The Ultimate Guide to Whey Protein Isolate
Ask any gym veteran who has spent lots of time during all sorts of workouts, and they’ll all tell you that you can’t just rely on working out and a proper diet alone to build bigger muscles or to lose weight.
You will need a supplement to really get you going.
And the first supplement you need to get, they’ll say, is whey protein.
They may even insist that you get the best whey protein isolate you can buy.
You do realize that protein comes from many possible sources. But the whey protein isolate is in many ways the most effective of them all.
What’s Whey Protein Isolate?
It’s common knowledge among many people that you need protein to provide the raw materials your muscles will need to rebuild and become bigger.
Since it’s not practical to wholly rely on food sources for protein, a protein supplement helps a lot in making sure you don’t lack for the protein you need.
It can bust your budget when you eat too many steaks just to get enough protein for muscle-building.
Now there are many types of protein, and they can come from a wide variety of sources.
Whey protein actually comes from milk.
Casein protein makes up about 80% of the milk protein, while whey protein makes up the rest.
The whey is actually removed as a liquid from the solid curds when you turn milk into cheese.
Whey is made up of amino acids, which proves useful for tissue repair and muscle growth.
That’s a common attribute of all proteins.
What makes whey protein so special and the first choice of many workout wizards is that it comes with an unusually high concentration of BCAAs.
These are the compounds that boost protein synthesis, reduce protein breakdown, and improve overall gym performance.
But when it comes to whey protein, you still need to make a choice between whey concentrate (which is often called just plain “whey protein”) and whey isolate.
Whey isolate is what’s left of whey protein when you take away all the fat and lactose content.
Countless studies have compared the effects and benefits of the whey protein isolate with other types of protein, and whey protein isolate generally comes out on top.
Differences between Whey Protein Concentrate and Isolate
There’s an ongoing whey protein vs. isolate debate in fitness forums on what’s best choice of whey protein to take.
You get a high percentage of protein at 70% to 60% with whey protein isolate.
You also only get low amounts of fat and lactose.
However, some say that there’s really no contest in the whey vs whey isolate discussion.
That’s because with the isolate, virtually all the fat and lactose are removed so you really get extremely minute amounts remaining.
Because of the removal of the fat and lactose, the concentration of the protein jumps higher to 90% to 95%.
You’re left with a purer form of protein that can pack quite a punch for your workout results.
Still, the whey isolate vs. whey won’t be definitively settled anytime soon.
Unfortunately, there aren’t too many long term studies of the two whey protein types to have a final conclusion as to which is better.
In many concentrates, the levels of lipids such as CLA, phospholipids (1), and growth factors are much higher compared to those in the isolates.
The concentrates also commonly have higher amounts of lactoferrin and immunoglobulins (2). So for some people, whey protein (concentrate) is still the preferable option.
Also, you can’t ignore the fact that whey protein concentrate is the most popular form, which is why it’s usually referred to as just “whey protein”.
It’s also much easier to find cheap whey protein, and its affordability helps make it all the more popular.
Why pay more if there are more affordable alternatives that are just as good.
But if you’re going for the more effective whey protein option, it’s got to be the isolate.
It may cost a few dollars more, but you’ll get better results whether your fitness goal is to build bigger muscles or to lose excess fat.
You may also find the best whey protein isolate for weight gain by checking out the ones with higher calorie content.
Top 8 Whey Protein Isolate Products
If you’re considering going with the isolate version, the next step is determining the whey protein isolate that’s best for you.
You should check the price, the flavors, and the number of reviews with perfect ratings.
You should also tailor your choice with your particular circumstances and fitness goals.
There are several exceptional options, each one with their various benefits:
…even for just the simple reason that it’s often the bestselling whey protein isolate powder in just about every reputable online retail store.
This has garnered thousands of reviews, and the majority of them consider this the best option.
It’s easy enough to understand why it has earned so much praise.
