Whey Protein Isolate, Hydrolysate, and Concentrate: Which Is Best?

whey protein hydrolysate concentrate isolateYou may think of protein supplements as a concern for muscle heads, but they’re for everyone – provided that you choose the right one for you. You need dietary protein for your body’s day-to-day upkeep and to age well. Up to a third of older adults don’t get enough protein for various reasons, like reduced appetite and changing tastes.1 There are lots of ways to get protein, and here, I’ll go through one of the most convenient and beneficial forms: whey protein.

What is Whey Protein?

Whey is a protein-packed byproduct of cheese production. It’s that pseudo-clear liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained. Cheese makers used to toss it aside as waste material, until food scientists started to understand its value.

Today, we know that whey protein isn’t just a single protein. Instead, it houses an impressive array of proteins: beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin, and serum albumin. These are complete proteins, comprised of the essential amino acids central to protein synthesis and increased muscular hypertrophy (muscle growth).

Our bodies can produce non-essential amino acids from lesser amino acids, but we cannot produce the essentials ourselves; we must eat quality protein sources. Whey is a naturally occurring, essential protein that satisfies the body’s protein requirements – hence its popularity.

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Is Whey Protein Dairy?

Whey comes from milk products, so yes, protein is dairy. However, some people who cannot tolerate dairy can tolerate whey.

It depends on which component of dairy gives you trouble. Most people are either:

  • Lactose intolerant. Lactose intolerance is a sensitivity to a form of sugar in dairy products
  • Casein sensitive. Casein sensitivity is an intolerance of one of the proteins in dairy products

Some dairy-sensitive people react to both lactose and casein.

Whey protein contains trace elements of lactose, so extremely sensitive people may have problems digesting it properly. Because whey is, by definition, the stuff that separates from the casein (a milk protein) when it curdles, it has even less casein (save for trace amounts) – rarely enough to be noticeable to anyone but the most casein-intolerant. But that’s pure whey, straight from the cheese factory. Whey protein powders have been processed to have even less of both.

With whey protein supplements, lactose may pose a problem, but casein almost certainly will not. But, certain forms of protein supplements have enough of the casein and lactose removed that they will be agreeable to people with sensitivities.

Whey Protein Isolate vs. Concentrate vs. Hydrolysate

When choosing a whey protein powder, you’ve got a couple options:

  • Whey protein concentrate
  • Whey protein isolate
  • Whey protein hydrolysate

Whey Protein Concentrate

Whey protein concentrate contains about 70-80% protein, along with some fat and lactose. Whey protein concentrate is less processed and more whole, but has less protein.  Otherwise, it’s probably fine to go with concentrate for most applications (or otherwise further you could just eat a steak instead).

Whey Protein Isolate

Whey protein isolate is about 90-94% protein, and is made up of pretty much pure protein with very little of the other dairy elements remaining. To get there, it goes through a more rigorous refinement process than whey protein concentrate and hydrolysate do.

Bodybuilders are drawn to the “purity” of whey isolate, lured by the moderately higher protein counts. Isolate is also considerably more expensive than concentrate, and the purported boost in beneficial effects on protein synthesis are overstated; drinking any kind of whey protein shake will have a beneficial effect on your muscle recovery and protein synthesis. If cost is not an issue, or you’re mildly sensitive to dairy, then isolate is your best choice.

Sweetened with monk fruit extract and coconut milk powder, this mix is made with only the good stuff, so you can shake up your day and help support lean muscle mass without compromise. Get Primal Fuel in Vanilla or Chocolate

Whey Protein Hydrolysate

Whey protein hydrolysate is “predigested” whey, or whey that has been partially broken down using enzymes. The process makes it easier to absorb, and potential allergens are broken down to inactive forms. That said, people who have dairy allergies should consult their doctors before ingesting.

The catch? It’s expensive. Whey in general is already highly bioavailable and easily absorbed by our bodies, so absorption is rarely an issue with whey. Hydrolysate is great marketing. That’s about it. The elite of the elite – those hulking magazine cover superheroes with tanned, smiling faces atop straining, veiny necks – may have actual cause to maximize protein absorption, but most of us definitely don’t need to fuss over that stuff.

The exception would be if you are old enough to have dental issues or compromised digestion that would make it hard for you to absorb protein. In that case, skipping a few steps in the breakdown process may be a good thing.

If you’re keto, keep in mind that whey protein hydrolysate could spike your blood sugar.2

How Much Protein Do You Need?

