength and resistance training, whey protein concentrate and isolate has also been found to be beneficial in aerobic exercise and training (6).

Total Body Fat Loss (1)

  • A 2018 randomized controlled trial found 16 weeks of moderate to high dosed whey protein supplementation, especially in combination with electromyostimulation, to be a feasible choice in addressing obesity and cardiometabolic risk in older men with sarcopenic obesity who were unable or unmotivated to exercise conventionally. Total body fat mass and waist circumference were significantly reduced, and total-cholesterol/HDL-cholesterol ratio was improved in men supplementing with whey protein alone, and in combination with electromyostimulation (7).

Improve Nutritional Status (8) & Boost Protein Intake (1)

  • Studies indicate that whey protein isolate consumption improves active B12 and folate status (9).
  • An additional randomized controlled trial from the Journal of Nutrition in Gerontology and Geriatrics found that whey protein supplementation improved protein nutritional status and rehabilitation outcomes in an elderly population (10).
  • 12 weeks of whey protein supplementation in hypoalbuminemic peritoneal dialysis patients resulted in significantly higher serum albumin, total nitrogen appearance (nPNA), and lean tissue mass index, compared to a control group. These findings demonstrate that consuming natural whey protein supplements improves nutritional status (11).

Allergy Diseases (2)

  • There is evidence to consider use of whey protein concentrate or whey isolate as an option for reducing the risk of any allergic diseases, particularly eczema (12).
  • A meta-analysis of clinical trials and intervention studies found a statistically significant 44% reduced risk of atopic manifestations, including atopic dermatitis in infants who received 100% whey protein partially hydrolyzed formula, compared with infants who received intact protein cow’s milk formula, proving that concentration matters. Furthermore, a subanalysis found that the incidence of atopic dermatitis was reduced by 55%. The authors of this study concluded that regardless of study design, infant population, or location, individual findings were consistent because a reduced incidence of atopic dermatitis was reported in all of the reviewed studies (13). For infants who are not exclusively breast-fed, the authors recommend feeding with 100% whey protein partially hydrolyzed formula instead of intact protein cow’s milk formula because of its evidential reduction in the risk of atopic dermatitis in infants, particularly in infants with a family history of allergy (13).

How much whey protein should I take (14)?

How many grams of protein you need in a day depends entirely on your body, age, genetics, current muscle mass and activity level, and fitness goals. The general Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) is .8 grams per kilogram body mass – that’s .36 grams per pound.

[ y o u r w e i g h t x . 3 6 ] = p r o t e i n i n g r a m s

However, if you are highly active, do any sort of weight training, or are looking to increase lean body mass and lose fat, a higher protein intake is often recommended. Maintaining a net positive protein balance gives your muscles what they need to repair and rebuild. Anywhere from .7-1 gram of protein per pound of body mass is ideal for those with active lifestyles and more ambitious fitness goals.

[ y o u r w e i g h t x 0. 7-1.0 ] = p r o t e i n i n g r a m s

A great way to keep track of how protein folds into your totally calorie count is to log what you eat each day either manually or in an app, such as MyFitnessPal. Keeping track of what goes into your body offers a system of checks and balances between proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, especially when you know what numbers and ratios you’re looking to achieve.

What are the best whey protein supplements?

To help you hit your ideal amount of protein per day, Promix created a wide range of natural protein supplements to solve every problem you might face along the way.

Whey Concentrate

Our grass-fed, cold-processed micro-filtrated whey protein concentrate powder comes from the milk of heritage breed cows on family farms. It is expertly formulated in five versatile flavors (unflavored, Indonesian vanilla, raw chocolate, chocolate peanut butter, and peanut butter) for a wide range of use in every day life.

Each serving packs:

+25 grams of protein

+5.9 grams BCAAs

+only 120-160 calories

Whey Isolate

Our seasonally produced whey protein isolate powder is also cold-processed and micro-filtrated to produce an ultra concentrated formula available in unflavored and chocolate.

Each serving packs:

+30-31 grams of protein

+6.9 grams BCAAs

+only 125-160 calories

What’s really special about Promix Whey Isolate? We use it to make Promix Protein Puffs, a fantastic, crispy, low-carb crunch that can be added to anything from cereals to oats, smoothies to baking mixes to create texture and shake things up.

