Whey Protein Vs Plant Protein: Which One Is Better?

Protein supplements have become very popular products among athletes and people who need an extra intake that they do not get through diet. When we talk about protein supplements, we must take into account that there are different types and from different sources, like whey protein powders and plant-based protein powders.

HealthCanal, a health news site states that animal proteins are no longer considered the only viable sources. As plant-based diets become more popular, it is easier  to explore the benefits of plant protein powder for muscle building and overall fitness enhancements.

What Is Whey Protein vs Plant Protein?

Protein powders can come from different sources, such as animal or plant sources like pea protein and brown rice protein. From a nutritional and even taste point of view, animal protein powders are usually considered superior to plant protein powders. There’s also bone broth protein, which stands out for being a 90% natural protein.

Plant protein sources are excellent for those looking for vegan protein powders.

What is Whey Protein?

Whey protein powder comes from milk. 20% of the protein in milk is whey protein, and the remaining 80%  is casein. It is the most popular protein used as a supplement, thanks to its taste, high quality, and price. It is considered to be the most complete, as it contains all the amino acids, including the nine essential amino acids, which are those that our body cannot produce on its own, so it’s a complete protein source.

The whey protein supplement is easy to absorb and digest, and comes in two varieties: whey concentrate and whey protein isolate. The concentrate is usually the most economical and is recommended if you have low budget.

Pros

Among its many benefits, whey protein can promote lean muscle mass gain and boost muscle protein synthesis, which is the process by which we produce protein to recover from exercise-induced muscle damage.

It increases glutathione, known as the body’s “master antioxidant,” which helps protect the body from oxidative damage. This important compound plays a role in every cell of the human body. The amino acids cysteine and glutamate are precursors to glutathione production, and whey protein is rich in both amino acids.

In addition to its overall nutritional profile, whey contains several proteins called immunoglobulins, also known as antibodies. Immunoglobulins play a beneficial role in the immune response. It also contains high levels of branched-chain amino acids.

Cons

Despite the wide range of health benefits, whey does have its side effects. It can differ greatly from brand to brand and from source to source.

It can cause gastrointestinal distress for those who have allergies or are intolerant to dairy, as well as constipation, which is the result of inflammation and slow bowel movements. It may cause acne, given that low-quality protein powders contain some harmful hormones and some active biochemical peptides. This can lead to increased production of sebum oil, which is the main cause of acne and hair loss. Also, they can contain many artificial sweeteners which are not good in the long run.

What is Plant Protein?

Plant proteins are powdered supplements that provide vitamins and nutrients that would otherwise be obtained from the recommended daily amounts of fruits and vegetables. These supplements are made from dehydrated and ground plant-based ingredients, such as herbs, leafy greens, mushrooms, and berries.

Plant-based protein powder can be a great alternative to whey protein, but variation is key as many plant proteins tend to be deficient in some amino acids.

Pros

Plant-based powders like hemp protein and soy protein are rich in omega 3 and omega 6, both essential fatty acids, and gamma linoleic acid (GLA). they are also the perfect choice for those who cannot consume whey or animal proteins, as they can aid with having the recommended daily protein intake without too much effort.

Cons

Most animal products have complete proteins, while plant-based powder sources often need to be put together to have all nine amino acids, so it’s harder to obtain all the essential amino acids needed to support muscle growth.

They are digested slowly, mainly due to their high fiber content. Although fiber is good for the digestive system, it should be noted that it can limit the amount of amino acids available for immediate use after exercise. Some of these products incorporate enzymes to improve protein digestion and absorption.

Which Protein Is Better For Your Needs

Weight Loss

Among the whey protein benefits, we have that it reduces appetite by decreasing the hormone ghrelin, which is responsible for indicating to the brain when there is hunger. Therefore, by decreasing it, you feel more satisfied throughout the day, which avoids excess calories. On the other hand, most plant proteins are usually lower in calories but don’t have the same satiating effect.

Muscle Building

According to a study, there is no bioequivalence between the leucine in milk protein and vegetable proteins, but blood tests before and after drinking the protein shake show that leucine levels double hours after drinking the vegetable drink and are equal to those of whey protein, so all the mixtures have anabolic potential, so vegetable proteins promote muscle mass gain equal to those of animal origin.

Conclusion

There are notable differences between whey protein and plant protein. Nonetheless, after evaluating both dietary products, we conclude that both whey and vegan protein are equally effective for gaining strength, gaining more muscle mass, and facilitating post-workout recovery.

If you are more into weight loss, you can opt for whey isolate, casein protein, or whey protein concentrate.

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