Last Updated on March 20, 2020

Whey Protein Concentrate Vs. Whey Protein Isolate Vs. Whey Protein Hydrolysate

An Introduction To Protein Supplementation 

whey proteinIt seems like every year there’s a new form of protein being hyped up and marketed as the best kind. We started out with the simple knowledge that we need to consume some source of protein after a workout in order to produce muscle recovery and growth, but now we’re at the point where experts in the industry refuse to consume anything but Whey Protein Hydrolysate.

What came along in between the realization of the need for protein and the final conclusion that Whey Protein Hydrolysate specifically is the most efficient? How did we come to realize that Hydrolysate is the best, and what’s the reason and the science behind why it’s the best? Let’s dive in!

Why Do Your Muscles Need Protein?

When you consume food that’s high in protein such as steak, fish, or chicken, you’re providing your body with a tremendous source of amino acids, which are the key to building muscle. The body uses amino acids to accomplish an extremely vast range of tasks, but the most important purpose of amino acid consumption when it comes to fitness is muscle growth and recovery.

If you don’t consume enough amino acids, and particularly branched-chain amino acids, on a daily basis, then your muscles are incapable of growing larger. Not only that, but the recovery process also becomes much slower and less efficient.

Exercising, and particularly lifting weights, breaks your muscle fibers down very extensively. The whole purpose of breaking them down is to give them the opportunity to build themselves back up larger, healthier, and leaner. Therefore, much of the effort you put into exercising can be futile if you aren’t consuming enough protein (and thereby, amino acids) on a daily basis.

Can I Just Eat Chicken After A Workout?

You can eat chicken or other protein-rich foods after a workout, and it will certainly provide your muscles with some vital nutrients that will ultimately benefit the growth and recovery process, but most of the protein and amino acids won’t actually reach your muscle fibers by the time its done being digested.

Food can be a great source of protein, but suffice it to say, there’s a reason protein powder and protein supplementation in general is so popular. Protein powder is pure protein, which means it doesn’t contain anything else in it that’s going to hinder your body’s ability to digest and absorb the proper nutrients in order to stimulate muscle growth.

Protein Craze #1: Whey Protein Concentrate

People quickly realized that eating a protein-rich meal wasn’t the most efficient way to deliver amino acids to your muscles, and then Whey Protein Concentrate was created. Everyone was super excited about Whey Protein Concentrate because it was this new, cutting-edge way to increase your daily protein intake and produce faster muscle growth.

Well, they weren’t wrong, but the problem with Whey Protein Concentrate lies in the purity level. Concentrate is actually only 80% protein powder. Now, that may seem like a high number, but it’s actually fairly low.

Think about it…if you’re buying protein powder, shouldn’t you be getting pure protein powder? How come it’s only 80% protein and what is the other 20%?

The answer is that the other 20% is fat, cholesterol, lactose, and other things that can actually be detrimental to your health and potentially cause you to gain fat. Once people realized this, experts in the fitness industry had to find a new way to get people whey protein. The sports nutrition companies realized they needed to come up with a purification process that could make the protein powder more efficient.

Protein Craze #2: Whey Protein Isolate

Just like that, Whey Protein Isolate was born. In order to create Whey Protein Isolate, sports nutrition companies have to spend a little more money by putting their Whey Protein Concentrate through a process called Cross-Flow Micro-Filtration.

This process turns the whey protein into what we now call Whey Protein Isolate, which has a purity level of 90%. Researchers found that this process was the most efficient purification method for protein powder. In other words, the purest your protein powder could possibly get is 90%.

For a long time, Whey Protein Isolate dominated. It was the king of protein supplements. Everyone was searching for pure Isolate as opposed to Concentrate, and the discovery of Whey Protein Isolate actually kind of killed of Concentrate in a way.

You’ll still see Concentrate in TONS of protein supplements out there today, but that’s just because most companies in the industry are cheap, and Concentrate is the cheapest form of protein for them to use. They don’t care about their customers’ results; they only care about making money.

With that being said, there are plenty of companies out there who DO care about their customers’ results and the quality of their products, and these are the companies that choose to use Whey Protein Isolate. Isolate was king until researchers discovered an even more cutting-edge way to improve the revolutionary nutrient delivery system that protein powder is…

Protein Craze #3: Whey Protein Hydrolysate

Researchers in the sports nutrition industry discovered that there was, in fact, a way to make protein powder even more efficient. They found they could improve the nutrient delivery system by taking whey protein that’s already undergone the process of Cross-Flow Micro-Filtration and putting it through a new, cutting-edge process called Enzymatic Hydrolysis.

Whey protein that has undergone Enzymatic Hydrolysis is called Whey Protein Hydrolysate. The hydrolysis process breaks the protein particles down into tiny pieces, which allows for the protein to be more easily and efficiently digested.

More importantly, it allows for the protein to be absorbed into your muscle tissue exceptionally quickly. Plus, you have to keep in mind that after having undergone all of these processes, the protein is now extremely nutrient-rich. The essential amino acid count is now extremely high; in some products as high as 12 grams per serving.

Now, with Whey Protein Hydrolysate, we have extremely pure, nutrient-rich, ultra fast digesting and absorbing protein powder. Hydrolysate is the new king of the protein world because it produces the fastest results. It stimulates muscle growth faster and more effectively than any other form of protein powder and is miles better than Concentrate OR Isolate.

Whey Protein Hydrolysate Reigns Supreme

The best form of protein money can buy is hands down Whey Protein Hydrolysate, as it’s the only form of protein powder that has undergone both Cross-Flow Micro-Filtration AND Enzymatic Hydrolysis.

It’s the purest form of protein, and it is absorbed by the muscle tissue faster than any other form of protein available. Faster absorption means faster growth, which is ultimately what makes Whey Protein Hydrolysate the king of all protein powders.

Where To Find 100% Pure Whey Protein Hydrolysate

With all that being said, you’ve probably guessed by now that it’s the most expensive type of protein to manufacture, which means that most companies won’t use it. You would have a very hard time finding any products whatsoever that use 100% Whey Protein Hydrolysate if you had to search the market on your own.

As a matter of fact, you could probably find a few powders that contain SOME Hydrolysate, but there are basically no powders on the market that contain 100% pure Hydrolysate until very recently.

The only protein powder we have discovered that uses strictly Hydrolysate is Hydro Whey 100 by TEK Naturals. This stuff is by far our top recommendation when it comes to protein powder, but keep in mind, you do have to pay a few extra bucks due to the quality of the powder. If getting fit, staying fit, and building muscle quickly is important to you, we’d highly recommend spending the extra cash to get pure Hydrolysate.


Cory is a veteran health industry writer and content creator. His work has been featured in major publications such as MyFitnessPal, Healthy Living, and Low Carb Fanatics. His health industry writing career spans over nearly two decades.

In his free time, Cory enjoys snowboarding, fictional writing, and online chess.