Whey vs Plant: Which Protein Is Right For You?
You probably know that protein is a crucial part of any diet. Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast, a weekend warrior, or just maintaining a healthy lifestyle, we all need the right amount of protein to fuel our bodies. The type of protein you consume is often just as important as the amount.
One of the best ways to make sure you get enough protein into your diet is with protein powder. There are two different types of protein powders: animal-based and plant-based. Each of these comes with its own distinct advantages and disadvantages.
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Animal-based protein sources are considered “complete” sources of protein because they typically contain all nine essential amino acids. (These are the amino acids your body can’t make on its own.) The most common animal-based protein product — and the leader in the protein supplement market — is whey.
Whey is generally the most popular protein powder due to its complete amino acid profile. This broad amino acid profile provides your body with all nine essential amino acids, and the powder is digested quickly — which helps to repair your muscles faster. This makes whey great for post-workout muscle regeneration and recovery.
Whey protein is isolated and extracted from cow’s milk. And because whey is a dairy byproduct, some whey proteins can be highly acidic. If not isolated to purity, they can cause digestion problems for the nearly 65 percent of people who have some trouble digesting lactose. If you have trouble digesting lactose, look for a whey protein isolate that is lactose-free.
Plant-based protein is considered an “incomplete” source of protein because it lacks one or more essential amino acids, but it can provide similar benefits to whey protein without the dairy allergens. The most common sources of plant-based protein are soy, pea, brown rice, and hemp or a combination of more than one.
These plant-based proteins are often easier to digest because they are naturally lactose-free. Not only that, but they’re packed with vitamins and minerals. Even if you aren’t hitting the gym every day, the additional vitamins and minerals in plant-based protein provide many nutritional benefits that make it a perfect daily nutrition supplement.
While there is a perception that plant-based proteins are less effective at building muscle because they are “incomplete” sources, that is not the case. In fact, one study found that pea protein promoted muscle growth as effectively as whey when paired with a resistance training plan.
Research also shows that plant protein can serve as a complete and well-balanced source of amino acids when incorporated into a balanced, plant-based diet. If you eat a variety of organic, nutritious foods, you will get all of the essential amino acids your body needs while meeting the daily protein requirements.
One final point in favor of plant-based proteins is that they’re more sustainable. Plant-based protein production typically creates less waste and utilizes fewer resources than animal-based proteins.
Listen to Your Body
We all respond differently to what we put in into our bodies. If something you eat makes you feel discomfort, avoid it. The purpose of protein is to fuel your body, build muscle, and enhance recovery — and this process should make you feel better, not worse.
Not all protein is created equal. The quality of the protein matters, and greatly depends on its sourcing and processing. We formulate our protein powders with the highest-quality ingredients and minimize allergens and artificial ingredients. TB12™ Whey Protein Isolate is lactose-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, and fat-free, and our TB12™ Plant-Based Protein is vegan, non-GMO, and soy-free.
Neither contains any artificial sweeteners, colors, or unnecessary fillers.
Find your Fuel
Want to find out which protein might be right for you? Take the quiz below to help you find your fuel.
Check out our favorite recipes with TB12 protein here!