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDI) for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight, or 0.36 g protein/lb.

That’s the official, on-the-books answer, but I have differing opinions on actual protein needs. I’ve been an elite competitive athlete, and I have lots of friends who have various reasons to optimize their protein intake. Protein needs are highly individual, and depend heavily on your goals, age, and activity level.

I go into the details in this article.

Is Whey Protein Primal?

Whey protein falls into the 80/20 category. It isn’t strictly Primal (and certainly not paleo) in that it wasn’t available to Grok, but it can be an effective, occasional high-protein meal replacement with most – if not all – of the potential allergens mitigated or negated. It’s an analog, a bit like dairy itself. If you can’t handle any dairy, skip it, or see how you do with whey isolate. If you can handle dairy without a problem, a whey protein powder is a pretty good way to shuttle nutrients into your body, especially if you’ve chosen to go the post-workout nutrition route  – which I usually don’t.

Going Primal means acknowledging both the limitations and the advantages of modern life. I wish I could laze around on the savannah for days following a successful kill. I wish I had ten hours of leisure time every day. The reality is that we’re a busy bunch of people, and if we’re truly serious about maximizing our quality of life, slamming down a quick protein shake so we can get to the office a little earlier might mean we can leave earlier, too, and get home in time for a date with the significant other, a hike at dusk, or an extra couple chapters on that great book we’ve been meaning to read. If that isn’t a feature of modern life that can help us follow the Primal ways more easily, I’m not sure what qualifies.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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130 thoughts on “Whey Protein Isolate, Hydrolysate, and Concentrate: Which Is Best?”

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  1. Beware of whey!!
    It’s harmless to most, but some find that ingesting it causes rashes, especially on the thighs.

    I love whey protein but found I’m one of the lucky people that are allergic. I thought the rash was poison sumac, but narrowed it down to the addition of whey protein to my diet. Several weight lifting forums confirmed that an allergic reaction is most often a thigh or torso rash.

    So if you’ve never tried it, try with caution, even if you’re fine with milk or other whey containing products.

    1. OMG -thank you for posting your experience. I’ve been battling a rash on my thighs & after going to a Naturopathic medical school for testing – whey/cashews/coconut seems to be triggering an immune reaction.

  2. Thanks for the post Mark, what do you feel about the source of milk used to make whey and the processing techniques?

    On a side note, is there any valid reason to supplement with branced chain amino acids and glutamine? There seems to be research pointing to the anabolic effects of these taken during or immediately post workout.

    1. There are definitely circumstances where BCAAs and glutamine are very useful. Because the BCAAs/Glutamine are broken down during gluconeogenesis that accompanies intense training, supplemental use allows the body to source them from the diet, rather than break down skeletal muscle to do so. In reality, it’s more of an anti-catabolic effect than a purely anabolic one, but the end result is the same. Glutamine is also useful for reducing intestinal permeability. Not Primal by any means, but useful for athletes/bodybuilders.

  3. Question:

    I am not allergic to dairy of any kind. Or have this symptom with any dairy:
    But most of the time, when I consume whey, It gives me something similar to heart burn, but doesn’t last as long. And theres more of a sharp pain in my stomach associated with it.
    But it all goes away after about 10-30 minutes.
    It doesn’t happen every time though.

    What is causing this?

    1. Maybe the quality of the whey and other ingredients in the powder might be the cause? If you see a long list of chemical ingredients, maybe it’s time to look for a better product.

      1. i currenty use “ON gold standard” from all the research i’ve done it seams to be as good as any of the best out there.

        I’ve tried several different types.

        1. The best is home made whey from organic raw milk ,try it it’s the easiest thing in the world to make and the bi product is cheese, !!very nice very nice!! quote Borat

    2. whey burps usually happens with gainers 2- 4 scoops per serving.

      too much too fast. try a half serving and eat it slower .

      Have a water chaser thats a large about of protein with none of its natural moisture or supporting tissue.

  4. What about egg white protein? I have been purchasing the You Shakes and have asked for egg protein instead of whey since I have had some problems with casein. Any thoughts? I have about 5 minutes for breakfast most weekdays, so I whip up a shake (egg protein, unsweetened cocoa, and a little stevia, sometimes some added cream). This keeps me full until lunch.

    1. I would also like to know how egg white protein stacks up against whey protein. I’m accustomed to egg white protein powder, but not wedded to it and will happily switch if the primal consensus tilts in favor of whey.

