Whey comes in 3 main forms –
The order mentioned above is least to most processed forms of whey.
Liquid milk filtered by micro/cold filtration processes yields whey protein. The filtered remains are spray dried to yield whey protein concentrate as we know it. The percentage of protein content varies between 30% to 80% depending on the filtration technique used. The first level of processing also leaves behind some carbohydrates (lactose), fats and vitamin/minerals in the mix.
Whey concentrate is further processed and purified into whey isolates. Essentially the end output has more protein per serving (90% or more) and less of carbs, fats, vitamin/minerals. But do note that some of the highly bio-active peptide chains get broken down.
Hydrolysates are whey isolates broken down further yielding smaller peptide chains that can get more rapidly absorbed into blood stream. This finds good application in infant nutrition foods. Again this extra processing does kill some more of the bio-active chains.
So theoretically whey concentrate does hold an advantage over other forms in terms of higher availability of bio-active compounds. However it does have more calories per serving due to the additional carbs and fat content.
So what is the best choice?
If you are lactose intolerant and strictly on the lookout for the highest amount of protein per serving (meaning lower calories while on a cut) then go for isolates. If it fits your macros and you do not wish to break the bank then choose concentrates with 80% protein content.
For HYP bars we chose whey concentrates. Because we are able to hit the desired macro numbers we intend to serve with our bars and keep the end product costs optimal to customers.