...A commonly asked question which has yet to be given a comprehensive, justified answer...until now! In short the answer is Isolate, but then again Monkey Nutrition would say that as this is the type of protein we sell. So the first thing that needs pointing out is that we could sell concentrate and from a profit point of view we probably should sell concentrate - but we don't. Whey protein concentrate is available in abundance at stupidly cheap prices when you buy direct from a manufacturer. It's so cheap that it can be bought and sold on again at cheap prices, whilst still providing a nice little profit! It is for this very reason that most brands still stock concentrate and whilst they also sell isolate because they know it's a superior product, you will very rarely get a definative answer to the question 'Which is best?' These brands make the most money on concentrate, so obviously they don't want to 'bad-mouth' it, of course they will point out 1 or 2 of the minor benefits of isolate, but they will never put it on the pedestal it deserves, simply because the profit margins aren't as good as the margins they get with concentrate.
At Monkey Nutrition we choose not to sell whey protein concentrate because there is no place for it in our superior range of products and we would prefer to be known for quality at reasonable prices, not for cheapness! That said, we believe in a fair trial and that is what we intend to give whey concentrate. Read on if you want to know why isolate is the 'whey' forward!
How much is a kilo of whey concentrate?
...upwards of £10? Sounds great, but what exactly are you getting for your money? An inferior, poor quality, horrible tasting product is the answer! Surely if you are respecting your body and what you are putting inside it, then it deserves the best at no expense spared! Lets start with protein by weight...Whey concentrate can be anywhere from 29%-89% protein by weight, this very fact alone should be setting off alarm bells in your head, especially as not all brands tell you at which end of this massive scale their concentrate is placed. Basically if the concentrate you're buying is cheap, then it has been poorly processed and will be at the lower end of this scale. Even the best quality whey concentrates will only be 70%-80% protein by weight and will contain 5% lactose, making it almost impossible to consume in large quantities if you are lactose intolerant. Whey isolates on the other hand are between 90%-98% protein by weight, meaning they are a purer, superior protein product. It doesn't take a genius to work out that no matter where you buy your whey isolate from, you are guaranteed at least 90% protein by weight in your scoop!...Consider this, as the protein level in concentrate decreases the amount of fat and lactose increases! Further to this concentrates contain 50mg or more of cholesterol, the more cholesterol a 'protein blend' contains the higher the amount of concentrate in the blend. They call it a blend, but really it's just a concentrate with a touch of other proteins...clever marketing!! Cheap whey concentrate products are constantly justifying their existence in the supplement world by quoting research that was carried out many years ago, with the highest quality whey products that weren't denatured due to the expensive processes used. At the time these processes did yield a top quality product, but in order to make it appealing to the masses the processes needed to be simpler and cheaper, the results are the concentrates of today, which are denatured!
When whey protein becomes denatured it means vital protein fractions are broken apart, resulting in zero biological activity of those fractions! Denatured proteins are also potentially harmful as they may become toxic in the body. Add to this the fact that the biological activity of a whey protein is dependant more on the intact protein fractions than its amino acid profile and you should be starting to understand just how inferior a concentrate product actually is!
The process whey goes through for it to become a concentrate involves filtration, pasteurisation, evaporation and drying - from which a powder is formed. As the whey is filtered through a 'sieve' the larger proteins are collected but the smaller protein fractions are lost, resulting in an inferior product. Extremely valuble protein fractions such as proteose peptone, lactoferrin, glycomacropeptides and lactoperoxide have considerable health benefits and are found in isolates not concentrates! As whey concentrate is heat treated at high temperatures a certain amount of the proteins become denatured, rendering them useless! It might be prudent at this point to give you a brief incite into the benefits of the smaller protein fractions that are lost during the production of whey concentrate. Proteose peptone is a peptone of superior nutrient quality that contains a high proportion of free amino acids and serious growth promoting factors. Lactoferrin boosts immunity by improving the bodys uptake of iron, reducing the chances of the formation of free-radicals as well as assisting in tissue regrowth. Glycomacropeptides stimulate the release of cholecystokinin, a hormone which regulates energy and food intake. Glycomacropeptides are also an extremely high source of BCAAs and lower the risk of heart attack and stroke. Lactoperoxide is similar to lactoferrin in that it exerts strong antimicrobial activity. An everyday example of how fragile proteins become when subjected to heat can be seen when you cook a slice of bacon. The bacon starts off straightend out and flat in apperance, but once heated the protein bonds break, damaging the overall structure and resulting in the meat curling up.