You do get a hefty dose of 25g of protein per serving, and that’s just with 1 scoop.
Yet that comes with very low carbohydrate amounts, which makes it great even for low-carb diets.
It has BCAAs and L-glutamine too.
You also get a nice blend of vitamins and minerals, to help improve your general health.
100% Lactose Free Whey Protein
It’s great for the lactose intolerant, and it’s free of gluten as well.
Extremely Flexible Too
This powder can be mixed into a drink or shake, or used for muffin recipes.
It mixes easily enough with a spoon, though a blender is still the best option.
This works for many types of fitness goals, which also explains its widespread popularity.
For the muscle-builders, it’s great for building and repairing muscles since you get the copious amounts of protein you need.
You can also use this to make sure you get your daily requirement of protein, which can actually be challenging if you’re on a strict vegan diet.
It can stand as a snack in between meals, so that you feel full and you don’t get cravings for high-calorie snacks that can wreck your weight loss plans.
It’s even great for the elderly, as the high quality complete proteins (with all the essential amino acids) can help you maintain your muscle health even as you get older.
This comes in several flavors, including Dutch Chocolate, Creamy Vanilla, Banana Cream, and Strawberries & Cream.
There’s even an unflavored option so you can put in fruits or mix the powder in your drinks without worrying how the powder will affect the final flavor.
If you want flavor, you can always add it to a glass of milk or milk chocolate. It works with juice too.
Or you can mix it with fruits in a blender for a nice fruit shake.
Some people recommend mixing in vanilla extract, and you can even find users who like the taste as it is.
The unflavored version also works best with food recipes.
It does mix very well with various drinks, and that’s always a relief considering the unappealing prospect of powder clumps in your drink.
This is another extremely popular protein powder with thousands of customer reviewers giving it overwhelmingly positive reviews.
It comes as no surprise when you get a dose of 27g of protein per serving.
This is why so many people consider it the best whey protein isolate for building muscle.
The fats and carbs each total less than 1 gram, and it contains only 3mg of cholesterol.
This comes with the complete amino acid profile, plus – you also get vitamins and minerals.
These include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, and potassium.
It doesn’t contain artificial additives, and you also won’t find corn, gluten, or yeast.
It does contain soy and milk, so you need to make sure that you’re not overly sensitive or allergic to either ingredient.
However, it only contains trace amounts of soy, and it doesn’t contain soy-based protein that can be problematic for those with thyroid issues.
However, there is a very small chance of GI issues, as a handful of reviews have attested to.
This is not a common complaint at all, but then at least you should be aware that a few customers have testified to issues like stomach cramps, constipation, diarrhea, and gas.
In general, most people find it safe and tasty, and plenty get lots of energy out of each serving.
You have up to 17 different flavors to choose from, so any concern about a taste that suits you should be dismissed.
These flavors include Orange Dreamsicle, Fudge Brownie, Chocolate Peanut butter, and Gourmet Vanilla.
There are also 4 different sizes, with the largest at 5 pounds that offers a very reasonable price on a per-pound basis.
The taste is great when you pick your favorite flavor, and it does help that it mixes very easily without any clumps of powder to be found.
There’s also no aftertaste, according to most people who have tried different flavors.
This is hydrolyzed, which makes it extremely fast-digesting.
You’ve got a high amount of protein at 25g per serving, and that’s great for muscle development.
You also have 5.5 grams of BCAAs and the leucine is at 2.7g per serving.
It’s also terrific that it doesn’t have high calorie content, so it easily rank among the best whey protein isolate for weight loss for you.
The fat and the sugar level each don’t exceed 1g.
It’s also gluten-free and it’s lactose-free too, so the lactose-intolerant should be able to enjoy this.
Actually, the lack of lactose may also be the reason why there aren’t any substantial reports of GI issues when using this brand of whey protein isolate.
That’s certainly a relief, especially for those who have experienced that unpleasant side effect with other brands.