Available in unflavored and chocolate, each scoop packs:

+10 grams of protein

+ZERO sugar

+only 50 calories

Whey isolate makes Protein Puffs, and Protein Puffs make Promix Protein Puff Bars, the perfect solution to satisfy your sweet tooth and smack your protein goals. We were sick of chewy, sticky, sugar-filled protein bars, so we dreamed up this tasty treat you could feel good about eating and sharing with other athletes, friends, and even kids!

Available in Madagascar vanilla bean, chocolate chip, and mint chocolate chip, each whey protein bar packs:

+15 grams of protein

+4> sugar than the standard marshmallow treat

+only 140-150 calories

+organic prebiotic fiber and organic MCT Oil for gut health and hunger control

No matter which of our all natural whey protein supplements you choose, you’re in goods hand.

If you have any questions regarding our natural protein supplements and how they support your training, visit our FAQs page, or feel free to email us at sales@promixnutrition.com. Be sure to follow Promix Nutrition on instagram for the most up-to-date announcements and more posts to inspire you!


(1) What are proteins and what do they do? National Institutes of Health Website. https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/howgeneswork/protein. Published August 7, 2018. Accessed April 2018.

(2) Product Reviews: Protein Powders, Shakes, and Drinks Review. Consumer Lab Website. https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/Protein_Powders_Shakes_Drinks_Sports/NutritionDrinks/. Published June 10, 2016. Updated May 17, 2018. Accessed April 2018.

(3) Thomas DT, Erdman KA, Burke LM. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2016; 116(3):501-528.

(4) Marshall K. Therapeutic applications of whey protein. Altern Med Rev. 2004; 9(2):136-56.

(5) Naclerio F, Larumbe-Zabala E. Effects of Whey Protein Alone or as Part of a Multi-ingredient Formulation on Strength, Fat-Free Mass, or Lean Body Mass in Resistance-Trained Individuals: A Meta-analysis. Sports Med. 2016; 46(1):125-37.

(6) Huang WC, Chang YC, Chen YM, Hsu YJ, Huang CC, Kan NW, Chen SS. Whey Protein Improves Marathon-Induced Injury and Exercise Performance in Elite Track Runners. Int J Med Sci. 2017; 14(7):648-654.

(7) Kemmler W, Kohl M, Freiberger E, Sieber C, von Stengel S. Effect of whole-body electromyostimulation and / or protein supplementation on obesity and cardiometabolic risk in older men with sarcopenic obesity: the randomized controlled FranSO trial. BMC Geriatr. 2018; 18(1):70.

(8) Whey protein. Mayo Clinic Website. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-whey-protein/art-20363344. Published October 19, 2017. Accessed April 2018.

(9) Dhillon VS, Zabaras D, Almond T, Cavuoto P, James-Martin G, Fenech M. Whey protein isolate improves vitamin B12 and folate status in elderly Australians with subclinical deficiency of vitamin B12. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017; 61(5).

(10) Niccoli S, Kolobov A, Bon T, Rafilovich S, Munro H, Tanner K, Pearson T, Lees SJ. Whey Protein Supplementation Improves Rehabilitation Outcomes in Hospitalized Geriatric Patients: A Double Blinded, Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Nutrition in Gerontology and Geriatrics. 2017; 36(4): 149-165.

(11) Hassan K. Does Whey Protein Supplementation Improve the Nutritional Status in Hypoalbuminemic Peritoneal Dialysis Patients? Ther Apher Dial. 2017; 21(5):485-492.

(12) Szajewska H, Horvath A. A partially hydrolyzed 100% whey formula and the risk of eczema and any allergy: an updated meta-analysis. World Allergy Organization Journal. 2017; 10.

(13) Alexander DD, Cabana MD. Partially Hydrolyzed 100% Whey Protein Infant Formula and Reduced Risk of Atopic Dermatitis: A Meta-analysis. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. 2010; 50(4):422–430.

(14) Gunnars, Kris. Protein Intake – How Much Protein Should You Eat Per Day? Healthline Website. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-protein-per-day#what-it-is. Published July 5, 2018. Accessed April 2018.

How much protein do you need? Protein Calculator