Clear whey and whey protein powders

Clear Whey vs Whey Protein: What is the Difference?

8 min read


22 Apr 2024

Grab your cheat sheet

  1. The importance of protein in your diet
  2. What is whey protein?
  3. What is clear whey protein?
  4. What’s the difference between clear whey and whey protein?
  5. The pros and cons of clear and regular whey protein
  6. Choosing the right protein for your needs
  7. So, which “whey” should you go?

If you want to gain a real fitness edge, arming yourself with the right knowledge is the best way forward. This is especially true when it comes to nutrition—as this is the backbone of any fitness journey.

Fuelling up with the correct nutrients will lead to a faster progression and bigger gains. And guess what? Your choice of protein can make a huge difference. 

But with so many different types to choose from, how do you know which is right for you?

If you want to get fitter and stronger, it's important to get your daily fill of protein. Your primary protein source should be whole foods like eggs, lean meats, fish, dairy products, nuts, and seeds. And, to top up your protein stores, taking a quality supplement is a good idea.

Dietary supplements like whey protein powder can help you keep on top of your protein intake and give you the best chance of enhanced muscle growth. Protein supplementation is a quick and easy way to give yourself a boost of protein and essential amino acids to help build muscle and aid the recovery process.

The most common form of dietary protein supplements is powder, which is easily absorbed into your system, and you can mix it with water to make a refreshing shake. 

Let’s take a closer look at the classic whey and clear whey protein (two of the biggest hitting types of supplement around!) and see which one is the right fit for your own personal goals.

The importance of protein in your diet

Man making protein shake

It's essential to keep a check on your daily protein intake. Why? Well, because this essential macronutrient contains essential nutrients that are important to keep you strong during your fitness journey. 

Protein plays many essential roles in maintaining your overall health. Here’s why you need to get your daily fill…

  • Repairing and building body tissues
  • Helping to maintain muscle mass
  • Boosting the immune system
  • Enhancing physical performance
  • Aiding digestive issues
  • Helping communication between cells and organs
  • Promoting healthy oxygen, cholesterol, and glucose storage throughout the body
  • Assisting in enzyme, hormone, and transport systems in your body

Protein supplements can help by giving you a boost of amino acids to encourage muscle mass and muscle recovery further. And, this means more muscle and faster gains.

Read: How To Avoid Common Mistakes When Using Whey Protein Powder

What is whey protein?

Whey protein is a byproduct of cheese production, and it contains all nine essential amino acids.

There are three main types of whey protein…

  • Whey concentrate. This typically contains up to 89% protein, with the remaining content being carbohydrates, fats, and other milk components.
  • Whey isolate. A form of protein that has undergone extensive filtration to remove excess fat, lactose, and other impurities. It usually contains over 90% protein.
  • Whey protein hydrolysate. A form of whey protein that has been broken down into smaller peptides. It's a fast-absorbing, high-quality protein.

Traditional whey offers its fair share of health benefits, including…

  • Helping with muscle repair and growth
  • Assisting in weight management
  • Better blood sugar control
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Improving immunity

Whey protein powder is versatile and can be added to meals in a variety of ways, such as smoothies and shakes, which are easily transportable in a shaker bottle. Traditional whey protein shakes are perfect for those who prefer a more creamy shake and are looking for more carbs and fat in their diet. When protein will give you the essential nutrient support you need throughout your entire fitness journey.

What is clear whey protein?

Mixing clear whey powder

Unlike traditional protein powders, clear protein has a more transparent consistency, instead of a creamy texture. 

It's made from whey protein isolate, which contains a high percentage of pure protein and is low in fat and carbs. It has a clear, refreshing taste when compared to regular whey protein—which has more of a milky texture.

Clear whey has a complete amino acid profile, which means it provides all of the important amino acids that your body cannot produce on its own. 

Clear whey is also lower in lactose when compared to other forms of whey. Less lactose means it's one of the best options for those who are lactose intolerant—and it usually comes in a whole host of fruity flavors.

The benefits of clear whey protein include…

  • Helping with digestion
  • Aiding muscle recovery, repair, and growth
  • Assisting weight loss because of its lower calorie, carb, and fat content
  • Helping insulin and glucose regulation

Clear whey is the ideal choice for those looking for a lower-calorie option to traditional whey. And for if you prefer a more refreshing, lighter alternative to the the creamy shakes of traditional whey—clear might be the way to go.

What’s the difference between clear whey and regular whey protein?

Both clear whey and regular whey will help to support you through your muscle-building journey, but they differ in their nutritional content.

