Vegan Protein Powder vs. Whey: Are They Equally Effective?

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Last updated on September 5, 2022

If you are looking to build muscle, you will need protein to help your muscles recover after a workout. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recommends protein intake to be between 10 and 35 percent of your daily caloric intake. Studies suggest that you should take 0.7 grams per pound or 1.6 grams per kg to build muscle.

It is possible to meet your daily protein requirement by taking protein-rich foods. Based on findings by The International Society of Sports Nutrition, protein supplements are for very active athletes and bodybuilders. When supplementing, you can choose plant-based protein powder or whey protein. When companies make the protein powders you use to supplement from natural ingredients with no artificial sweeteners or any other processed additives, both whey and plant based powders have a number of benefits to your body.

While each of these sources of protein will give you enough amino acid to repair and build muscles, there are some points to consider when you are choosing one between the two. For starters, vegans can choose plant-based proteins just because they are allergic or do not like whey. Below are pointed to help you choose the best for your needs. Also, it will help you to learn the basic differences between vegan protein powder vs whey protein.

Whey is Animal-Based; Plantbased Protein Powders are Vegan


Whey is an extract of milk. Milk consists of casein and whey, the solid and the liquid portions respectively. Whey is separated from casein during manufacturing and is later dried to form a powder. In whey, there are two forms of proteins, isolate and concentrate. While whey protein concentrate has a high amount of biologically active compounds, making it ideal for athletes, isolate is the purest source of protein. Isolate is also considered the best animal protein for people who are lactose intolerant as it contains only trace amounts of lactose.

If you are vegan, plant-based powders will be a good option for you. They are as nutritious as whey protein. Some of the most common plant-based protein sources include soy, hemp, brown rice, flax seeds, and peas protein. A study conducted in 2015 showed that pea protein is just as sufficient as whey protein powders for those interested in weight loss and lean muscle gains.


Amino Acid Content in Whey and Plant-Based Proteins


Whey is considered a complete protein; it contains all the nine essential amino acids. The essential amino acid our body can’t produce, and hence you have to ingest it. The body can also easily digest whey, and as such, the muscle protein synthesis is activated rapidly to make amino acids available for your body. This means that, when you take whey, protein works faster in your body to heal muscles and build lean muscle mass.

On the other hand, plant-based protein is not a complete protein source; it lacks some of the nine essential amino acids. Research shows that vegan proteins lack isoleucine, lysine, methionine, threonine, and tryptophan. Soy protein, however, contains all the nine needed amino acids; which means, you do not have to worry about filling the gap. To get all the amino acids from plant-based types of protein powders, eat a combination of incomplete proteins; these will provide you with the amino acids your body needs.


Both Protein Sources Are Great for Resistance Training to Lose Weight


Whichever protein source you choose between whey and plant protein is your choice; each offers the right amount of amino acids for resistance training. According to research, consuming 48 grams of whey or consuming 48 grams of rice protein will give you the same muscle gains and body composition in a two-month fitness plan. The same study found that the concentration of amino acids from supplements enhances the kinetic digestion and absorption when taken before exercise. This means that your body’s ability to convert consumed food into power and strength increases when you consume both whey and plant-based protein supplements.


Digestibility and Taste


Whey, with its lactose, can cause digestive issues to people who are lactose intolerant. If you are both allergic and intolerant to lactose, you will experience digestive discomfort when you take whey protein powder. Plant proteins are a hypo-allergenic alternative. Whey protein considers having a better taste, especially hydrolyzed whey. However, what tastes excellent for one person may feel different from another. As such, choose what your taste buds love; it is crucial that you enjoy the protein powder you will be consuming so often.


Vegan Protein Powder Vs Whey Protein Bodybuilding


Whichever protein powder you choose, the goal is to repair your muscles and optimize your workouts – both whey and protein powders will help you with that. When shopping, be sure to check that the protein powder does not have added sugars and additives or any GMO ingredients. Both protein sources are excellent and useful for those looking to lose weight and build lean muscles.

Steve Theunissen has qualified from the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) and is a certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist. He has over 30 years experience in fitness and nutrition and currently working with famous fitness professionals. He is currently living in New Zealand with is wife and daughter.

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