Plenty of customers have attested to how effective this is for people who plan to build bigger muscles, and it helps with those who wish to shed excess body fat.
Even older users have commented on how well this really works, and lots of 60-year old gentlemen do enjoy being complimented on their physique when they’ve used this for a while.
With a 1.8-pound bottle and a 5-pound bottle option that cuts the price by $5 per pound.
You don’t have to try if you like the taste, as it is natural unflavored.
With each serving, you get 25g of protein along with BCAAs.
The formula also contains Vitamin D, calcium, potassium, and iron.
Yet you also get only 0.5g of fat, less than 1g of carbohydrates, and 10 mg of cholesterol.
This offers high bioavailability, so not much of nutrients will be wasted and you’ll absorb the nutrients you need.
It’s also easy to digest so it won’t take time until the protein comes into play for your muscles.
For those who have rather restrictive diets, this brand is a great choice. It doesn’t have artificial ingredients at all.
It’s kosher, non-GMO, and it doesn’t have any gluten either. It’s been micro-filtered for high quality and it mixes very easily.
NOW has manufacturing facilities in the US and Canada, so quality control isn’t a concern.
In fact, the facilities in Sparks and Bloomingdale come with super-advanced testing labs.
They use the newest analytical instrumentation so that they can perform up to 16,000 tests on the ingredients and finished products.
The facilities are also green and GMP-certified, and adhere to LEED program specifications.
They advocate the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, and also give to charitable organizations.
A single scoop of the powder is all you need for each serving, and you can mix it with juice, milk, or even just plain water.
NOW also sells Flax Seed Oil for this, which can provide you with even more nutrients.
The overwhelming majority of customer reviews give this a perfect rating, and it’s easy to see why.
It offers the protein and other nutrients you need, and it is sensitive to various dietary restrictions. It even subscribes to the Green philosophy while donating to charity.
Aside from the lack of obvious flavor options and just a couple of size options, this protein powder is great. It really works, especially if you subscribe to 21st century concerns such as being gluten-free and non-GMO.
That’s because cows normally feed on grain that are filled with toxins, which goes into your body.
Now this protein powder comes from the milk produced by grass-fed cows as well, and these cows are hormone-free too.
To complete the picture of having absolutely no strange ingredient in the mix, this also doesn’t contain preservatives, sweeteners, or even sugar. There’s no gluten as well.
The whole product is basically entirely whey protein, with less than 1% sunflower lecithin that’s also non-GMO.
The lecithin is there to make it a lot easier to mix with your drink.
This organic whey protein isolate is also unflavored, though it somehow tastes better than regular whey protein because the manufacturing process uses low-temp drying techniques. Even its texture is better.
This has zero fat, less than 1g total carbs, a ridiculously low cholesterol level at 2 mg, and a massive 27g dose of protein.
It also has iron, vitamin A, and calcium.
Unfortunately for the lactose-sensitive, this has milk which may cause allergic reactions.
It’s a relatively new company, but then it solidly subscribes to 21st century sensibilities with its sourcing from grass-fed cows. The company also gives at least 1% of their sales to charity.
Of course, you can also help yourself to this protein powder, as you can enjoy it in so many ways.
You can mix the powder in a smoothie that also has berries and a banana. A scoop of the Grass-Fed protein powder can be added to a cup of coffee to start your morning right.
For breakfast, you can also use the powder to mix with your pancakes.
Let’s start with the fact that it is 100% completely natural.
It doesn’t use artificial flavors or sweeteners.
It contains sodium, potassium, calcium, iron, and phosphorus.
The total fat is 1.5g, the cholesterol level is low at 5mg, and the total carbs total 6g.
A serving size uses 2 scoops of the stuff, but that comes with several advantages.
This is safe enough for toddlers from ages 1 to 3 that you can give them half a scoop each day in their drink.
The same dosage applies for children from 4 to 8 years of age.