Whey protein isolates are a result of either the ion-exchange method or the microfiltration (MF) and ultrafiltration (UF) processes. Ion-exchange does not yield the same high quality results the microfiltration and ultrafiltration processes do and means a significant loss of protein fractions. Alpha-lactalbumin drops to about 10%, whereas beta-lactoglobulin is 70%, this is not great news as beta-lactoglobulin is significantly more alergenic than alpha-lactalbumin. Further to this, biologically active whey protein fractions such as lactoferrin are virtually non-existent in the ion-exchange process and other smaller vital protein fractions aren't retained either!...So really an isolate from this method isn't that much better than a concentrate, which once again will be reflected in price!
Enter the MF and UF processes, expensive processes which guarantee the highest biological value of all whey proteins! Needles to say these are the processes used here at Monkey Nutrition. The MF and UF processes we use incorporate a pressure driven membrane filtration, which is comprised of two 'molecular sieves'. These two 'sieves' ensure filtration on the absolute highest level, meaning all non protein material is extracted and discarded but all protein fractions can be retained. These processes are performed at low temperatures and 'spray' drying is used, the result is an undenatured high quality protein powder. It should now be absolutely apparent why whey isolate is far superior to whey concentrate, but there is still a lot more to it than just filtration processes. Other factors consumers don't realise also affect the quality of any whey protein product are: The source of milk, production method, type of cheese produced, individual manufacturer specifications and any added ingredients. We don't want to bore you by going into detail on how the cows are fed, the cheese is produced etc, etc, etc...we can assure you that at Monkey Nutrition our protein rates a '10' on all the above factors!
Monkey Primal26 whey protein isolate is the purest, most concentrated form of whey protein and is extremely important for a low carb diet, such as that of a bodybuilder. Monkey Primal26 contains the highest levels of biologically active protein fractions, the correct value of amino acids including high levels of the crucial amino lysine. It also contains a high concentration of BCAAs and correct pH levels, elevates levels of the 'master' antioxidant glutathione and contains no fat, no lactose and no sugar. The result of all this will be enhanced nitrogen retention, an immunity boost and ultimately some seriously lean muscle mass!... Monkey Primal26 has one more advantage over its competitors ...it tastes amazing!
Finally lets talk price... high quality whey protein isolate products aren't cheap, hopefully after all you've just read, you can now appreciate why. A 90%+ serving of undenatured protein isolate will be typically around £1 a time, hold your gasps for a second and remove any thoughts of that nutritionless concentrate that you may still have and consider this: A pint of larger will cost somewhere between £2.50-£3.50 - with a nutritional value of zero! A glass of wine will cost anywhere from £3.00-upwards of £6.00 - nutritional value zero! A bottle of cola (500ml) costs between 80p-£1.20 with once again zero nutritional value! A fruit juice/smoothie will rob you of 80p-£2.00 of your hard earned cash and the nutritional value is nowhere near what you think it is! Finally a bottle of water will usually cost between 60p-£1.00, obviously the giver of life is the boss!..one word though...TAP!
To close the debate on whey concentrate vs whey isolate we would like to point out that whey concentrate is used in the manufacturing of pet foods and animal feeds...some would argue this means it isn't really fit for human consumption! That's probably a bit harsh, but what we will say, is that whey concentrate has nowhere near the nutritional value that you, the consumer is led to believe it has!...and on that note we will leave you with this food for thought!!