      1. Hey guys, I’m not sure of the actual differences. But on Loren Cordain’s blog he specifically recommends egg white protein over whey protein.

        From the Q&A:
        “Q: I started the program and I was wondering if Whey Protein or protein powder in general is against the diet.

        A: Egg protein powder is a better option in order to avoid certain harmful whey proteins, specially if you suffer from an autoimmune disease. Whey protein also produces hyperinsulinemia (high insulin levels) which on the long run may produce insulin resistance and hence hormonal disruption.”

        and that is from https://thepaleodiet.blogspot.com/2009/11/paleo-diet-q-11409.html

        1. So that is why I have a hypoglycemic attack every time I try to eat whey protein! Thanks for the tip!

        2. I used to use eggwhite powder in my protein shakes, but switched to WPI for one simple reason – it tasted disgusting! Also excessive (woteva that means) consumption leads to a biotin deficiency. I might add that the reason most people i know use WPI rather than WPC is the fat content (highly relevant for body builders). WPI is <1% whereas WPC is approx 8%.

  5. I’ve been using “Muscle Milk” recently after I got a free sample at my last triathlon. The stuff is amazing. The nutrient profile is designed to resemble breast milk (which may not matter, but it is), tastes much better than other protein supplements, and actually dissolves in water or milk, which other supplements don’t (which annoys me to no end). It also has some fat content, which most protein supps. don’t.

    Note: I am not affiliated with any supplement company, I just really like the stuff.

    1. Dave, I have used Muscle Milk before. Here’s a copy of the nutritional profile:
      EvoPro™(Calcium And Sodium Caseinate, Milk Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Peptides, Lactoferrin, L-Glutamine, Taurine), Lean Lipids™(Medium Chain Triglycerides, Sunflower And/Or Safflower Oil, Canola Oil, L-Carnitine), Maltodextrin, Resistant Maltodextrin, Fructose, CytoVite I™ Vitamin And Mineral Blend, Potassium Chloride, Fructo-Oligosaccharide, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Chocolate Cookie Pieces, Salt, Acesulfame Potassium, Sucralose, Soy Lecithin.

      The calcium and sodium caseinate is not the best form of casein. Except the MCTs the fats are from sunflower, safflower and canola.

  6. I have a question about brands. I believe that like vitamins, whey protein is not regulated by the FDA. That means that the label may or may not be accurate. Are all brands created equal?

    1. In Australia I have access to a whey protein concentrate and isolate by a company called Pure Nutrition. The whey protein comes from pasture-fed cows in New Zealand that are also hormone free. I am going to try some next week. They are on the internet.

  7. Beverly products always ranked very high when I used suppliments. Muscle Provider is the best tasting protein I ever tried. FWIW.

  8. I’m much more of a ‘steak 1-2 hours after workout or continue fasting till before bed’ kind of guy myself.

    Recently made a protein shake Responsibly Slim, raw grass-fed milk, grass-fed cream, eggs and coconut milk, though – it was pretty fantastic!

    1. I’ll second the responsibility slim. It’s a great 80/20 tool and tasty as all get out.

  9. Thanks so much for this timely post. I was just searching this morning to see if whey protein isolate would be acceptable for me (I have a slight intolerance to casein). I’ve given up dairy, but do find protein shakes to be a convenient source of nutrition on my busiest mornings. Happy to read that I don’t have to give them up!

  10. i recently bought whey protein through mercola, and then found out you can buy it direct from warrior milk for half the price. was annoyed, but now i know what to do next time. grass fed whey protein concentrate, tastes sublime.

    not to promote other products on mark’s board though, i’m sure the responsibly slim is great too 😉

  11. can you cook with whey? i have seen it used in lots of recipes. is it heatable?

    1. I have used it along with almond flour, coconut milk and eggs and walnuts to make pancakes – they came out well, and the whey protein seemed to fluff them up a little bit.

    2. I’ve made individual “brownies” when I am desperate for baked goods…they are not exactly primal but hey…

      1 egg
      3-4 T melted butter
      1 T of sweetener (I use Sweet Fiber)
      1 T vanilla whey protein powder
      1 T Chocolate Powder
      1 T Coconut Flour
      Water if batter is too thick (from Coconut Flour)

      Mix ingredients. Put into ramekin or small container. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. Eat.
      NOTE: If using sweet fiber – blend into the egg before adding liquids…it has a tendency to clump.

  12. Any thoughts on pea protein? hemp protein? brown rice protein? etc. My body does not take well to whey so I’m curious to hear your thoughts on plant/grain based protein powders.

