Whey Protein Isolate vs Hydrolyzed

By Xwerks Nutrition

Confused at the differences between whey protein isolate and hydrolyzed? We hope to clear up the confusion below:

The Basics

Whey Isolate - Whey protein isolate is created when whey concentrate (the most basic form of whey protein) is microfiltered removing basically everything that isn't protein. This means you are left with more pure protein without fats and even lactose.

Hydrolyzed Whey - Hydrolyzed whey goes through an addition process where the protein is exposed to heat, acid or enzymes that break down the bonds hold amino acids together. Protein makers typically claim this process 'pre-digests' the protein which enhances bioavailability, making it digest faster and increases protein synthesis.

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The Science

Digestion Speed - There is simply no conclusive scientific evidence supporting claims that hydrolyzed whey digests faster than isolate. Whey in general is a very fast absorbing protein, spiking aminos in the blood only 40-60mins after consumption. Even if we were to assume hydrolyzed whey DID absorb and digest faster, there would be no additional benefit.

Bioavailability - Whey already has a bioavailability of 96%+, meaning the percentage of protein actually digested when it is consumed. There are currently no studies showing hydrolyzed whey has a higher bioavailability than whey isolate or concentrate. So even if we were to assume hydrolyzed whey had an unrealistic 100% bioavailability rate, it would still only be 4% better than basic whey.

The Facts

Whey Isolate removes almost all unwanted fats and carbs, including lactose. Hydrolyzed does remove all fats and lactose which is beneficial if you are hyper sensitive (can't have any) to lactose. Unlike hydrolyzed, the filtration process for isolates (if non-ionized) is able to maintain all the natural and beneficial micro fractions found naturally in milk.

These micro fractions have many benefits including; improved digestion, mood, immune system and more.  Hydrolyzed whey also has a very unpleasant, bitter taste, that is typically masked with a hefty dose of sweeteners and sugar. Isolate has a very smooth taste with little to no aftertaste.

To conclude, whey protein in general will help you build lean muscle. When choosing a whey protein supplement, look past the hype and stick with the science.