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Protein Isolates Ultimate Guide

Protein Isolates Ultimate Guide

Written By:
Expert Review By: Steven Cleark&

This Article Will Help You Learn:

  • What protein isolates are and how they differ from other protein powders.
  • The benefits of protein isolate.
  • The types of protein isolates.
  • How to use protein isolates.

Protein supplements have been gaining mainstream traction in recent years. Much of that is credited to its well-documented benefits in scientific studies and journals. As someone looking to stay fit, you should know which protein supplements suit your fitness goals. Protein isolates are a great choice, and for all the right reasons.

You are probably familiar with what proteins are. However, the mention of ‘protein isolate’ may be a strange concept to you. That’s why this article is specially curated to give you a rundown of protein isolates, their types, how to use and all other information required to make an informed purchase. We also share the best 2023 protein isolates as per reviews, ratings, protein quality and content, brand reputation and potency.

What Are Protein Isolates?

Protein Isolate is one of three forms of protein powders—alongside protein concentrates and protein hydrolysates. All three are derived from milk, but what differentiates them is how they are processed. Protein concentrate is the least processed protein powder, with about 70-80% protein. In Protein hydrolysates, the protein is broken down or "pre-digested" to some extent to improve its solubility.

Protein isolate usually undergoes more processing to obtain a purer protein powder than protein concentrate. It has more than 90% protein content and is considered a higher-quality protein powder. The extra processing removes additional substances like carbohydrates and fat. That is why it is a preferred choice for bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts who want to bulk up. It has high protein content and lower calories. Protein isolate is also a good choice for people with gluten and lactose intolerant because they are usually removed in the purification process.

Recommended Protein Isolates Products.

Here are some of the best protein isolate products based on expert reviews and positive customer feedback.

  1. Muscletech: 100% Whey Protein Plus Isolate French Vanilla 67 Servings
  2. Modern Iso: The Better Whey Protein Isolate Pina Colada 20 Servings
  3. Animal Isolate Loaded Whey Protein Powder Cookies & Cream - 56 Servings
  4. Animal Muscle Food Isolate Loaded Whey Protein Powder Strawberry - 57 Servings
  5. Isopure: Isopure Protein Powder Protein With Coffee Espresso 41 Servings
  6. Infusions Protein Powder - 14.1oz
  7. Black Magic: Vegan Protein Peanut Butter 25 Servings
  8. Ruleone: R1 Protein Orange Dreamsicle 38 Servings
  9. On: Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder Coffee 71 Servings
  10. Quest: Protein Powder Cinnamon Crunch 24 Servings 

Benefits of Protein Isolate

Protein Isolates have unique properties that give them an advantage over other forms of protein. The benefits include:

#1 Muscle Growth and Recovery

Protein Isolate is very high in protein concentration, and a 90% protein content means you get more protein per serving. Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, are responsible for building and repairing muscles. The high protein content in protein isolates powders boosts protein intake in your body, which facilitates muscle building and faster recovery.

#2 Weight Management

Weight loss is achieved by consuming fewer calories than what your body burns. Protein isolate makes this possible by suppressing your appetite. Therefore, you won't overeat calories. Generally, all types of protein take longer to be digested, and the food stays longer in the stomach, keeping you full for extended periods. Besides, protein boosts your body's metabolism. Increased body metabolism means your body burns fats and calories faster, which helps in weight management.

#3 Blood Sugar Regulation

Carbs are known to increase blood sugar levels when consumed in large quantities. Protein isolate undergoes a purification process that isolates protein from other macronutrients like carbohydrates and fats. Taking protein isolates in place of carbohydrates can improve your blood sugar levels. Protein isolates are beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes who may be affected by high sugar levels.

Types of Protein Isolates

There are different sources of protein from which protein isolate can be processed. The sources can either be animal-based or plant-based. Plant-based protein sources are the best options if you are a vegan or vegetarian or have dietary issues with animal products such as dairy. That being said, here are some of the types of protein isolates.

Whey Protein Isolate

Whey protein and casein are the two types of proteins made from milk while making cheese. The remaining liquid part after the cheese-making process is what is called whey. Whey is a complete protein because it has all the essential amino acids. The liquid whey is dried to make protein powder. Whey protein isolate is produced by further isolating carbs and fats from the whey and increasing the protein content to up to 90%.