    1. I don’t think proteins from plant sources score very high. But if you want to try a good brown rice protein that’s better than most out there, you can find it on sunwarrior dot com.

      1. I recall reading a lot about hemp protein being pretty legit.

        Full-spectrum of aminos and all that.

        I’m not 100% sure – something I’m sure Mark will touch upon next time.

        Same Grok time, same Grok channel!

    2. I’m interested in this as well. Maybe a comparison between protein powders in the future? I no longer consume grains, but I have wondered if there’s any downside to brown rice protein because it comes from a grain.

  13. As with all dairy products, I dig whey protein. Two or three times a week I’ll have a shake with a scoop of Responsibly Slim a handful of berries and whatever else I have around… spinach, kale, pineapple, avocado. Sometimes I’ll throw in some creamtop milk too.

  14. Whey protein and fish oil is my after-workout drink these days. I’ve been putting on a lot of muscle so I have no complaints! Good thing though, it’s not the tastiest of beverages.

  15. Can anyone recommend a gluten-free, sugar-free whey protein powder? I like to keep protein powder on hand for crazy busy days or emergencies, but since diagnosed with gluten/casein intolerance, I’ve avoided them completely. Thanks.

    1. If you’re in the UK, myprotein .co.uk sell good, unflavoured protein powders.


      Caveat here, in their own words, “Ingredients: Undenatured Whey Protein Concentrate, instantising agent (soy lecithin) [a very small amount is added].”

  16. Whats the deal with Mark’s brand of shakes having an artificial sweetener in it?

      1. They have found it to shrink the hypothalmus in the brain and other issues. THere is little research because people assume its safe because it comes from sugar but it is in no way sugar. Go with stevia for sure.

  17. I am trying to get some pure WPI or WPC but cannot find any that does not have soy lecithin added.

    Is this something to be avoided?

    1. I bought my WPI from bulkfoods.com (it’s in their “Natural Health” section). It is 100% whey protein isolate (90% protein) with no other ingredients. It dissolves well without the need for any emulsifiers and takes good. I have no complaints with the product.

      1. Thanks for that tip, went to bulkfoods.com and got it all. WPI, Creatine, Dextrose, and Cocoa Powder (flavor the WPI) ALL for just (barely) over $100 including shipping. AWESOME compared to all the research I have done all day.

    2. Bluebonnet WPI—no soy lecithin, which I try as best I can to avoid, although it can be difficult. It’s even in Udo’s oil, which I won’t be giving up…

  18. Mark-

    Do you have any thoughts on the link between Crohn’s Disease and the bacteria Paratuberculosis, which has been found in Cow’s Milk? Could the bacteria also be found in Whey? It seems that some doctors and scientists are certain that this bacteria survives pasturization and is involved in Crohn’s Disease. The research linking Dairy to Crohn’s Disease seems alarming to me, particularly with most of our children taking dairy regularly, yet most people are uninformed about it. Below is a link to the most comprehensive article on the subject that I’ve found, if anyone is interested. I noticed that you mentioned the possible connection between dairy and Crohn’s in your (outstanding) book, and thought maybe you had an opinion about it? Thanks!


    1. I believe that RARELY it can survive pasteurization and its only an issue when it does. The bact is found in some raw milk but heres the kicker… if you consume raw milk your body will build up a tolerance to this bacteria and then you will not have any IBS/Crohn’s/UC (I cant rememer where i read this -sorry). This and the fact that raw milk has several inherent bacteria, which MAY disallow for the growth or survival of any Mycobaterium. Its when this bacteria survives pasteurization and is allowed to set up a resident infection that the bowel issues begin. Treatment with a specific antibiotic combination seems to be looking VERY promising in ridding the bowels of this bacteria and therfore allowing the repair and anti-inflammation of the gut as a whole.

      As for the whey, I would HIGHLY doubt that the Mycobacterium could survive the drying process. To survive in the whey powder they would have to for spores… which they dont.

      1. “RARELY it can survive pasteurization” — some more info on this:

        “[…] ‘Most medical researchers studying Crohn’s disease thing it’s an autoimmune disease. Nevertheless, a core of researchers continue to find troubling evidence of links between Johne’s and Crohn’s disease.’ […] ‘When the evidence is considered, it’s difficult to argue the case that the organism [Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis (Map)] is not involved. It is certain that M.paratuberculosis can be pathogenic in humans and that it’s very likely that it causes a significant portion—even a substantial portion–of Crohn’s disease in humans’ […] The FDA and the dairy industry argue that pasteurization is the only way to completely rid milk of pathogenic organisms; but the Johne’s bacterium survives pasteurization! […] In response the industry is moving slowly toward mandatory testing and disclosure […] and ultrapasteurization involving higher temeratures to kill the organism.”

