This is a frequent question I'm asked on a daily question, so in today's blog we'll uncover.
Before diving in to the differences between the two, it's important to know that protein is an essential nutrient, especially if you’re looking to build muscle. Depending on your activity level, the acceptable macronutrient distribution range (AMDR) for protein is between 10 and 35 percent of your daily caloric intake, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. That being said, the more active you are ,the more protein you'll need. Protein can be met from protein-rich foods (chicken, fish, eggs, etc.), however, supplementing with protein powders has become a convenient way to meet daily protein intake.
Lets look at the two standard types of protein powder:
1. Whey (contains milk/dairy)
2. Plant based (vegan-friendly)
The differences between the two are listed below:
There are two dairy varieties of whey protein that come in the form of concentrate and isolate, each having it's own benefits. The concentrate has more biologically active compounds thereby making it ideal for athletic performance; however, whey isolate is considered to have 90% or higher protein content. Whey isolate is also believed to be a better option for those who have a lactose intolerance because it has less lactose sugar in it than whey concentrate. Nonetheless, they are both beneficial and the decision on which is better goes back to the individual and ultimately how they feel when using the product. I always tell my clients not to follow everything they see on the Internet. Just because a few people are recommending Vegan over Whey, doesn't mean the benefits will be equal for you. People are different so it's important to judge these supplements primarily by how you feel. If bloating or stomach aches occur after consuming one of these protein powders then perhaps it's an indication that your body is having trouble digesting one or more of the ingredients. Or it could also mean that the company you purchased this product from didn't use the highest quality ingredients, therefore; be sure to do your research on a company before purchasing from them (customer reviews often help with generalizing the success of the product).
Moving on to plant-based protein, it's become especially beneficial with helping vegans or vegetarians meet their daily protein intake since they're limited with protein options. The most common plant-based protein powders are soy, pea, hemp or brown rice protein. In a 2015 study it was discovered that pea was as beneficial as whey when it came to increasing mass.
So, to answer the question on which protein type is better - whey or plant based, i'll revert to my easier statement "choose what makes you feel best". If you know that you are lactose intolerant, then whey isolate or plant based may work best for you. However, if you don't have any intolerances for lactose then both of them will aid in resistance training or meeting general daily protein intake. Be sure to check ingredients and choose the protein powder that will best support you both in muscle gains and overall nutritional health. That means avoiding an excess of added sugars, GMO ingredients and additives. All you have to do is make your choice, and get ready to reap the benefits.
Some myths I want to also bring attention to that are NOT true:
1. Women will make women bulky.
2. I only need to consume protein if I'm working out or lifting weights
3. Women don't need to consume protein
Protein is an essential component that aids in maintaining a healthy immune system & repairing muscles. Whether you are active or not, protein should be a stable component to your diet.