Vegan Protein Powder vs Whey – What’s Better?

by Mr Plant Based

Is Vegan protein powder better than whey protein?

Which tastes better and is more nutritious for you?

Vegan protein powder is obviously animal-free, but is it as effective as whey protein at helping you build muscle?

In this article, we will cover the benefits of both whey and plant-based protein powder. 

It’s common knowledge that people have a greater need for protein when they’re working out and trying to build muscle. Now where should that protein be coming from?

When it comes to vegan protein powder vs. whey protein, vegan protein is better because it’s plant-based, rich in nutrients, full of fiber, and great for your digestive system.

Whey protein may be able to provide more protein content per serving than vegan protein powder, but aside from that, the difference between the two is pretty minimal.

Whey protein is still effective however.

It has high protein content and will help you gain muscle. Another positive to it is that it is often cheaper than the vegan alternatives.

We’ll go into the differences between the two a little more and give you some insight on which protein powder is best for you.

Vegan Protein Powder vs Whey – The Differences

The main difference between the two protein sources is what they are made up of.

Whey protein is a milk-based product made up of whey, which is the liquid harvested from curdled milk.

Plant protein can come from multiple different sources. Some popular plant protein powders are sourced from soy, rice, hemp, and peas.

Since these proteins are coming from different sources, they work in different ways.

One protein may be rich in one amino acid and less of another. That’s what makes whey and plant protein different.

Amino Acids in Plant Based Protein Powder and Whey

The makeup of amino acids in the protein itself is one of the biggest differences between whey and plant protein.

Whey and animal protein can provide you with a balanced diet, complete in all of the essential amino acids.

Protein is an important resource that we must get through our bodies. Proteins are made up of amino acids, and there are some amino acids that the body can’t make.

We call those the essential amino acids.

These are important because without them, we wouldn’t have a complete source of protein in our diet.

Things like fish, eggs, whey and other sorts of animal meats are complete sources of protein, since they will have all those essential amino acids in them.

With plant proteins, you’ll find your diet is often lacking vitamin B12 as well, so it’s important to take supplements or search for protein powders that can give you all the vitamins and nutrients you need.

Whey protein also has a higher protein content than most plant-based proteins.

This is because whey contains all of the essential amino acids needed for a complete diet, and is rich in leucine and cysteine, two amino acids that promote growth in the body.

Those essential amino acids I keep talking about are:

  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine/Cysteine
  • Phenylalanine/Tyrosine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine

Muscle Building and Fat Loss

Whey vs vegan protein powders

Whey and casein protein take the cake when it comes to helping you gain muscle mass.

That said, there are some plant-based alternatives that have been noted to have boosted WEIGHT LOSS effects when using things like soy protein shakes to replace daily meals.

An added benefit to soy protein is that it contains all of the essential amino acids.

Not many everyday plant-based proteins are complete protein sources.

Cost Differences

Turns out, there’s a bit of a price gap between whey and vegan protein powders. This is a result of multiple different factors.

Due to this, whey protein tends to be CHEAPER than plant.

Whey protein is often mass-produced with low quality products.

Whereas vegan protein is often sourced from the highest quality and often locally-grown products.

With vegan protein you are paying more, but at least you’re getting your money’s worth.

On the other hand, with whey protein, you can buy in bulk and get it cheap, but the quality and taste might not be the greatest.

Plant Protein Powder Benefits:

Animal Free

One of the main reasons people look to switch from whey to vegan protein powder is to support an animal-free product.

Since whey protein is milk-based, that means it uses cows as one of its main ingredients, this animal waste and abuse is avoided with plant protein.

By going animal-free, you can support animals, the environment, and companies with a good vision in mind for a sustainable future.

All around the world, there are roughly 270 million cows being used to produce milk for the dairy industry.

The amount of waste and resources that go into maintaining this industry poses a threat towards climate change, local ecosystems, and environmental degradation.

Easier to Digest

You might find plant proteins easier on your stomach than whey.

There are a few things that contribute to helping your digestive system with plant proteins.

Plant proteins are RICH IN NUTRIENTS and FIBER.

Fiber helps keep your bowel movements soft and regular and absorbs nutrients.

Whey might trigger digestive problems because it’s a milk-based product containing lactose, which is famously known for the medical condition “lactose intolerance”.

Most people have a limit to how much dairy, or lactose, they can have in a day before they become nauseous, gassy, or bloated.

For some people, whey protein shakes might be enough to cause some upset stomach and vomiting.

Tastes Better

From pumpkins to peas, or rice to hemp, the vegan protein flavors are always so RICH and ORGANIC.

They aren’t nearly as sweet and sugary as their whey counterparts, and always leave me wanting more.

Whey protein often has a sugary and milky taste to it. For me, the sweetness can be hard to stomach.

Depends on your personal preference though, whey protein has many dessert flavors you can order it in.

When it comes down to taste, it’s ultimately up to you on what you like better.

I prefer the rich organic taste of the vegan protein powders I’ve had and I’ve always felt the whey powders were too sweet and hard to finish.

Whey Protein Powder Benefits:

Muscle Building

The importance of protein in your diet after working out is so that your body has enough protein to repair your muscles after working them out.

Whey protein has the highest protein content out of all of the powders. This is because whey is a byproduct of milk, which is rich in protein.

The amino acids that make up whey protein contain higher amounts of growth-boosting and protein replenishing proteins.

This is why whey protein will almost always have a higher protein content than it’s vegan counterparts.

Complete in Amino Acids

It’s complete in amino acids, and has a higher absorption rate. This is what makes whey protein so attractive to bodybuilders and workout junkies.

Whey is high in protein and helps you build muscle up faster than all of the others. That makes it one of the most efficient protein boosters you can find.

Vegan diets are often criticized for not having all the necessary proteins, but that argument can’t be made for whey.

Note: I should say there are still good vegan protein powders with a complete amino acid profile such as Vivo Life and others. Vivo Life is my personal favorite, you can check out my review here. 

Mostly Cheaper!

Another added benefit of whey is that it is easier to get, and usually cheaper too. It’s mass-produced and a well-known and established supplement in the workout community.

You can find it at your local supermarkets and all over the place online. The options and flavors are endless.

Comparing the Two

If you’re looking for a reason to make the switch to vegan protein powder, I hope this has article has given you the good and the bad from both to help you make up your mind what you want.

While whey protein is an efficient protein supplement, it’s an animal product that is essentially a byproduct of the dairy industry, an industry often criticized for cruel animal practices.

Plant protein is all natural and animal free.

There’s a large assortment of different plant protein powders to choose from, and they work just as well as whey.

They won’t have as high of protein content, but it’s still high enough, Vivo Life for example provides 25g of plant proteins per serving.

Check out my review on my Vivo Life here. You’ll see why I think it’s the best plant-based protein. 

In general, you simply need to vary your intake of plant-based proteins and ensure that you’re getting all the essential amino acids required for your diet.

Keep these tips in mind next time you’re looking to restock on protein powder, the vegan options out there are a step up from most of the mass-produced whey products you’ll find in your grocery stores.

The flavors are plentiful and tasty, and you’ll definitely see an impact on your health and in the gym.

Good luck and keep up the good work.

The protein supplement is only half the job, you’ve got to put in the work first so that there is protein to replenish.

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