        – The Untold Story of Milk, 2009 ed, p.239

        1. How interesting. I’m battling crohn’s right now and trying to eat only the purest food. I haven’t had dairy in years and am still battling it. If you have any other information that may be helpful I would really appreciate it. I am trying to get myself off of western medications completely but always encounter a serious flare up. Thanks for posting!

  19. I love whey. Some chocolate flavoured whey with some coconut milk is where its at!

    1. Cold processed whey does not have them. That means whey made under 120F and not exposed to chemical processing that denatures fat and protein. Most commercial powders have oxidized cholesterol, but you can buy a bucket of it for $20!

    2. I supplement with occasional cold-processed whey protein from grass-fed cows, which I feel is the best choice for a protein supplement. It *is* more costly but I definitely feel like I’m getting more out of it compared to the highly processed whey exposed to extremely high temps.

    3. Whey protein concentrates do contain cholesterol (30mg in a 30 gram serving for the brand I formerly used), which is almost certainly oxidized during the spray drying process. Whey protein isolates do not contain cholesterol (listed as 0mg per 30 grams on the brand I now use). I don’t mind eating cholesterol, but avoiding the intake of oxidized cholesterol is the primary reason I pay the premium for isolate instead of using concentrate.

  20. I recently read on someone’s blog about the merits of whey from grass-fed cows versus conventionally fed cows. It sounded like a shameless product promotion. Mark, is there a material difference?

  21. Check out the canola proteins that are on the verge of being accepted by the FDA for human consumption. Extremely high protein content with many advantages over soy and whey.


  22. I just want to echo some of the the comments. Is whey from a grass fed source superior or does the processing mitgate any benefits.

    Second, what does predigested actually mean? I’ve heard better absorbtion, but don’t you debunk that argument a little while talking about concentrate and isolate?

    1. @Jason,

      1. The whey protein from an individual cow has a predetermined amino acid sequence. The cow’s diet will not affect the whey protein at all. It will affect the fat content of the whole milk, especially the 0-6/0-3 ratio. However, nearly all of the milkfat is removed in the making of most whey powders. If you’re buying the powder for the protein, don’t pay extra for grass-fed.

      2. RE “predigested”: amino acids are linked together by peptide bonds to form proteins. Predigested proteins have some of the peptide bonds broken, which turns them into a mixture of amino acids, di-peptides, tri-peptides and oligo-peptides. This makes them absorbed more rapidly in your small intestine. However, if you have normal intestines, without celiac disease or other protein sensitivities, you should be able to digest whey protein without difficulty. Again, most people should not pay extra $ for “predigested” protein.

  23. Hi Mark. Love the blog, love the book, been living PB faithfully for over a month now and feeling fantastic. Thanks!

    I’d be really interested to see a follow-up to Gena’s question in the future post you mentioned.

    There seems to be a lot of information available about some very detrimental effects from “oxidized cholesterol”, including from some sources who would generally agree with eating Primal. It’s allegedly related to the processing done to extract the whey protein from the original dairy products. Would love to hear your take on the issue.

  24. I enjoy Whey Protein in my coffee in the morning. Fast way to get 25 g of protein, but it also acts as a creamer of sorts for me. Also like a Latte. (Sorry Grok – you never knew about those, did you?)

  25. A healty procesed food is still just procesed food,and seeing that i’m trying not to eat that stuff i would just rather spend the extra time and get my protin the old fashioned way, by eating a good piece meat. If you think that your to busy take a look at how you are spending that time, i thought i was busy but i discoverd that my problem was just shitty time managment, i fixed that and now i have all the extra time i always wanted to do all the stuff i thought i would never be able to do.
    Grok On

  26. Very timely post Mark. I was very curious about Whey protein since it came from milk. I lack protein so I have been supplementing my diet with whey protein after a workout.

    I think having it occasionally is fine with me as in 3x a week. When I have the money I will start to purchase more quality meats!

  27. I think the main point is that although protein supplements aren’t stricly primal; they are a good alternative to add to your food intake if you haven’t got other options. I myself always break my IF with a nice shake made with vanilla protein powder, a tsp of Greens+ and some frozen blueberries and strawberries. It gives me a real rush of phyto-nutrients and actually lets me go another few hours before I want some solid food.

