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Isolate vs Concentrate, Hydrolysate

Whey protein comes in three main forms; the most popular is isolate, followed by concentrate and hydrolysate. But what is the difference between these different types of whey protein?

The difference in these products mainly comes down to the filtering process and the breaking down of amino acids into smaller and more readily absorbed protein; but at what cost? And what difference does it make?


Protein isolate contains far less fat and lactose than concentrate protein powder; in fact it is typically made up of around 90-94% protein. Whey isolate goes through an additional step in processing where the majority of the fats and lactose get removed; because of this additional step isolate protein absorbs faster than concentrate does.

Unfortunately during this process some of the immune boosting protein sub-fractions such as Alpha Lactoglobulins and Lactoferrins end up getting removed along with the fats. Lastly, whey protein isolate tends to be more expensive, typically it will run you around 25-35% more than concentrate.


Whey protein concentrate tends to be one of the most affordable protein supplements on the market. Concentrate protein typically contains around 70-85% protein and contains more fat and lactose than whey isolate or whey hydrolysate.

Unlike Whey Isolate, whey concentrate does not go through as many filtering processes so none of the beneficial bio-active growth factors are removed from concentrate.

A good analogy is to think of concentrate protein as tap water and isolate as distilled water; the tap water (concentrate) contains more minerals, which can be beneficial for you, yet the distilled water (isolate) is very pure and leaves out almost all other substances.

Concentrate is like Tap Water


Hydrolyzed whey isolate has been even further broken down beyond regular whey isolate which creates small peptides that are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. But like whey isolate this process will further remove some of the health promoting substances found in less processed forms of whey protein. Because of these extra processes, whey hydrolysate tends to be one of the most costly protein supplements on the market.


Isolate Benefits

  • Faster absorbing than concentrate.
  • More protein per serving than concentrate.
  • Lactose free and low in fat.

Isolate Negatives

  • More expensive than concentrate.
  • Some beneficial protein sub-fractions removed.

Concentrate Benefits

  • Inexpensive.
  • Beneficial protein sub-fractions included.

Concentrate Negatives

  • More fat and lactose than isolate.
  • Absorbs slower than isolate.

Hydrolysate Benefits

  • Absorbs faster than isolate and concentrate.
  • Very little, if any lactose and fat.

Hydrolysate Negatives

  • Costs more than isolate and concentrate.
  • Beneficial protein sub-fractions removed.