Fitness, Health

Protein Supplements – Whey vs Plant Based

protein supplements

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Protein supplements have become immensely popular and demand has increased in the past 7-8 years. This is due to growing health consciousness, change in dietary habits and an increasing trend of physical fitness. Therefore, it’s safe to say that it’s a very competitive market for supplement companies. We, as consumers, have an overwhelming variety to choose from.

For more information on the importance of consuming protein, click here.

Also, it should be noted that under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), protein supplements, like any other supplements, are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Let’s take a look at both whey and plant based proteins.


Protein Supplements

Whey Protein Powder

Whey protein is formed as a byproduct of cheese production. Cheese comes from the curds when certain enzymes are added to cow’s milk which separates the curds and the liquid. This liquid is the whey protein which is then pasteurized and dried into a powder for various uses. Whey protein is considered a complete protein and consists of 9 essential amino acids.


Taste – comes in a variety of flavors
Easily accessible – sold basically everywhere


Heavily processed – because of this it degrades it’s nutritional quality
Bloating/Flatulence – may not be easily digestible by some since it contains lactose
Artificial ingredients – not all, but most have artificial flavors and sweeteners

Plant Based Protein

Plant based protein includes brown rice, pea, soy, and hemp. Brown rice protein powder, one of the most popular plant based protein, is manufactured by separating the proteins from the carbs. It is high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Pea protein comes from the yellow split pea, while soy is a byproduct of the soya bean (which has been under a lot of scrutiny lately – but that’s a separate topic). Moreover, hemp protein is made from the seeds of the hemp plant and is considered a superfood that is loaded with omega fatty acids and fiber.


Easily digestible
Allergen free
Healthier – most brands have no artificial flavors or sweeteners


Slightly less protein compared to an equal serving of whey protein
More costly
Taste – it is thicker and some may have a gritty taste

Studies show that brown rice protein is just as effective as whey protein in terms of building muscle, strength and aiding in exercise recovery. Both plant based protein and whey protein are also quickly absorbed which is why it’s usually recommended to take post workout.

More recently, there have been an increasing number of “vegan” bodybuilders. They have been challenging the meat eating stereotype and showcasing how they “beefed up” without meat.

Pro Whey or Pro Plant Based Protein

My go to protein supplement is the Vega Sport Protein Powder which has added BCAAs and glutamine. Both BCAA and glutamine play a key role in protein synthesis. It helps minimize the breakdown of muscle and improve protein metabolism. (Click here to find out about BCAA and which one I take).

By using this protein, I no longer have the digestive issues associated with taking whey protein. It is much thicker than whey protein, but you can just add more water to it. For me it does its job as a supplement.

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