  28. Thanks for the solid post, Mark. I was running low on whey, so it was very timely. I will definitely look for your follow-up next week.

  29. I really like the way the site has been going lately. Nice short, sweet and sensible post Mark.

    Nothing wrong with some protein supplementation, especially in overly active athletes or those looking to reduce calories temporarily for weight loss reasons.

    For the average caveperson… real food is fine.

  30. I’m curious if you have any specific brands of whey to use? Might want to address this in the follow up. I’ve been looking for a good minimum-processed, organic, grass-fed whey without any added fillers or chemicals.

    1. Check out True Whey (google it) – it’s very expensive though.
      I am in the UK so I use MyProtein for my bulk whey needs – very good company and excellent product range.

  31. Mark thanks for the post.
    I think Whey is the fast digestion protein, Casein is the slow one.
    Could you recommend when to take each one?

  32. Thanks for the post Mark. The only problem now is finding one that is good enough quality. It seems to be hard here in Australia to find good products. I have found a grass-fed, hormone free whey, but I still do not know whether or not it has been cold pressed. When they do not advertise these things you are never sure whether they are telling the truth or not.

    1. Hi Angelina. I’m Aussie too, and the best source I have found so far is MyoPure. Also the cheapest.

  33. Great post Mark!

    I still wonder why your formula contains soy protein, fructose, artificial flavors,… Why not just sell a pure whey concentrate from grass fed cows without all the additives? If one wants flavouring and added vitamins one can still mix it with fruits like berries, bananas,…

  34. Every time I try having Whey protein Isolate I feel sick to my stomach and have the same type of hypoglycemia attack that I experience when I eat unrefined grains. Why is that? Does anybody know?

  35. https://www.fitnessatlantic.com/whey_protein_hard_facts.htm

    Just take a look at this, this whey protein things is confusing me.

    Whey protein concentrate (WPC):
    Is the cheapest whey protein
    Is denatured – the beneficial protein structures are destroyed
    Contains higher amounts of cholesterol, oxidized to a large degree

    Hydrolyzed whey protein:
    Has hypoallergenic properties
    Is partially predigested – the degrees of predigestion vary
    Its amino acids are more readily available, one of them is known to have excitotoxic properties (glutamate)
    May play a role in excitotoxin-induced brain damage

    Ion-exchange whey protein isolate:
    Has low if any amounts of lactose, fats and cholesterol
    Many of the native whey protein structures are destroyed
    It is denatured to a large degree
    Beta-lactoglobulin globulin is present in higher quantities, which may lead to allergies

    Microfiltered whey protein isolate:
    Has low if any amounts of lactose, fats and cholesterol
    Retains its native proteins intact
    Is twice as expensive as WPC and ion-exchange protein
    Promotes muscle repair and growth
    Strengthens the immune function
    Has detoxifying and antioxidant properties

  36. Dr Mercola sells whey that is from raw milk, from grass fed, organic cows.

  37. I use a whey protein drink for breakfast most days, it lets me “eat” in class without being overly distracting to others.

    I *have* run afoul of a whey protein shake that had wheat gluten in it — no idea why that would be necessary — so keep an eye open for that when buying if you’re intolerant.

  38. I am still wondering why the responsibly slim contains sucralose instead of a natural sweetener-stevia.

  39. I’m also wondering about possible oxidation of cholesterol in whey protein. Can we be sure of avoiding that if it’s whey protein isolate? And is there anything to “microfiltered”? It’s hard to tell what is meaningful and what is marketing hype (and therefore meaningless). I used to use whey protein sometimes until I read about the oxidation of cholesterol in milk powder, etc., and the WAPF cautions against it.

    I, too, wonder why your whey protein contains sucralose and soy. And fructose? It seems there are better options. I wouldn’t trust sucralose, personally. I use some stevia, erythritol, and xylitol, but the latter two are quite expensive. Also, if artificial sweeteners are bad partly because they prime the body for sugar intake and therefore cause an insulin surge, wouldn’t the same thing be true for stevia? Xylitol and erythritol are not zero calories, so that wouldn’t apply, and they are the least distressing to the digestive system of all the sugar alcohols, according to my research. Plus xylitol fights tooth decay.

