Whey protein, WPI or WPC?

It’s a well known fact that protein is required for effective muscle recovery following physical activity. Most people are familiar with a post-workout protein shake, which is typically made with a whey protein powder.

However, there are so many different brands of whey protein powder on the market. Some are formulated with whey protein isolate (WPI) and others with whey protein concentrate (WPC). But which one is better?

WPI vs WPC

The answer is that it depends on your goals. Both WPI and WPC are derived from milk that has undergone a filtration process. Both types are a rich and natural source of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which are the essential building blocks for muscles. They are also both rapidly absorbed by the body. This makes them an effective way to replenish protein stores after a workout.

WPI is simply a more refined version of WPC. It is lower in lactose and fats than WPC due to the additional filtering. WPI also contains slightly more protein gram for gram than WPC. However, a good quality WPC powder also contains additional compounds that are not found in WPI powders. For example, a WPC usually contains higher levels of immune-boosting immunoglobulins.

From a taste perspective, I find that WPI can feel cleaner on the palate. But WPC can provide a beautiful creaminess when used in smoothies. It is also usually more economical to purchase. I regularly use both WPI and WPC in my recipes.

Either type of whey is an effective source of protein. Although I prefer to eat whole foods wherever possible, a WPI or WPC powder provides a convenient way to get a dose of protein following a workout. When I don’t have time to immediately cook myself a meal, a protein shake made with a good quality whey protein powder keeps me going in the interim.