Children from 9 to 13 can take a scoop, which translates to an additional 10g of protein.
For older teens, adults, and seniors, the regular 2 scoops will suffice. Curiously, this is also good for expecting mothers who can consume 3 scoops of the drink every day.
This mixes easily with a spoon when you mix the powder with 4 ounces of juice, milk, or water.
There is no grittiness that’s unfortunately common in other protein powder supplements. You can also mix this in a shake or ice cream.
This is available in 3 flavors, so you can pick Chocolate, Dutch Chocolate, Vanilla, Chocolate Mint, or Wild Strawberry.
This seems like a rather limited range of flavor options, but the flavors do seem to suit plenty of people.
Basically, what we have here is an utterly safe protein powder which even children and pregnant women can take. The 20g of protein is not insufficient, since obviously you can just prepare another extra serving or add another scoop if you’re trying to build bigger muscles.
If only there was unflavored variant or many other flavor options, this would be great.
But try the available flavors anyway, as you may likely find the taste appealing like many customers do.
However, for those who want something different there are other options like vanilla, strawberry, French vanilla, and mixed berry.
It’s 100% natural – organic whey protein isolate, so that should satisfy many who are against artificial ingredients.
In fact, the protein is also sourced from grass-fed cows which aren’t treated with bovine somatotropin (BST) growth hormone or antibiotics.
It also has the essential amino acids.
It also has 5g of BCAAs, along with lots of other amino acids. It offers calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, and potassium. These come from whey and cocoa for the most part.
The total carb content is 3g, with a cholesterol level of 15mg.
The sugar level is 1.5g with no added sugars. The calorie content isn’t bad at 125 calories either. Best of all, you get 26g of protein per serving.
This does not contain egg or fish, nor does it have soybeans, peanuts, and tree nuts.
It also doesn’t contain rice, barley, gluten, or yeast.
However, the downside is that it was manufactured in a facility that processes products like shellfish, milk, eggs, tree nuts, and peanut flavor. So there is still the slightest chance of an allergic reaction for some people.
With the low heat processing, it’s not denatured protein. Its lack of artificial sweeteners should appeal to many users and of course the sourcing of the protein from grass-fed cows is always a nice touch.
The taste is smooth and not chalky at all, and it should be a good rink as long as you pick the flavor that suits your taste buds.
So what’s the catch aside from the slight allergenic risk? Well, it’s not the cheapest protein powder on the list, that’s for sure.
Plenty of pros and college athletes have complained that this had happened to them, so if you’re playing in a league it may very well happen to you.
But with this ON isolate, it won’t.
That’s because it has been completely tested for banned substances, so it’s absolutely safe and legal.
This also contains just 1g of sugars and 3g total carb, with total fat also at just 1g.
The 25g of protein is great for muscle building, but it doesn’t load you up with too many calories at just 120 calories per serving. It also contains calcium and iron.
On the downside (at least for some people), it does contain milk and soy so those who are sensitive to these ingredients should be careful. This also comes with artificial flavoring, though based on many of the reviews this isn’t really a deal breaker.
You do have 4 flavors to choose from, so pick from Chocolate Shake, S’mores, Snickerdoodle Cookie, and Vanilla Soft Serve. Yes, it’s true that the flavors are rather strange, but that may be fun for you.
What is great for many is that this is made by Optimum Nutrition, and it’s a famous brand in the protein powder industry.
You can be very sure of its quality and safety, and most think it’s great. It’s somewhat new in the market, but early reviews are generally terrific.
Unique Benefits of Whey Protein Isolate
Whey protein is probably one of the first supplements you need to get, as it offers several crucial benefits that can help you attain your fitness goal.
Whey protein isolate is a type of whey protein but it’s in a cleaner and purer form. The concentration of the protein is much higher, and it can reach up to 90%.
