Helpful analysis of Whey Concentrate Vs Isolate Vs Hydrolysate Vs Micellar Casein

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Rohit Jadhav Founder - M2PROTEINS

Whey Concentrate Vs Isolate

We will discuss about different forms of  Commercially available protein supplements.There are 4 major forms which are used to manufacture protein supplements.

  1. Whey Concentrate
  2. Whey Isolate
  3. Whey Hydrolysate
  4. Micellar Casein


Milk is the starting point for all above protein supplements. Milk contains about 80% casein and 20% whey. To learn more about the manufacturing process of whey protein read our other post.So lets get started on the topic.

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Whey Concentrate vs Isolate vs hydrolysate vs micellar casein

  1. Whey Protein Concentrate: Whey concentrate is the least pure form of Whey. The purity of whey protein concentrate is generally 80%.

Most of the sports nutrition supplements use 80% whey protein concentrate. The ones with lower concentration are primary used in children drinks, health drinks, bakery products and prophylactic supplements.

Whey protein concentrate contains about 80% by weight protein and the rest 20% contains carbohydrates in the form of lactose, fats and micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals along with other components.

Whey concentrate is best suitable for

  • Beginners
  • People who want budget friendly protein
  • People who don’t mind few carbs and fats.

Whey Concentrate is not suitable for 

  • People who are on weight loss diet
  • People with lactose intolerance

2. Whey Protein Isolate: Whey Protein Isolate is the purest form of whey proteins available. Whey Isolates are usually 90% pure, meaning it contains about 90% protein by weight and rest of 10% is carbohydrates and fats.

Whey protein Concentrate is purified further to achieve higher degree of purity, and the final product is known as Whey Isolate.

Since both types start with the same material and differ only in purity, the form and type of amino acids present in them remains the same.

Whey Isolate contains the least amount of carbs and fats in them which makes it the choice of advanced athletes for their protein supplementation.

Whey Isolate taste a little bland as compared to whey concentrate, also when mixed with water or liquid the resulting shake is thinner than whey concentrate shake.

Whey Isolate is best suitable for

  • People who want to get muscle definition.
  • People who are on weight loss diet.
  • People who don’t mind spending little more.
  • Advanced athletes.

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Difference between Whey Concentrate and Whey Isolate per 100 gram of product*


Whey protein IsolateWhey protein Concentrate
Calories380 kcal409 kcal
Protein90 grams80 grams
Carbs3.4 grams7-8 grams
Fats0.8 grams7 grams
Lactose3 grams7-8 grams

 *values are approximate

3. Whey protein Hydrolysate  Whey protein Hydrolysate is obtained from either whey concentrate or whey protein Isolate.

Whey protein is partially hydrolyzed with the aid of hydrolyzing enzymes and the amino acids are broken down at specific sites into smaller fragments followed by purification to make whey hydrolysate which may result in faster absorption and digestion.

Most of the hydrolysate contain mix of fragments of amino acids and intact amino acids. The ratio of both is known as degree of hydrolysis.

Some studies in rats show that whey hydrolysates are effectively utilized than intact or free amino acids. Although trials performed in humans show conflicting results.

One study shows that whey protein hydrolysate offers faster recovery than whey isolate when consumed after workout.

Whey hydrolysates are more expensive than whey concentrate and isolate due to increased processing required to manufacture them.

Whey hydrolysate have bitter taste and the taste masking/ flavoring further increases cost of the final product.

4. Casein: Protein in milk is composed of about 80% casein and 20% whey. Casein is usually known as slow digesting protein and thus helps support muscle synthesis over prolonged period of time.

Casein is commercially found in two major forms known as calcium caseinate and micellar casein.

Calcium caseinate is formed when casein is reacted with alkaline substance such as calcium to form calcium caseinate. The resulting product has improved solubility with higher mineral content than micellar casein. But as an adverse effect of this, proteins get denatured during additional processing.

Micellar casein form micelles when mixed with liquid hence known as micellar casein, it has lower solubility than calcium caseinate which further slows down its rate of absorption.

Casein contains about 90% denatured protein and is rich source of BCAAs and minerals. Casein is usually taken at night before going to sleep to support muscle synthesis overnight.

Micellar casein is usually more expensive than calcium casein and is more preferred when choosing slow release protein.

Now a days many manufacturers develop products to contain more than one form of whey protein. It is usually done to achieve specific goals that suits needs of consumer. Blend of different forms can offer cumulative advantage but consumer should choose wisely depending on her budget particular needs and fitness goals.


Conclusion:  Both whey concentrate and Isolate offer about the same nutritional value, but people who are specific about fats, carbs and fitness goal can choose according to their needs. Whey hydrolysate offer added benefit of faster absorption but is expensive and have bad taste. Micellar casein is a preferred choice for slow release protein which is suitable for night time supplementation.

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