In today’s world, you rarely hit the gym without hearing the clanking sound of a protein shaker. But despite how it seems, protein isn’t just reserved for athletes and gym-goers, It’s for anybody who values a healthy lifestyle.
Protein is made up of essential “building blocks” called amino acids, which are needed for tissue growth, hair, nails, muscles, bones, hormones and immunity. Ultimately, they keep our body functioning in peak condition. You’ll find protein in your everyday diet, present in things like meat, fish, dairy, soy and
beans. But for those who want a little more, there are protein supplements, But not all protein supplements and powders are created equal. So, let’s shed a light on whey vs plant protein so you can make an informed decision.
What is plant-based protein?
As the name suggests, it’s protein derived from plants (not animals). They’re often made using nourishing plants like pea, hemp, soy and brown rice – and in some cases, a combination of plants.
What is whey protein?
Whey is a dairy product. During the cheese-making process, the liquid gets separated from
the solid cheese curds, and that liquid is called whey. You can get two types of whey protein: isolate and concentrate. Protein isolate is slightly more processed, as it removes carbs and fat to make room for more protein. On the other hand, protein concentrate is less processed, but contains a slightly higher amount of lactose and carbs.
Whey vs plant protein – read before you shake
Both whey and plant protein are valuable for a healthy lifestyle, you just need to work out what’s best for you. Let’s break it down…
As whey is a by-product of cheese, whey protein usually involves more processing than its plant-based alternative. On the flip side, many plant-based proteins are naturally occurring, so they don’t need to be processed or altered to give you a hit of protein.
Now, let’s talk about amino acids. There are 9 essential amino acids our body needs to build muscle – and whey contains all of them (such as leucine, lysine and valine). So, if you’re looking for a straightforward option that ticks all the boxes, whey could be the way.
Plant-based proteins don’t always have the complete array of amino acids. But the keyword here is always. You see, some protein powders use a combination of plants to ensure you’re getting all the amino acids. And there’s also an exception, hemp, which contains not just 9 – but all 20 amino acids.
So, despite what some whey enthusiasts will say, it’s not that plant-based protein can’t give you all the amino acids – you just need to consider the products you buy.
Plant proteins are also abundant in other nutrients, like iron, magnesium, zinc, vitamins, antioxidants and fibre. Whereas whey protein is focussed on just giving you the amino acids (see what we mean, straight to the point).
Finally, some people can be sensitive or intolerant to lactose, and get symptoms like bloating, gas and discomfort. In this case, plant-based protein may be a better for you (and
those you live with).
Yes whey or no whey?
So, what’s better, whey protein or plant protein?
We’ll leave it up to you, as it all comes down to your nutrition goals and preferences. If you’re looking to looking to get the amino acid job done without shopping around, whey protein has you covered. Alternatively, if you’d like a well-rounded product with a boost of other naturally occurring nutrients, you might prefer a plant-based protein.
We may be biased, but at Mt Elephant, we believe hemp protein is the best way to elevate the everyday. Made from 100% hemp seeds, our raw and nutritious blend contains all 20 amino acids, plus naturally occurring magnesium, fibre, iron and the ideal ratio of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
Written by Samantha, an ethical copywriter from the Mornington Peninsula. She’s a former environmental scientist, outdoor enthusiast and the founder of Copy