The benefits you can get from whey protein isolate include
- You get greater muscle strength and muscle mass when you take the whey protein isolate when you also lift weights, compared to the results you get with just weightlifting. One study found that with whey protein isolate, the increase in muscle mass is greater by 5.5 pounds than without the supplement.
- It can help with gaining lean muscle mass, which means you don’t put on too much excess body fat while you build your muscle. That’s the main problem with gaining muscle during the bulking phase. Often you need to take in more calories, and your body can react by building up fat stores even as you build bigger muscles. But you can avoid this with whey protein isolate.
- It also helps with weight loss, as lots of studies have shown involving middle-aged overweight guys. It’s shown to be even more effective for weight loss than soy protein. The whey protein makes you feel fuller, so you don’t get cravings for afternoon and midnight snacks. Also, the bigger muscles also help to boost your metabolism so you shed excess fat faster. This is why weightlifting can benefit with your weight loss workout efforts.
- It can lower your blood pressure too. It contains peptides that have in studies have indicated that blood pressure drops when whey protein isolate is taken as a supplement. One study showed that with 27g of whey protein twice a day, the systolic blood pressure drops by 4%. There’s also a 3% drop in diastolic blood pressure.
- Whey protein isolate alleviates the symptoms of depression and stress. This is due to the tryptophan and glutamine found in the isolate. Tryptophan helps your body to produce serotonin, which can make you feel depressed or anxious if you have low levels of it. When you increase the serotonin level, you’re generally happier as a result.
- Because isolate is a purer form of protein, there’s not much room for anything else. On its own, it doesn’t have much carbs or fat. Often these total less than 1g each. This also helps with weight loss as higher protein diets tend to improve your metabolism to boost weight loss.
- The isolate is also mostly free of lactose, so it contains only about 1% lactose even though it comes from cheese. This is low enough that even the lactose intolerant won’t have trouble with the isolate.
- It’s a complete type of protein, which means it has enough amounts of all the essential amino acids your muscles need to rebuild with greater mass. You have to understand that the body doesn’t produce these essential amino acids naturally, so this means you’ll need outside sources. If you don’t tale these amino acids in your diet or in supplement form, you may end up with muscle loss instead.
- It’s easy enough to digest, so you can gain the nutrients and make use of the protein much more quickly. This is especially true when you drink the whey protein isolate.
- Whey protein isolate has higher levels of leucine, compared to soy protein isolate. Leucine helps with shedding fat tissue, because the body expends more energy when it processes leucine. It also helps with protein synthesis and muscle-building.
- The isolate has high levels of cysteine which really boosts your immune system. Women with high cysteine levels are also less likely to get breast cancer.
- When your limit yourself to a vegetarian diet, you may end up having some problems in providing yourself with enough protein during the day. That’s the challenge when you’re not allowed meat or fish, which are the primary sources of protein. The isolate can help compensate for the protein deficiency in your diet.
- Whey protein goes through your stomach much more quickly, and it is quickly absorbed in the intestine. Your body is able to make use of the protein much more quickly. In contrast, casein goes through your stomach at a much slower rate.
- It is better absorbed by the body compared to soy protein.
Most Popular Protein Isolate Flavors
If you want to make sure that you’re well-motivated to drink your protein powder shake or mix, you better make sure that you pick the right flavor that suits your taste buds.
On the other hand, it’s very possible that a brand of protein isolate may not come in a flavor you like.
Still, some flavors are highly popular. They’re popular among the customers because they like the taste. But the flavors can also be popular because they’re easier to prepare.
Take chocolate. It’s one of the most popular flavors in the world. It also comes in plenty of varieties, so you won’t get sick and tired of a particular chocolate flavor. You can mix it in milk or water and it will taste fine.
Manufacturers also love offering their isolates in chocolate flavors because they only need chocolate or cocoa powder to create the taste.
These sources aren’t particularly hard to obtain, so creating the flavor is quite easy for them to do. A laboratory isn’t even need to make the flavor.
These advantages also apply to vanilla, which is actually considered the most popular flavor compound in the world.
