Protein Isolates Ultimate Guide
You are probably already familiar with what a protein is, but a protein isolate may seem like jargon to you. In this article, we'll give you a rundown of what protein isolates are.
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.
- Muscletech: 100% Whey Protein Plus Isolate French Vanilla 67 Servings
- Modern Iso: The Better Whey Protein Isolate Pina Colada 20 Servings
- Animal Isolate Loaded Whey Protein Powder Cookies & Cream - 56 Servings
- Animal Muscle Food Isolate Loaded Whey Protein Powder Strawberry - 57 Servings
- Isopure: Isopure Protein Powder Protein With Coffee Espresso 41 Servings
- Infusions Protein Powder - 14.1oz
- Black Magic: Vegan Protein Peanut Butter 25 Servings
- Ruleone: R1 Protein Orange Dreamsicle 38 Servings
- On: Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder Coffee 71 Servings
- 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:
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.
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.
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.
Are protein isolates suitable for vegetarians and vegans?
Yes! There are numerous plant-based protein isolates, such as soy protein isolate, hemp protein isolate, and pea protein isolate. Whey and casein protein isolates are what vegans should avoid because they are made from milk.
How often should I take protein isolate?
Your protein intake depends on your protein needs and fitness goals. If you want to lose weight, you should take protein isolate in between meals to reduce your appetite. If you want to bulk up, it is best to take your protein isolate supplement after workouts.
Who should take protein isolate?
Protein isolates are safe supplements and can be taken by anyone. However, before taking protein isolates, you should consider your dietary restrictions and potential allergies. If you have underlying medical conditions, consult first with your doctor.
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.