Whey protein isolate is formed when whey protein concentrate (formed when the liquid portion passes through a filter and substance left behind is dried) is further processed and purified. Although the protein is denatured, the amino acid sequence remains unchanged.
The additional processing results in a higher percentage of pure protein (90%) and miniscule amounts of lactose and milk fat. People who are lactose intolerant tend to be able to ingest whey protein isolate without problems. Since most of the lactose is removed, this form of whey protein contains very little carbohydrates. It does, however, contain high levels of leucine, which promotes muscle growth and fat loss, and cysteine, which boosts the immune system.
For athletes, whey protein may provide the following benefits:
- Augment muscle protein synthesis and help preserve muscles
- Aid in muscle building
- Support fat burning
- Enhance the immune system
- Improve insulin sensitivity
- Decrease appetite