Protein vs Plant Protein
  • What is Better: Whey Protein or Plant Protein?

    18 Nov 2020

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    Editor-in-Chief of the Approved By Coach

    Protein is very important for the human body. It’s constructed from amino acids and is used by the body to build, repair tissues, produce enzymes e.t.c. There are dozens of protein powders, and finding the best among them is very bewildering. So to make things easier for you, we’re going to look at two of the most popular options: whey protein vs plant protein. We’ll know more about them, their pros and cons and will help you pick the best protein powder out there.

    “Whey” is the watery component of milk that is left when curds are formed. It is obtained by filtering milk, drying this concentrate, and turning it into varieties, contained in supplements and powders.

    Why Choose Whey?

    What is Whey Protein

    Whey has a lot of benefits, as well as side effects, so let’s take a look at some of them:


    • Very digestible and is absorbed into the body faster than other nutrients.
    • Combined with strength training, it stimulates muscle growth and repair.
    • Contains lactokinins, which helps control blood pressure and insulin response.
    • Strengthening the body’s antioxidant defenses by aiding in glutathione production, which is a major antioxidant in the body.
    • Helps a lot in losing weight as its consumption leaves you fuller for longer.

    Side Effects:

    • Excessive consumption will cause digestive problems: diarrhea, bloating, flatulence e.t.c.
    • When consumed in excess may have substantial adverse effects on your kidneys.
    Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder, Double Rich Chocolate, 5 Pound (Packaging May Vary)
    21,602 Reviews
    Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder, Double Rich Chocolate, 5 Pound (Packaging May Vary)
    • Packaging may vary - New look, with the same trusted quality
    • Gold standard 100% whey blend – 24 grams blended protein consisting of whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, and whey peptides to support lean muscle mass – they don't call it the Gold Standard of quality for nothing
    • Over 5 grams of BCAAS ‚Äì help build lean and strong muscles with BCAAs
    • 3-4 grams carbs, 1-3 grams sugar, and 1-1.5 grams fat, gluten free, no sucralose in double rich chocolate flavor
    • Instantized – Improves mixability to prevent lumps and clumps

    Plant-Based Peptides: What are They?

    Plant-based peptides are extracted from plants such as pumpkin, peas, chia seeds e.t.c. To make pea biomolecules, the seeds are extracted, processed, and filtered to remove fats and carbs, then the final material dried and used to make the powder.

    Why Plant Peptides?


    • Plant-based peptides lower the risk of heart disease, as well as lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
    • Diets in high plant macronutrients will help control weight and protect you from big weight gain.
    • When incorporated into meals, plant peptides have been found to improve cholesterol and blood sugar, lowering type 2 diabetes risk.

    Negative Side Effects:

    • Peptides from plants are of lower quality and require a wider variety of intake to compensate for this.

    Vega Sport Premium Protein Powder, Vanilla, Plant Based Protein Powder Post Workout - Certified Vegan, Vegetarian, Keto-Friendly, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, BCAA Amino Acid (20 Servings / 1lb 13.2 oz)
    • 30 Grams of plant based protein powder with 5 gram BCAA amino acids and 5 gram Glutamic Acid. Amino Acid profile containing 9 essential amino acids pea protein powder, pumpkin seed, organic sunflower seed.
    • Support recovery post workout with ingredients like tart cherry, turmeric extract and 2 billion CFU probiotics (bacillus coagulans) to help build muscle and support recovery.
    • Made for athletes - NSF Certified for Sport, Non-GMO Project Verified, Certified Vegan protein powder and gluten free.
    • Keto-friendly protein powder for women and men with 3 gram net carbs, and no artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors, lactose and dairy free, soy free and non whey. Not a medical food
    • Smooth taste and texture, just blend or shake with water or your choice of beverage post workout – or even add some fruit to make a tasty protein packed smoothie

    Plant Protein versus Whey Protein: In-depth Comparison

    Now that we’ve discussed the basics, let’s learn about a couple of things you should keep in mind, when you encounter a vegan protein vs whey dilemma.