  40. What about the umbiqutious use of Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH) in all US milk (except organic). I am Canadian and BGH is banned here (as well as Europe). I specifically chose whey protien sourced from Canadian or European sources for this reason. Unless you are using a “boutique” whey protien in the US, the milk it is derived from almost certainly was produced with BGH. To me this is a much more serious issue to consider than if it is concentrate or isolate, sweetened with stevia or sucralose etc.

  41. I agree with mark, go with the protein concentrate and save money (aside from those lactose intolerant). Most people will not see a difference between the concentrate and the whey protein isolate. If you don’t mind spending the extra money, in my opinion it would be alright to experiment using it (sometimes you can catch a sale and snag some for under $35 for 5lbs) to see how you feel even if it is a placebo effect the cost may be worth it.

  42. For those looking for a grass-fed whey protein powder, check out Ori Hofmekler’s Vanilla Whey Protein Powder. It just has whey protein concentrate from grassfed, hormone free cows, vanilla flavor, and xanthan gum. Only 1 gram of sugar per serving.

  43. Just stumbled upon this post – a great one, and what a great resource!

    I’d like to answer a question posed by an earlier poster; can you cook with whey protein?

    Absolutely you can. However, you need to keep in mind that heat denatures protein, so if you intend to cook with it, buy a cheaper concentrate, and not an isolate (these whey proteins are manufactured with a cold-filtered ultrafiltration process that leaves vital fractions intact. Cooking will damage these).

    On other point; whey protein increases the production of glutathione, a critical antioxidant compound.

    For more, see…


  44. I often replace meals with a whey shake – added coconut oil or milk and berries – one problem I have experienced .. is .. *embarrassed look*, is severe constipation. I believe the whey is extremely hydrophilic, but even drinking in excess of 2 litres of water a day doesn’t help. Anyone else have this problem?

    1. Hi Jennifer. Which whey are you using and do you have problems with other dairy products? The reason why I ask this is because I also react this way to other dairy products and found that I could not tolerate whey concentrate, but I manage to handle the occasional whey isolate. I make sure that it is 100% pure and processed cold and from pasture-fed cows in New Zealand. I also have mine with coconut milk.

      1. I use only whey isolate .. and the brand I buy here in Canada has splenda. I only have this problem with whey, and not with any other dairy. Such a pain in the … you know what! LOL

  45. I try the protein from Primal Fuel and I found it excellent. It will be great to taste other flavour than chocolate or vanilla. Could berries be the next one?

  46. Mark, are there certain quality levels of whey protein?
    I’ve been asking around and some told me to beware of those that come in a big tub that cost around 20-40 bucks. Are there certain levels of protein quality to look for when choosing which to go with?

  47. Excellent post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed! Extremely helpful information particularly the last part 🙂 I care for such info much. I was seeking this particular info for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  48. What is the difference between brown rice protein and whey protein. I am lactose int. I just don’t know if the brown rice protein has the same benefit as whey protein.

  49. Whey kills! Unless you need easy, digestible protein; then it’s ok… maybe even great. I think most people subscribing to a epoch framework for their dietary needs would do well to incorporate some of this industrial revolution miracle powder into their lives. Hell, they may even break 180lbs!

  50. I was surprised at how well this mix tastes. I use a hand blender, and mix it with ice (4 or 5 cubes) and water. Tastes even better with milk, and once in a while I’ll throw in a banana and/or a shot of chocolate syrup. Just replacing 1 meal a day, I lost about 8 lbs. in a month, but of course I was also watching what I was eating.

  51. Hi Mark,

    I have your excellent book, and am now catching up on your web posts. My question is about whey protein in regards to concentrate/ isolate/ hydrolysate. Do you think that if somebody has an allergy to lactose, but still wants to get the fat from the whey into their system, that hydrosylate would be a good choice? that way you get the protein and fat, but not the carbs and lactose?

  52. Dear Sir,

    I am using whey powder but inever doing workout, so any problem it rise

  53. Hi, just a quick question, Is the following a healthy breakfast????, water, full fat greek yogurt, frozen berries, ground flaxseed, and a scoop of whey protein, all blended and consumed on an empty stomach (i read it is better to consume this on any empty stomach) many thanxs, irene

  54. I am allergic to Whey. I recently even tried Organic Grass Fed Non-pastuerized (processed) Whey hoping that I would be able to tolerate it, it was a no go! I am wondering if I could tolerate the Whey Protein Hydrolysate… I see that Mark stated that, “Whey hydrolysate is predigested whey protein that’s easily absorbed and virtually free of any potential allergens.” I wonder if I would be able to tolerate it. I tried egg protein, but if I take it in the morning after my work out, I will have cramps ALL DAY! Any advise?

