Whey protein isolate is produced from pasteurized whey that has nonprotein elements removed. Whey is a byproduct in the making of cheese. Once a sufficient amount of nonprotein components is removed, the resulting protein material is dried. It has a bland, clean flavor, according to the American Dairy Products Institute. Whey is used as an ingredient in many types of food, including meats, dairy products, candy and beverages. When compared to concentrated whey protein, whey protein isolate has higher protein content and little, if any, fat or lactose, according to the National Dairy Council.
Whey protein isolate is a complete protein, which means it has all of the amino acids that are needed in a daily diet. It contains high levels of branched chain amino acids. Branched chain amino acids are unlike other amino acids in the promotion of muscle growth because they can be metabolized directly into muscle tissue.
Whey protein isolate contains a high level of leucine, which promotes the synthesis of muscle protein and muscle growth. It also promotes the loss of fat tissue because of the energy the body needs to process leucine. When compared with soy protein isolate, whey protein isolate has 50 percent more leucine.
Whey protein isolate has a high level of cysteine. According to the Whey Protein Institute, whey protein boosts the immune system. It does this by elevating the body’s level of glutathione. Women with the highest levels of plasma cysteine have a reduced risk of breast cancer when compared with the women with the lowest levels of plasma cysteine.
Whey protein can help control blood glucose levels, and it can help people who have diabetes control their diets. For pregnant women, who have an increased need for protein, whey protein isolate provides a rich source of protein. Whey protein may also help prevent bone and muscle loss in senior citizens.