Whey Protein

Whey protein comes from cow’s milk and is a by product of the standard cheese making process. It is commonly used as a supplement in the body building world because it’s such a good source of protein which is easily and quickly digested by the body.

“Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet, eating her curds and whey” 

The above verse from a children’s nursery rhyme refers to what happens during the cheese making process. Cottage cheese is made of curds and whey; the clumpy bits are the curd and the more liquid parts whey. That’s why cottage cheese is a great, natural source of whey protein. It’s also pretty cheap.

Diary Protein Vs Plant Based Protein

Because whey protein is derived from diary it is more easily absorbed than many other proteins, for example from plant based ones, so they are more readily available for use in the body. Whey protein also contains much higher levels of amino acids which are essential for maintaining a healthy body and repairing your muscle tissues after a hard workout.

There are three main forms of protein derived from milk:

  1. Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC)
  2. Whey Protein Isolate (WPI)
  3. Hydrolyzed Whey Protein (WPH)

Let’s have a look at each one in a little more detail.

Whey Concentrate

This is the rawest form of the whey protein which, as stated above, is the direct by-product of the cheese making process. Being the purest doesn’t mean the best. In this case whey concentrate contains the highest levels of lactose, carbohydrates and fats.

Whey Isolate

To make whey protein isolate you start off with whey concentrate and put it through a filtering process. This process removes the water from whey and results in it being almost lactose, carbohydrate, fat and cholesterol free.

Whey isolate is a very pure form of protein and has a much higher protein level when compared to concentrate.

Hydrolyzed Whey

The newcomer to the protein supplements market, hydrolyzed whey protein is different to both whey concentrate and isolate because it has been hydrolyzed. This results in the amino acids, which are essential for muscle growth and function, to be absorbed much more readily and delivered to the muscles more rapidly.

Hydrolyzed whey has been “predigested” using enzymes, which means that some of the work that would normally occur within the stomach has already been done and therefore the proteins can be absorbed at a faster rate than normal.

Although it is more expensive, people who want a faster digesting, post-workout protein shake often opt to buy the hydrolyzed protein version because of it’s fast absorption rate. Furthermore, because of the way it has been processed, hydrolyzed whey can reduce the chances of gut problems like bloating.

Whey Concentrate, Isolate and Hydrolyzed Comparison

What follows is a comparison table between the different types of whey that are available on the market today

whey protein

TypeProtein ContentLactose PresentAbsorption RateUse
Concentrate28-89%YesSlowSnack, pre workout, mix with food
Isolate90+%Small to noneMediumSnack, post workout
Hydrolyzed90-95%Usually noneFastPost workout


Buying a protein powder is usually time consuming because you have to try and decipher what is good and what is not. I hope with this article that you are a little more informed about the different types of whey there are and which is most suited to you. Check out our protein comparison table to compare protein powders most suitable for your goals.