    Nutritional Facts

    Nutrient Whey Protein (32g) Plant Protein (64g)
    Fat content 0.5g 1.5g
    Cholestrol 5.1mg
    Sodium 50mg 230mg
    Potassium 160mg
    Carbs 2g 1g
    Protein 25g 15g
    Calories 113 80
    Iron 5mg


    This is the biggest difference between plant protein powder vs whey. Whey is milk-based, hence it will present digestive issues to lactose-intolerant people.

    If you can tolerate dairy, milk will be the right choice. It is quickly digested and will repair and build muscle faster. However, if you are lactose-intolerant, pick a plant-based powder. These are free of allergens, gluten-free, and will be absorbed into your body quicker.

    The main ingredients in plant-based powders contain pea, seeds, rice, hemp, and quinoa.

    Building Muscle Ability

    What is Plant Based Protein

    Whey peptides offer all the 9 essential amino acids, needed for muscle growth. The same can’t be said about plant-based biomolecules.

    Whey will also provide you with BCAAs which is vital in muscle building food synthesis. The taste might be not very good, but manufacturers add different flavors to compensate for that.

    Keep in mind though, that the presence of amino acids in whey will give it an acidic taste. So if you have ulcers it’s best to consider alternatives.

    Pea is a major component in most plant-based peptides. It works well to improve muscle thickness as effectively as whey. When combined with ingredients such as hemp and quinoa, it will offer amino acids.

    Role in Weight Loss

    Several studies have shown whey to be efficient at weight loss. Its consumption reduces ghrelin levels, which is a hormone that signals the brain when you are hungry. This means you will feel satisfied and fuller for longer and end up eating less.

    When compared with animal-sourced, plant-based peptides have fewer calories per serving peptides but do not have similar weight loss benefits as those from milk.

    Differences in Taste

    The taste that you choose will depend on how you want to consume your supplements. If you take it directly, consider a flavored one, but if you add it into food, you can pick an unflavored protein powder, because the food will get rid of bad taste.

    Overall Summary

    Whey protein Plant protein
    Digestion High lactose content makes it difficult to digest Digestion is easier
    Weight loss Reduces ghrelin levels – ideal for weight loss Is low in calories and does not offer weight loss benefits like whey
    Nutrition density Has a lower nutrient density of the essential vitamins Has a high nutritional density of the essential vitamins
    Complete protein Has all of the 9 essential aminos Does not have the 9 essential aminos and needs to be combined with other plant proteins to be complete
    BCAA content Has high BCAA content Has low BCAA content
    Detoxification Has fewer allergies and can therefore be used in detox programs Cysteine is contained in whey glutathione‘s pioneer, which is a powerful detoxifier.
    Market trends Popular with athletes and people into weight training Popular with vegans and vegetarians.

    Choosing the Right Peptides for You

    While making the right choice in plant based protein vs whey protein is mostly subjective, here are some crucial factors to consider:

    Always Double Check the Label

    It is paramount to always check the ingredients. Choose one that is low in sugar and carbs if you’re trying to lose weight. Stay away from products that contain probiotics.

    When shopping, choose products endorsed by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) International, as these are labeled as safe for use.

    Know and Define Your Goals

    The answer in the plant protein vs whey dilemma is highly dependent on the body goals you have in mind. Some powders are made for weight loss, some for weight gain, and others to tame cardiovascular conditions. If you want to lose weight – choose one low in carbs and sugars, and if you want to bulk – pick one that contains BCAA and other amino acids.

    protein supplements

    Never Ignore Your State of Health

    Your health will play a significant role in what powder you choose. If your blood sugar levels are high – find a powder with low sugars and carbs. If you’re lactose intolerant – avoid whey as they contain milk and will cause digestive issues.

    If you have kidney issues, pick one with lower levels as kidneys help break down peptides; hence, too much will cause complications. We recommend one with less than 15gms of protein per serving.

    You should seek your doctor’s advice on how to use whey protein, to avoid any health problems.

    For vegans and vegetarians, we recommend plant-based sources.

    Final Thoughts

    While the jury is still out on whey protein vs plant protein, the choice you make will ultimately depend on your health, goals, and ingredients. Choose one that will not harm your health and matches your budget.

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