In the world of fitness and weight loss there is an ongoing debate around which protein powder is best for you – whey-based or plant-based? With the world of plant-based protein powders taking leaps forward in terms of flavour and choice, it’s now far more competitive and provides an excellent choice for those allergic to whey. However there are arguments for both sides so let’s take a look:
Plant-based protein – what is it?
Plant-based protein comes from a number of key plants, most commonly peas, hemp, sunflower and rice, and each one provides different nutrients.
Whey protein – what is it?
Whey protein is derived from milk and goes through a variety of processes to create the protein powder which is so commonly favoured by body builders and other fitness fanatics.
Which protein powder is easier to digest?
It really depends on your own body and how it responds to the powder. You need to try them and see which ones work, however, if you already have known digestive problems, and then a plant-based powder is most likely the best option as they are hypoallergenic and contain fibre which supports digestion.
Whey protein comes from milk and contains lactose so for anyone with an intolerance or allergy to milk or lactose, this type of protein powder won’t work. If you want a guaranteed powder with no tummy problems, go for plant-based.
Which option contains the best protein?
Your body needs complete proteins to work effectively, which means it needs a protein that contains all nine essential amino acids. If you are using a plant-based protein you might need to look for one that combines a number of plant proteins to ensure you get the full spectrum.
However, if you go for whey protein this is where it has the advantage – all animal proteins are complete proteins, with all of the essential amino acids. Any type of whey protein will give you all of the amino acids your body needs.
Which version has more nutritional value?
One of the biggest differences between the two protein sources is that plant-based proteins are very dense in nutrients – they contain loads of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants as well as the protein, making them very good for you.
On the other hand, whey protein is ideal if you just want complete protein. As it is milk-based it contains some nutrients but not as much as a plant-based protein so if you want extra nutrients then you have to go plant-based every time.
Which is better value for money?
Plant-based protein powder certainly tends to be more expensive because the ingredients are more costly but the quality tends to be higher as well.
With whey protein there are many different price points available and while you can find some that is incredibly cheap, you will get what you pay for so always look for quality vs cost.
Which tastes the best?
There used to be an issue with plant-based protein tasting yucky while whey came in a huge variety of flavours, but things have moved on and there are now many varieties of flavours on the plant-based side as well.
It’s a case of finding the one that you like the best and trying different flavours until you are satisfied. It may be that you use one flavour to add to meals and another for making smoothies – it’s up to you but there are many choices out there.
What other benefits do they both offer?
You can find further info on this in this article Hemp vs Whey Protein | Focus Performance.
There are a number of benefits from plant-based proteins, which can be beneficial to our health, including immune system boosting, healthier heart, glowing skin and lower blood pressure. These benefits are due to the extra nutrients found in the plant-based powders.
If you want to be environmentally friendly, then plant protein production creates around a tenth of the carbon emissions that whey protein production creates.
Whey protein has been proven in studies to help trick your body into feeling full and satisfied for longer, reducing hunger pangs which is great if you are trying to lose weight and drinking the protein shakes as part of a diet.
There are pros and cons for both whey protein powder and plant-based protein powder and it really depends on your lifestyle and goals. If you are looking to build muscle and concerned purely with protein, then whey-based is probably the best choice.
However, if you have allergies or are looking for more than just protein and want to benefit from all of the extra nutrients as well, then opt for a plant-based powder and make sure to choose one which contains all nine amino acids to make sure you get the full health benefits.
One thing is certain, adding more protein into our everyday diets is beneficial whether you are looking to work out or just lose weight.