Benefits of Whey Protein Isolate

Whey protein Isolate is a popular choice because of the benefits, which are seen in the following ways:

Whey Protein Isolate in Muscle Building and Recovery

Whey protein isolate has the amino acid leucine, an essential amino acid responsible for muscle building. Leucine triggers muscle protein synthesis that stimulates muscle growth. It also repairs muscles that are damaged during strenuous exercises.

Such properties make whey protein isolates popular among bodybuilders, but anyone can also benefit from them. The higher qualities of whey protein make it pricier than other forms, but it's absolute value for your money.

Whey Protein Isolate and Weight Loss

Whey protein isolates increase the rate at which your body burns calories by boosting metabolism. It also takes time to digest whey protein isolate, keeping you full and reducing your appetite. Although it is digested faster than casein, whey protein isolates take longer than other protein isolates like soy, pea, and hemp, making it suitable for weight loss.  

Soy Protein Isolate

Soy protein isolate is a form of protein extracted from soybeans. Unlike most plant-based proteins, soy has all nine essential amino acids and is considered a complete protein. Therefore, it is beneficial in muscle building, recovery, and managing weight loss.

Soy protein is a readily available supplement and has easy solubility. Because of its easy solubility, it can be put as an ingredient in certain foods. You can get all your protein needs from soy protein isolate as a vegan.

Benefits of Soy Protein Isolate

As a plant-based protein, soy protein isolate has various advantages over other protein sources that are animal-based. Some of the benefits include:

Improved Cardiovascular Health

Soy protein has high protein content and is low in fat and cholesterol. Such properties lower the risks of developing cardiovascular diseases.

Better Gastrointestinal Health

As a plant-based source, soy protein is high in fiber content. Fiber is beneficial in keeping your digestive system healthy. Soy protein does not cause gastrointestinal issues like many other types of animal-based protein.

Rich in Minerals and Vitamins

Soybeans are a good source of other macronutrients like minerals and vitamins, which include calcium, zinc, iron, and B vitamins, Vitamin D.

Pea Protein Isolate

Pea protein isolate is a type of protein powder made from dried yellow peas that have been processed to increase protein content. Pea protein is a popular alternative to animal-based proteins. It has high protein content and is just as effective as other animal-based proteins with over 90% protein concentration. It is an excellent choice for people with dietary issues with dairy products.

Benefits of Pea Protein Isolate

Pea protein has a wide range of benefits, and that is why it is a popular choice for many. Some of the benefits include the following;

Effective in Weight Loss Management

Pea protein has slow-digesting properties compared to other types of proteins like whey and casein. As such, it is very efficient in suppressing appetite by keeping you satisfied for a longer time. Being full for longer reduces calorie intake, which is helpful in weight loss management. Incorporating pea protein isolate into your weight loss routine will yield better results.

Muscle Building and Recovery

The high protein content is essential in muscle building and recovery.

It is Dairy-free and Lactose-free

Pea protein isolate is a plant-based source hence no dairy products. Pea protein isolate is a good alternative if you have dietary restrictions on dairy products. Vegans can also benefit from this type of protein.

Hemp Protein Isolate

Hemp protein isolate is a plant-based protein powder with high protein content. It is considered a complete protein because it has all the essential amino acids. It is made from hemp seeds and is rich in protein and other nutrients like fiber, carbohydrates, fats, and minerals like calcium and magnesium.

Benefits of Hemp Protein Isolate

For a long time, hemp protein was considered an unsafe product, but in 2018, the FDA certified it as GRAS(Generally Recognized and Safe). Therefore, hemp and hemp products are safe for human consumption and are beneficial in the following ways.

High Protein Content

Hemp protein is also considered a complete protein. It has all the essential amino acids and is beneficial in various ways, like any other protein powder. It helps build muscles and repair torn muscles. Hemp protein can also help in weight loss by reducing appetite.

It is Allergy-free

Hemp protein is free from major allergens found in animal-based products. It is also favorable compared to soy protein which some people may be allergic to or may not prefer their taste.


Besides protein, hemp protein has other nutrients like magnesium, zinc, and B vitamins.

