Ask The Trainer #114 – Whey, Isolate Or Food?


Hi. I’m trying to lose weight and get toned. What type of protein would be best for that? Do I need isolate, pure whey, or just protein from food? I’m kind of new to this stuff. Thanks,



Hi, Tremayne. Should you use whey, isolate or food? That’s a great question. One of the primary reasons whey protein is so famous in the world of bodybuilding and fitness is thanks to its ability to assimilate more quickly than other high-protein foods, like meat and cheese.

The fact that whey protein assimilates so fast makes it an ideal protein to consume before and after workouts. The faster a particular protein digests and assimilates, the sooner its amino acids will enter the bloodstream and to help promote recovery and growth.

Whey Studies

The benefits of whey protein have been supported by more clinical research than any other popular sports supplement, other than creatine. A study published in the journal- Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise, showed that the amino acids found in high-quality whey protein activate particular cellular mechanisms, including a mechanism known as mTORC-1, which supports protein synthesis, thyroid function, and also helps prevent reduction of testosterone levels following exercise.

These valuable properties stem mostly from the high doses of naturally occurring branched chain amino acids found in quality whey protein. Leucine in particular, which is mostly responsible for the activation of the mTOR (Mammalian Target of Rapamycin) mechanism that boosts protein synthesis and builds your muscles.

Leucine Content

Just to put the leucine content of whey protein into perspective— 100 grams of chicken contains 1.4 grams of leucine, 100 grams of beef contains 1.7 grams of leucine, 100 grams of eggs contain about 1.1 grams of leucine, but 100 grams of quality whey protein will contain a whopping 8 grams of leucine. So, aside from the fact that whey protein digests much faster than other food sources of protein, it also contains significantly more leucine.

Whey vs Isolate Protein

You mentioned pure whey versus whey protein isolate. Here is the difference: During the processing of whey protein isolate, most of the fat and lactose has been removed from the protein during the filtration process. This results in a product with a higher overall protein content that also digests and assimilates more rapidly compared to a whey protein concentrate.

Pure Whey contains both whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate. In the case with whey protein concentrate, the protein is not as filtered down as much during production so it retains more of its original constituents, i.e., fat and lactose.

Now, almost right away people assume this is a bad thing. Hold the phone! Tthe leftover fat found in whey protein contains some unique compounds that are valuable to the immune system. Immunoglobulins and lactoferrin are among these compounds. This is why I generally consume more whey protein concentrate throughout cold and flu season. That being said, I have found value in incorporating Training Ground Isolate before and/or after workouts and then use Pure Whey to bridge the gaps between my primary meals.

Lactose Intolerance

Individuals who suffer from lactose intolerance would tolerate whey protein isolate better than protein formulations that include whey concentrate. So if you’re among these individuals, I would suggest using whey isolate as your exclusive protein supplement.

I hope this helps answer your question! I wish you all the best in your health and fitness goals!

Prove ‘Em Wrong,
Chad Shaw

Have A Question For Chad?

Just click the button below.