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Plant Protein Vs Whey Protein

Plant Protein Vs Whey Protein

Disclaimer: This content has been produced purely for informational and educational purposes only and is never intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical guidelines including diagnosis, advice, and treatment. 


In the rapidly growing protein supplements industry, it’s perhaps one of the most controversial topics - plant protein vs whey protein: which one is more beneficial?  While both plant and whey protein sources can make an effective nutritious addition to any exercise or diet plan, a person might find that one meets his or her needs and choices more efficiently than the other. 

In this article, we’ll be comparing plant protein vs whey protein basically in terms of their benefits and safety. But before we get into the difference between plant and whey protein, it’s important to learn exactly what they are and what to look for in a quality protein source. So, let’s get started.

Table of contents 

  • What is plant protein? 
  • What is whey protein? 
  • What to look for in a quality protein source? 
  • Plant protein vs whey protein: benefits and safety  
  • Final words 

What is plant protein? 

Plant protein simply refers to a protein that is made from plant sources. A whole variety of different plant sources are used to produce plant proteins such as peas, seeds, nuts, pulses, soya, and grains. The most common plant protein supplements are soy and pea protein powders. 

Unlike whey protein, which naturally contains all essential amino acids and is considered a complete protein, most plant proteins are incomplete except only a few such as pea protein. For this reason, many brands blend proteins from various plant sources in order to make it complete, meaning the powder will contain all essential amino acids. 

What is whey protein? 

Whey protein is a composition of various types of proteins separated from the whey, the liquid by-product left behind from milk after making cheese. It is one of the primary proteins made from milk or dairy products. It contains considerable amounts of essential amino acids that the human body needs to maintain various important bodily functions that need proteins to perform. 

What to look for in a quality protein source? 

When we compare plant protein vs whey protein, the quality of the protein matters a lot. But, we should keep in mind that it’s not only the protein quality that can differentiate them and help us determine which one is better. Rather, the aim of use and personal choices are more reliable to determine which one would be the best protein supplement. 

There are mainly two factors that help to evaluate the quality of a protein source: 

  • Amino acid contents and their ratios 
  • Absorbability or digestibility  

Plant protein vs whey protein: amino acid contents 

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein molecules. There are around 20 amino acids that the human body uses to make proteins by combining them in different ways. But there are 9 amino acids that the human body needs but cannot make on its own within the body. They are lysine, histidine, leucine, isoleucine, valine, threonine, phenylalanine, methionine, and tryptophan. These amino acids are indispensable for the body to function properly and people must get them as diets or supplements, which is why these are called essential amino acids.   

As foods, high-quality protein sources are those that contain all 9 essential amino acids and they are called complete proteins. but lacking just one of these nine essential amino acids makes them incomplete protein. 

Plant protein - in general, plant proteins are incomplete proteins and the levels of essential amino acids and their ratios are suboptimal except for only a few of them such as pea proteins. But this problem of individual plant protein sources can easily be solved by mixing two complementary plant protein sources together into a complete protein blend. 

Whey protein - whey protein is a complete protein. It contains all nine essential amino acids with optimal levels and ratios that the human body needs particularly for sustaining metabolic processes and growth.  

Plant protein vs whey protein: absorbability or digestibility 

The absorption of protein in the body is vital, which in turn, the biological value of the protein, since taking protein foods doesn’t make any sense unless or until it is absorbed. This helps us measure how much protein could be readily used in the body when consumed.  

The value of the protein food is evaluated by a measuring method in human nutrition called the PDCAAS or protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score. In this method, both the total nitrogen retention and excretion are calculated on the basis of the total protein intake. The more nitrogen molecules are absorbed in comparison to what is excreted is associated with better protein value for that given protein food source. 

In this method, whey protein possesses higher biological value compared to plant protein sources such as grains, nuts, and seeds, but, choosing the right plant protein such as pea protein and consuming the right amounts may produce the same effect on the body in terms of strength. 

Plant protein vs whey protein: benefits and safety 

Whey protein contains all essential amino acids along with BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) that play a significant role in muscle building and recovery. 

But, whey protein contains lactose, which is a form of sugar that may induce gut inflammation as well as the risk of certain serious diseases such as heart disease in some people.   

While most plant proteins, on the other hand, contain low levels of amino acids compared to whey protein, they are rich in antioxidants and fibers that support human health in many different ways. It not only helps in muscle building and recovery, but also supports weight loss, hair health, and skin health.

Besides, plant protein doesn’t cause inflammation in the body, rather, protects the body from various disease-causing events particularly heart disease, making it a healthier and safer alternative for whey protein.  

Final words 

If we compare plant protein vs whey protein, it truly depends on a person’s personal lifestyle, health goals, and personal choices. Plant protein provides extra nutrients such as antioxidants and fibers that offer a more environment-friendly, healthier, and safer protein option that supports overall health including weight loss, hair health, and skin.

But, for people who are aiming to improve only muscle strength and sports performance, whey protein might be a better option than plant protein.

Here you can see Vorst’s Vegan Plant Based Pea Protein Powder with Multivitamins 

Here you can see Vorst’s Vegan Plant Based Pea Protein Powder with Greens

Here you can see Vorst’s Whey Protein Concentrate Powder Chocolate Flavored  

Here you can see Vorst’s Whey Protein Concentrate Powder Vanilla Flavored 

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