  55. If you want to get serious about health ,and you’d like to go as primal as possible in regards to whey ,then you need to make un-denatered whey , I make it my self.Just aquire raw milk keep it between 22 and 26 degree’s Celsius for a few days, and then strain the whey threw a t towel or cheese cloth .congratulations you now have free cheese and the best whey protein on the planet.The liquid part is the whey by the way lol

  56. raw milk turns itself into whey and curds during the right temperatures between 21 and 26 degrees ,I think it is reasonably safe to say that mankind was smart enough to figure out that the milk of an animal other than a human could be somewhat nutritious, wouldn’t you? I don’t think I’m going out on a limb in saying people would have consumed whey upwards of a 50 000 years if not more infact I imagine that in a case of a hunter going on a long journey he might squeeze some of his mistress milk into a cup of some sought. When the milk fermented he would have Whey and curds.Organic Raw milk doe’s not smell like inorganic pasteurised milk when it goes off, infact it generally does go off it just turns into Maas or curds and whey. I don’t see how some one could argue the probability of this happening in times of need ,it’s a no brainer .

  57. I’ve recently learned about whey protein, but the country where I reside now I couldn’t find any protein powder.In the market they would offer me to buy commercial energy drinks instead 🙂
    Anyway after doing some research I was happy to find out that I can have homemade whey from regular raw milk of cow or buffalo. But the question is how many calories are in one glass of milk whey? And if I take it should i take it right after my workouts or with meals?
    PS it’s my first question on Primal website!!! Yahoo!
    I’ve lost 15 lb since 2012, but I was stuck on 120 lb and constantly was struggling not gain it back, which was becoming constant counting of calories, instead of just enjoying my meals! By the end of 2012 i was introdused to Primal and I started eating primal and I love it, loosing weight became enjoyable, my 3 lb welted away without any hard work. I’ve started to work out with heavy weights, hopefully will get that perfectly toned body! Besides my seasonal allergies are GONE! Hard to believe, but that is reality. It is sad that people have such a poor knowledge of nutrition , basically majority live for eating, instead of eating for living .

  58. I have difficulties digesting the Primal Protein powder. The strange thing is I drank protein powders for years and they never bothered me. It’s only recently that I’ve found that they do.

    Is it possible for my digestive area to build up a tolerance to it? The strange this is I don’t have problems with cheese, yogurt, or ice cream. But I have a huge issue with milk and frozen yogurt.

    Anyone have an idea why all dairy is not created equal according to my tract?

    I want to continue drinking the Primal Protein. It is hands down the best I’ve ever tasted to the point where I want more of it, but my rumbling stomach that kept me up last night can’t be sustainable.


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  60. Hello, I want to ask you that is it ok to use whey protein isolate in beginning of the workout. Which protein supplement type you would suggest to beginners.

  61. Whey protein has no side effects. You can take it. Ultimate whey protein supplements help your healths. Many whey proteins also available in the market.

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  63. Two brands I like are MRM and Blue Bonnet (grass fed). Good clean ingredients with hardly any sugar. Mix with water and enjoy mid workout until end of workout.

  64. I also think egg protein powder is a better option in order to avoid certain harmful whey proteins, specially if you suffer from an autoimmune disease.
    Whey protein also produces hyperinsulinemia (high insulin levels) which on the long run may produce insulin resistance and hence hormonal disruption…

  65. I’ve tried all 3 types of whey protein and can’t drink any of it. There is something about the commercial stuff that upsets my stomach, although real whey (unprocessed), as in homemade yogurt, doesn’t bother me.

  66. It’s worth noting (although studies are limited) that some athletes seem to show decreases in gut microbiome diversity when consuming high amounts of whey protein isolate, not concentrate.

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  68. Whey protein powders are fine as long as they do not have artificial flavors add – a big no no. Also, for those that have a tough time with whey you should try plant based proteins. I switched from whey to plant based 5 years ago. I tried several and found what I believe to be the best plant based protein on the market. I have been using Pure Food protein for the last 3.5 years. No artificial anything and only 7 ingredients (120 Calories; 2g Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 1g Sugar; 20g Protein). It’s ingredients assure you are getting all 9 essential amino acids. I am 64 years old and work out 3-5 days a week and have had the best muscle mass and am the strongest I have ever been. Also my BMI is 16%. BTW, Mark thanks for all your great (mostly great) articles and stories which I have read over the last 3 or so years.