Who Should Not Take Hemp Protein Powder

Despite hemp protein having numerous benefits that we have just listed above, there are categories of people who should not take it for various reasons. Professional athletes, for example, may be penalized by anti-doping agencies that have banned Tetrahydrocannabinol(THC). THC is the psychoactive compound found in marijuana. Hemp seeds belong to the same species from which hemp protein isolate is found. Although hemp does not have a significant amount of THC, tiny traces of THC could show false positive results, which may lead to a ban.

How to Use Protein Isolates

Protein Isolates are found in powdered form. Therefore, depending on your fitness goals, it can be used differently and incorporated into your diet. Protein Isolates can be used as a post-workout drink, used as a meal replacement, or taken as a snack in between meals as a snack for your fitness goals. If you want to build muscles or recover faster from intense exercises, protein isolates are best effective when taken as a post-workout meal or drink. That way, it would help you recover and repair the torn muscles.

If you are aiming to lose weight, you should take protein isolates in between meals. Taking protein isolate before a meal would reduce your appetite and help you consume fewer calories.

Dosage and instructions

The dosage is highly dependent on the type of protein isolates. Different protein isolates may have different potency levels. Most manufacturers, however, usually recommend 1-2 scoops of the protein isolate, which is about 25-50 grams of protein content.

Always read the supplement product label instructions to ensure you use it appropriately. If you have any underlying medical conditions, consult your doctor before taking any supplements.

Potential Side Effects

Protein isolates like whey protein may cause digestive issues in people who are lactose intolerant. Allergic reactions are also possible for people who are allergic to dairy products. Whey protein is a milk product, and milk allergies may cause rashes, hives, and throat and tongue swelling. Protein isolates may also cause bloating, nausea, and flatulence. Such side effects should not be a serious concern and should clear up within a few hours. However, if the symptoms persist, seek medical advice.

To avoid these side effects, take small amounts of protein isolates and gradually increase them as you progress. Always check first if you have any allergies to the listed ingredients.


The bottom line is protein isolates are an excellent choice of protein powders. They have high potency compared to protein concentrates and hydrolysates due to their high protein content. Depending on the sources, there are different types of protein isolates, both plant-based and animal-based. When choosing protein isolates, you should consider your fitness goals and dietary restrictions such as allergies. However, it is always important to consult a qualified healthcare professional to determine whether certain supplements are good for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are protein isolates suitable for vegetarians and vegans?

    Protein isolates can be suitable for vegetarians and vegans, depending on the source of the protein. Protein isolates are a form of protein that has undergone processing to remove most of the fat and carbohydrates, resulting in a purer and more concentrated protein product.

  • How often should I take protein isolate?

    Your protein intake depends on your protein needs and fitness goals. To lose weight, it's widely recommended to take protein isolate between meals to reduce your appetite. If you want to bulk up, taking your protein isolate supplement after workouts is best.

  • Who should take protein isolate?

    Protein isolates can be beneficial for various individuals with specific dietary needs, fitness goals, or preferences. Some people who may consider taking protein isolates include:

    Athletes and fitness enthusiasts: Individuals who engage in regular intense exercise, such as athletes or bodybuilders, may require additional protein to support muscle recovery, growth, and maintenance. Protein isolates provide a concentrated source of protein, which can help meet these increased needs.

    Weight management: Those aiming to lose or maintain weight might find protein isolates useful due to their high protein content and lower levels of carbohydrates and fats. Protein can help increase feelings of fullness, which may aid in managing caloric intake.

    Vegetarians and vegans: Plant-based protein isolates, such as soy, pea, or rice protein isolates, can be an excellent option for vegetarians and vegans looking to increase their protein intake, as these sources typically have a higher protein content than whole plant foods.

    Individuals with lactose intolerance: People with lactose intolerance may benefit from using a non-dairy protein isolate, such as a plant-based or egg-based protein isolate, or a whey protein isolate, which contains minimal lactose compared to regular whey protein.

    People with specific dietary preferences or allergies: Protein isolates can cater to various dietary preferences or allergies by providing a concentrated protein source without specific allergens or unwanted components (e.g., low-fat, low-carb).

  • What is the difference between protein powder and protein isolate powder?

    The difference is the quantity of protein contained per scoop of the powder. Protein isolates have been processed to remove any impurities and therefore have a higher protein content of more than 90%. Protein powders are less processed and have a relatively lower protein percentage. Depending on the brand, the protein content may be between 25-80% of protein.

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