Vegan protein is a great option for those who choose a vegan lifestyle, but it's not necessarily better than whey. When it comes to essential protein nutrients, whey is still the gold standard for muscle building. Gram for gram, it contains 20-30% more BCAAs than vegan proteins. However, if you have lactose intolerance or want to try a whey-free option, there are plenty of plant-based protein powders that can also give you great results.
On average, a 25g serving of vegan protein contains 97 calories, while a 25g serving of whey protein contains 120 calories. Many protein powders, both whey and plant-based, can have added ingredients such as artificial sweeteners, thickeners, and artificial flavors and colors. A meta-analysis published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism compared soy and casein (both of plant origin) with whey protein and found that there were no notable differences between the groups analyzed. Many powders are based on whey, which is an animal protein, but there are also soy and pea powders, which are plant-based. Another study published in the journal Nutrients compared vegetable protein with whey protein taken for muscle recovery before bed.
The results showed that both proteins were equally effective in promoting muscle hypertrophy or muscle growth. Among plant-based proteins, quinoa, Quorn (a registered meatless product) and soy protein are complete proteins. Although most plant-based proteins lack one or more essential amino acids, the combination of complementary plant proteins will overcome the deficiency. When it comes to choosing between whey and plant-based protein, it all comes down to your personal preferences, including dietary choices and allergies. Rather than relying solely on protein powder for additional protein, opt for whole-food sources such as chicken, fish, tofu, eggs or legumes. Using protein powder can help you lose weight by promoting feelings of fullness and preserving muscle mass. When it comes to deciding between vegan and whey proteins, it's important to consider your individual needs.
If you're lactose intolerant or have dietary restrictions that prevent you from consuming animal products, then vegan proteins are a great option. However, if you don't have any dietary restrictions or allergies then whey is still the gold standard for muscle building. It's important to remember that no single type of protein is superior to another. Both vegan and whey proteins can provide essential nutrients for muscle growth and recovery. Ultimately, the best choice is the one that fits your lifestyle and dietary needs.