Whey Protein vs Plant Protein: Which Is Better?
Making sure that you get the right amount of protein and nutrients in your diet can be tricky, especially if you’re a bit picky when it comes to food. This applies to you regardless if you are trying to gain muscle mass or lose weight by dieting. This is where protein supplements come in.
If you’ve already done your research, then you’ll notice that protein supplements can be derived from meat, dairy, or plants. Among the most popular protein products, which is the better one: whey protein vs plant protein? Let the battle commence.
Whey Protein vs Plant Protein
The protein supplement market is enormous, and depending on your personal goals for needing extra protein, it can be challenging to navigate due to the sheer amount of choices available.
To decide which protein is more suitable for your needs, we take a look at some of the factors you should take into consideration with regards to how the two products differ.
All protein sources are not equal when it comes to how much protein they deliver, their taste, price, and overall nutritional value, so it’s essential to establish your reasons for supplementing your diet with protein before making your decision.
The most natural factor to consider right off the bat is the actual protein content of each product. Whey protein typically contains a much larger amount of protein per serving, around 20 to 30 grams and beyond. Plant-based protein, on the other hand, will contain, on average, between 12 and 20 grams per serving.
Not only does your body need protein to function, more specifically, but it also requires complete protein, which means nine different essential amino acids. Whey protein naturally contains all nine essential amino acids, while not all plant proteins do. You need to specifically look for a plant-based blend that achieves a full protein mix by sourcing from a variety of different plants.
Due to the huge difference in protein content, if you are looking for a product that contains the highest amount of complete protein for building muscle mass, and reducing muscle fatigue, then whey protein is clearly the product of choice. If, however, you just don’t feel that you’re getting quite enough of certain types of protein in your daily diet, then plant-based protein could suffice.
Let’s be honest; if you’re a fussy eater, then the taste of the product will be of huge importance. Even if you’re not, it’s nicer to enjoy the products we consume rather than not, right? This is another category that whey protein wins in, hands-down.
Whey protein is available in a huge variety of delicious flavors, such as vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and even salted caramel! Plant protein, on the other hand, often avoids using flavorings such as these to stay truly “plant-based”.
Natural sweeteners such as stevia can be used, but generally speaking, there is a lot less choice when it comes to flavors. This means that whey protein is a better option if you want to make yummy protein shakes quickly and easily.
Unfortunately, as we all know, money still doesn’t grow on trees, so the price is a factor that is important to many of us who strive to live within our means. Due to the fact that whey is a byproduct of milk, it is inexpensive to source. In fact, once upon a time, it was actually discarded, before we realized what a great commodity it is!
Plant protein, on the other hand, is slightly more expensive than your average protein. A quality plant-based blend will naturally cost a lot more due to the expense of the ingredients it contains. If your budget requires you to shop savvy, then whey protein is definitely the way to go.
Depending on the type of plant protein you are considering, as well as which nutrients you feel will be most beneficial to you, the protein that offers the best nutritional value to you personally will differ.
For example, you won’t find fiber or iron in whey protein, but you also won’t find them in all plant proteins because not all plants contain fiber and iron.
Broadly speaking, a good plant-based blend will provide a wider variety of essential vitamins and minerals that come from the plants that the protein is sourced from. Due to the variety of plant proteins on the market, it’s crucial to pick your plant source carefully to ensure it has the right mix of nutrients for you.
Whey protein, on the other hand, is a great source of calcium, B-vitamins, and some other types of vitamins and minerals. However, it isn’t as nutrient-dense as some of the better quality plant proteins. Hence, in this case, we feel it fairer to award the win to plant protein.
Last up is the question of suitability. Is the product suitable for your diet personally? If you are vegan, for example, whey protein is an absolute no-go. On the other hand, the majority of plant proteins will strive to remain vegan. If you are a vegetarian, then both products are suitable for you.
If you suffer from lactose intolerance, then you may wish to choose a plant protein over whey, especially if your intolerance is a big issue. Then again, many whey proteins are subject to ultra-filtration and can be very low in lactose, so if your intolerance is minor, then you’ll probably have no problems choosing a low-lactose whey protein.
Whey protein! We figure, if you’re a vegan you wouldn’t be reading this article in the first place as whey protein just wouldn’t be an option.
When you take a closer look at the plant protein market, while there are some truly excellent products out there, it’s also a bit of a minefield in ensuring that you’re receiving complete protein and a large enough amount for your needs.
Whey protein, on the other hand, will consistently deliver the complete protein mix that your body needs, and in larger quantities. Combine that fact with the wider variety of flavor options available, price point, and the decent nutritional value it offers, whey protein is our winner in this whey protein vs plant protein battle.