This can make a difference depending on your personal goals. So, it’s important to choose the one which is right for you. Let's look at a nutritional breakdown of each type.

Nutritional profile (per 20g scoop)

Whey protein

13g Protein

3.5g carbs

121 calories

1g fat

Clear whey protein

26g Protein

1g carbs

90 calories

0.1g fat

Your choice of whey protein will depend on many factors, including the nutritional value of each. If you're looking for a power-packed protein boost, clear whey could be the answer. If you need more carbs, fat, and calories, traditional whey might be your choice.

But there are other factors to consider too...

The pros and cons of clear and regular whey protein

Both regular whey protein and clear whey are great for helping you in your fitness journey, and which one you choose will be based on your own goals. 

For example, you may be looking to bulk up, in which case regular whey would be the better option as it contains more carbs, fat and calories. 

On the other hand, you might want to slim down, in which case clear protein would be the better option. 

Let's have a look at the pros and cons of each type of whey and see just what they can do for you.

Regular whey protein: the pros

Scoop of whey protein powder

Regular whey protein is perfect for supporting you on your fitness journey. 

Whey protein is…

Great for helping to build muscle bulk: It contains more calories than clear protein, so it's the better choice for bulking.

A good choice for a meal replacement: Regular whey can help with weight management. Not only can it satisfy hunger, but it also contains essential carbs and fats.

Good for those who like a milky texture: You can mix regular whey with water or milk. But for those who prefer the latter, it's a great choice.

It can help lower blood pressureStudies show that regular whey protein can help to regulate hypertension.

It tends to be cheaper to purchase than clear whey: Because it undergoes fewer processes, it doesn't cost as much as clear protein.

The cons

Regular whey contains more calories, carbs, and fats. So if you're looking to reduce the amount you're taking in—it won't be the right choice. For those with lactose intolerance, clear protein will be the better option.

Clear whey protein 

The pros

Clear protein has similar properties to regular whey. 

Clear whey is…

  • Best for digestion: Clear whey isolate has a high digestibility score which means it will be absorbed into your system much quicker.
  • Great for taste and mixability: For those who prefer a lighter, fruitier alternative to a regular whey protein, clear whey is the one.
  • Low in calories, carbs, and fat: This makes it a good choice for those watching their macros or trying to lose weight.
  • Convenient and refreshing: Clear whey protein's clear, juice-like texture makes it a more refreshing, hydrating, and convenient option than traditional creamy protein shakes, especially in warmer weather.
  • Quick to absorb: The liquid consistency of clear protein means that the amino acids absorb quickly into your bloodstream, which is great for post-workout recovery,
  • It's better for those with lactose intolerance: The lactose concentration is lower than in regular whey.

The cons

Clear whey won't be the best choice for those who are looking to bulk up and are looking for more carbs and fat in their diet. 

Clear whey should be mixed with water, so if you prefer milk-based protein drinks, this may not suit you.

Choosing the right protein for your needs

Clear whey and whey protein powders

Both regular and clear whey will help to support you in your fitness journey, so which should you go for? 

Whether you choose regular or clear whey will depend on various factors, so let's check out which one might be best for you.

Regular whey is best if…

  • You want to go easier on protein and bigger on carbs and calories
  • You prefer a milky texture to your protein drinks
  • You want to use it as a meal replacement
  • You want to spend less on your protein

Clear whey is best if…

  • You want a bigger protein boost as it contains the most protein
  • You prefer a more fruity, refreshing taste to your protein drinks
  • You are lactose intolerant
  • You are on a diet and want a powder with low sugar content
  • You have a sensitive stomach

Read: How Much Protein Do I Need For Building Muscle?

So which “whey” should you go?

The choice is yours, but whichever whey protein you decide to go with, the easy part is weaving it into your daily diet. 

Mixing protein drinks is a simple process and they're ready to consume whenever you need them. If you're using regular whey as a meal replacement, you can consume it in place of your meal. If you want a fast recovery process, clear whey is perfect to drink right after a hard workout.

You can also be creative and make breakfast smoothies, or add it to your morning porridge.

If you’re trying to build muscle or reach your protein goals on the go, both regular and clear whey are great options. The ultimate choice boils down to personal preferences, taste, dietary preferences, and fitness goals.

Crazy Nutrition’s Tri-Protein combines four high-powered proteins that are digested at three different intervals. 

This magic mix allows you to go longer, lift harder, and feel 100% sustained. With 24 grams of natural, non-GMO protein, this is the most comprehensive, all-in-one protein formula you need. Go get some.