It seems so generic that the word vanilla is often a term that denotes something so basic or common.
Again, manufacturers like offering their isolates in vanilla form because they can easily create the flavor from vanilla beans so the isolates can be all-natural.
Strawberry is also another favorite, and creating the flavor requires just fresh strawberries. People love it in their protein powder because they can mix it easily enough with a juice drink.
There’s a trend with protein isolates to come in coffee flavors, such as cappuccino and macchiato.
That’s basically an acknowledgement of the increasing popularity of coffee drinking in the world.
In addition, it makes sense if the protein drink tastes like coffee when you drink the shake first thing in the morning. You may even want to try out mixing the protein powder into your cup of morning coffee.
However, there’s a lot more people opting for the unflavored version these days.
That’s because it’s the version that can mix with any concoction you may want to create in your blender.
When you mix in various fruits to go with your protein isolate shake, the taste may not be as pleasant if you mix in a protein isolate with its own flavor.
Just make sure that you like the taste. Buy them in the smallest packets first so you can just try the taste. Try to find several favorite flavors so you can have some variety. Then buy them in the largest containers so that you pay much less per pound of the protein powder.
Whey Protein Isolate Side Effects
Let’s first set something straight.
For the most part, whey protein isolate is extremely safe.
It can even be taken by children and pregnant women.
In many cases they’re virtually completely safe, except if you don’t take the directions for use seriously.
It can be pretty tempting to drink too many whey protein isolate drinks during to course of the day.
But most of the time, the problem starts when you take too much off the stuff. That’s when the problems start. These include GI issues, fatigue, and headaches.
Some of the products may contain milk, and others may be manufactured in facilities that also make commonly allergenic food items like peanuts and shellfish.
But the whey protein isolate itself doesn’t really pose a risk of side effects.
There should be no problem as long as you don’t drink too much of the stuff. And if you want to make it even safer, go for 100% organic whey protein Isolate here.
Where to Buy Whey ISOLATE Supplements?
It is theoretically possible that you may find these items in your local health store, but it’s unlikely.
Your better option is to go online, where many of these products are all found in one retail store such as Costco, Walmart, and GNC.
Going to an online retail store makes more sense since all the brands are available and you can easily try out several brands at once with one purchase.
Your best bet is still Amazon.com, however. The best whey protein isolate supplements are invariably found there, and the site also enjoys having the most number of reviews. The site itself is eminently reputable and stable, and the delivery service is topnotch.
What you should avoid is buying from websites that are not secure enough.
They may even be fake “official websites”. You may end up losing your money if the seller doesn’t deliver.
It’s also possible that you may receive fake or contaminated products. With Amazon.com, however, you can be fairly sure that the seller is legit.
Whether you’re aiming to build muscle or lose weight, you really have to work out properly.
So are you determined to work out to achieve your fitness goal?
If that’s the case, you also need to get whey protein isolate. It’s pretty much an imperative. A lot more supplements are not as important as the additional protein you pack for your workout and muscle-building needs.
Don’t tough it out by not using supplements. If you accept the necessity of it, you should try the isolate as it’s the purer form of whey protein.
It’s effective, extremely safe, and obviously legal for official league play.
Don’t forget to try the various flavors, either.
Every now and then you should try a new flavor so that you can discover if they’re more to your liking. It also helps if you have several different flavors of the isolates at home or at the office, so you don’t tire of the taste too quickly.
So look over our recommendations for whey protein isolate and pick a few of them for a test drive.
This type of supplement is much more effective at its supposed job because the science is dead-on.
There are no clever marketing schemes that can confuse it. The facts are clear about whey protein isolate benefits, and it’s time for you to enjoy them.
FAQ – Questions & Answers:
QUE: Which is the best Lactose free protein powder listed above?
Either of these premium brands will not only provide you with all the benefits of natural proteins, GMO free but you'll never have to worry about lactose problem.
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