Whey Protein vs Plant Protein: Pros, Cons & Complete Guide


Protein is needed for many different functions in the body. It is especially important for people who want to lose weight and build muscle.

In general, the average amount of protein needed in the body every day should consist of around 10 to 35% of your overall calories. This value may change depending on how much activity your body does every day.

It is important to eat protein in the form of snacks or a protein shake, especially after your exercise routine. There are different types of protein powders available in the market, however, the two main varieties are the plant protein powder and the whey protein powder.

Whey Protein vs. Plant Protein

The only way to get some important types of protein inside your body is to eat it in your food. There are nine amino acids that the human body cannot make by itself. This is why these 9 amino acids are essential for your body’s proper functioning.

Certain protein sources have all these amino acids, and these are called complete proteins. An example of a complete protein is whey protein. On the other hand, plant protein is an incomplete protein.

So, before you choose which protein powder is your favorite, here are some facts you should know to ensure that your choice is the best suited for your overall health:

Ingredients in Whey vs. Plant Protein

Whey protein shakes contain dairy products. This is because dairy contains whey and casein. The difference is that whey is the liquid part and casein is the solid part of the dairy.

Whey may come in either concentrate or isolate form. The concentrate of whey protein has biologically active compounds. This means that it is especially good for athletes.

On the other hand, the isolate of whey protein is its purest form. It has only minimal amounts of lactose, and it is safe for people who are lactose intolerant.

However, for people following vegan or vegetarian diets, or those allergic to whey, it is better to choose shakes that contain purely plant-based protein. Plant-based proteins include protein from soy, rice, pea, and hemp.

Which Is Healthier: Whey or Plant Protein?

Plant-based protein has been discovered to be equally effective as whey protein for building muscle. As such, it is perfectly healthy for athletes and people building muscle to choose either plant protein or whey protein as part of their fitness plan.

Since the body is incapable of making certain amino acids on its own, it’s vital to look for other sources such as whey and plant proteins. One advantage of whey protein is that it’s easier to digest for the body. As such, your body can process it more quickly, offering more immediate effects.

Whey protein also provides faster energy and increased stamina. It’s also good for both muscle repair and muscle growth.

On the other hand, most plant-based proteins don’t have the complete protein that the body needs to function optimally. These particular amino acids are absent in plant-based proteins: methionine, lysine, tryptophan, isoleucine, threonine, and lysine. However, plant-based proteins made from soy have the complete proteins essential to the body.

Vegans and vegetarians may opt to eat a variety of proteins during the day. This optimizes the protein intake and ensures that all essential amino acids are taken into the body.

Regarding the question of which protein is healthier, whey protein vs plant protein, the answer is that both are rich in nutrients and effective.

Both protein sources provide the fuel needed for weight loss, muscle building, and resistance training. In fact, it has been found that whey protein and plant protein produce similar amounts of muscle development in 2 months of fitness training, according to the Journal of Sports Nutrition.

The Journal of Sports Nutrition did a study that revealed that the amino acids in both protein supplements increase absorption and kinetic digestion in people who take it in before exercise.

Which Has More Protein?

If your primary goal for taking more supplemental protein is for the optimization of your workout sessions and the enrichment of your wellness, then both types of protein are adequate.

Ensure that you read the ingredients supplied in both powder packs before choosing one. Choose a protein powder that has minimal GMO ingredients, no excess sugars or additives.

Tips for Choosing the Best Protein for You

Tip 1: Do Not Be Fooled by Great Marketing

Do not be carried away by great marketing as strategies on protein powder shake. Read the ingredient information and do your research on the amino acids you need.

Tip 2: Glutathione Is a Plus

Glutathione is an antioxidant that is made from 3 essential amino acids: cysteine, glutamate, and glycine. Cysteine is the amino acid that is primarily involved in the production of glutathione in the body.

Meanwhile, cysteine is also found naturally in sources of whey protein and most whey protein powders. Glycine is naturally made from other amino acids.

Choose a protein powder with most of the essential acids, and your glycine intake will be covered. Glutamate may be found in some protein powders, or easily supplemented by eating parmesan cheese, meat, or MSG.

Tip 3: Choose A Protein That Is High Quality

There are thousands of sources of protein to choose from! Each protein source has a different percentage of actual protein in a serving.

So how would you know if a protein has high quality? The quality of proteins depends on these factors:

1. The percentage of protein in grams that is in one serving

An average-sized egg is low in fat, and the protein content is 6 to 7 grams. Collagen supplements may have more than 7 grams of protein per capsule depending on the collagen type. However, eggs have the complete protein needed for the body, and collagen is an incomplete protein.

2. The digestibility of the protein

The body digests lean meat faster than tough meat. Animal sources of protein are easily digested. Plant proteins take a longer time to be digested.

3. The number of amino acids present in the protein

Complete proteins are high-quality proteins because all the nine amino acids that are essential to the body are present. Here are sources of complete protein sources with a high content of the 9 essential amino acids:

  • Fish – this includes tuna, halibut, salmon, and whitefish. They are also called lean fish.
  • Meat – protein from animal sources are complete proteins. It includes poultry, dairy orifices, and red meat.
  • Quinoa – has nine amino acids that are essential to the body.
  • Soy – soy-based protein has complete amino acids

4. The ability of the body to breakdown and use the types of amino acids present in the protein

It doesn’t matter if a protein source has many amino acids if the body cannot break it down and use it. The main advantage in protein intake is the amino acids.

Tip 4: Sources of Complete Proteins for Vegans and Vegetarians

Sources of complete proteins for vegans and vegetarians include:

  • Soy
  • Quinoa
  • Tofu
  • Hummus and pita
  • Beans and rice
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Hemp seeds
  • China seeds
  • Spirulina
  • Buckwheat
  • Edamame

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A Final Word From Energetic Lifestyle

Both whey protein and plant protein are healthy sources of protein for building muscles and keeping fit. As such, both types of protein would work as it ultimately depends on what best suits your needs.

There are sources of complete protein for vegans, vegetarians, and people who are allergic to dairy and other sources of whey protein. The choice between whey protein and plant protein depends on a person’s dietary preference.

In the battle between whey protein vs plant protein, which do you choose?

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Article by:

Energetic Lifestyle Team

Our detailed review has been contributed to by multiple members of the Energetic Lifestyle Review Team to ensure the best research and highest standard of quality. Have a good or a bad experience with one of the products? Please let us know, we love the feedback!

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