What’s the difference between whey protein and plant-based protein powders?

All protein isn’t created equal.

Consuming 30g of protein from a chicken breast is not the same as consuming 30g of protein from a protein shake, just like consuming 30g of whey protein is not the same as consuming 30g of plant-based protein.

What’s the difference?

  • Digestibility
  • Branch Chain Amino Acid Content
  • Nutrient quality
  • Insulin spike

Which protein is better for digestibility?

Plant-based protein. Whey protein powders can cause bloat, digestive distress, and gassiness due to the fact that many people are sensitive/allergic to dairy.

Which protein has a better branch chain amino acid content (and is better for muscle-building)?

Whey protein, as it contains leucine, isoleucine, and valine which work to stimulate protein synthesis (muscle growth).

Which protein has a better nutrient profile?

Plant-based protein. Most of the vitamins/minerals in whey are destroyed in the processing practices where as plant-based proteins contain a healthy omega 3:6 ratio along with substantial amounts of magnesium, iron, zinc, and potassium.

Which protein causes a larger insulin spike?

Whey protein, due to the fact that it is insulinogenic – which means it stimulates the production of insulin within the body. Post-workout, when you want to spike your insulin levels, would be a good time to drink whey protein. If you are someone that consumes protein powder as meal replacement, a plant-based protein would be a better option throughout the day as they do not surge insulin like the whey protein powders do (constantly spiking your insulin throughout the day will likely lead to fat storage).

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