Plant-Based VS. Whey Protein Powder

Jan 19, 2023

We are ringing in the New Year and people are ready to focus on their health and change the way they treat their body. It is no secret that a protein rich diet is key to a successful weight loss journey. Eating an adequate amount will keep you satiated after every meal and will help you to perform at your highest level. Research shows that you should consume at least 0.36 grams per pound of body weight of protein a day; while it may seem like a challenge to get this much protein into your diet, there are plenty of quick and easy ways to consume it!

One of those ways is protein powder. My favorite way to use protein powder is to add it into a smoothie. I typically make my smoothies with frozen fruit, almond milk, and whey or plant-based powder. I have a list of protein powder smoothie recipes you can check out on my website.

You can also add protein powder into your oatmeal to keep you full longer. Check out this recipe on All Recipes. I have made this for my friends and family, and it never fails to satisfy those morning cravings!

Protein powder has truly changed the game when it comes to quick and easy ways to get your protein in. You can buy it from just about anywhere and the price doesn’t have to be too high. I encourage my clients to research a good powder that fits them best and try and use it when they are in a hurry and need a little more protein to hit their macros. It is also great when you just want to spice up a quick and easy recipe.

If you are looking for a powder that suits you best, it is important to know the differences between plant-based and whey powders and look at your options to find which one will be a game changer  for you.

Types of Protein Powder

There are a handful of different brands and different protein powders to choose from, but the biggest difference you will find is plant-based protein verses whey protein powder. These are both extremely beneficial and effective, but they do have some key differences.

Whey Protein Powder

Whey protein is an animal-based protein and is a byproduct of the cheese making process. It is classified as a ‘complete protein’, meaning it has all nine essential amino acids, and it offers a handful of other health benefits. Whey is popular because the human body is not able to make these amino acids on its own, and you can easily get them consuming this.

Plant-Protein Powder

Plant protein is typically derived from soy or pea protein. It is a great option for those who are dairy sensitive or for someone who follows a plant-based diet. Plant protein usually has one or two of the essential amino acids needed for optimal growth and recovery after a workout, and if combined correctly with other plants proteins, can cover all the bases that you hit using whey.

Quality of Whey and Plant-Based Protein Powder

The biggest thing to look for when choosing between protein powders is the quality. This is typically determined using the amino acid levels and digestibility of the protein. Because whey protein has all nine of the essential amino acids, a lot of people choose to add whey powder into their diet as opposed to plant-protein powder. However, as stated earlier, if you are careful and combine the right plant powders, you can reach a similar number of amino acids.

Another important piece to a good quality protein is its digestibility. This in turn allows proper absorption and will give you the best results. Research shows that animal protein products like meat, fish, poultry, and milk all have a high absorption level, and in turn are better for recovery compared to plant products. Because whey is made from dairy products, research shows that it absorbs better in comparison to the plant-based powders.

Benefits of Using Whey Protein

There are a multitude of benefits to using whey powder. It is a high-quality protein source that includes all nine necessary amino acids for muscle growth. This includes branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which are key to a good recovery. Whey also contains healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, and calcium. It is a great way to recover after workouts or add in extra protein throughout your day.

Cons of Using Whey Protein

However, there are instances where whey protein may not be for you. One of those is if you are lactose intolerant. Whey contains lactose and people often are not able digest this properly. If this is the case, plant-based powders will be your best friend.

You may also lead a vegan lifestyle. If so, you will also want to opt for a plant-based powder that meets your different needs.

Benefits of Using Plant-Based Protein

While plant protein does not offer the same number of essential amino acids, it does have a lot of other benefits. High fiber and high levels of antioxidants are two key bonuses. Plant protein is also a way to lower to effects that the dairy and meat industry have on our planet.

Ways to Use Protein Powder

There are a multitude of ways that I recommend my clients use protein powder. It serves as phenomenal post workout fuel and can be incorporated into everyday foods like pancakes, muffins, or fruit dip! This added boost of protein also assists in proper muscle recovery, satiation in between meals, and obtaining essential nutrients your body needs to remain in proper shape.

My favorite way to use protein powder though is to add it into smoothies! I spoke on this earlier in the article, but it has truly changed the game for me as far as quick and easy protein sources go! My current favorite smoothie is the Sweet Green Protein Smoothie that is posted on the blog. This is one of the best drinks to ring the New Year in with. I always like to make a point to consume more greens after all the holiday treats, and with the cup and a half of fresh spinach in every serving, I do it easily! This smoothie also contains 30 grams of vanilla protein powder, making that daily protein intake easy to hit.

Pros to Using Protein Powder

So why not just eat lean meats and fish all day? Well, if that is what you prefer, then definitely follow your cravings! However, I think the addition of protein powders into your diet allow you to try fun and new recipes that are also high in essential nutrients!

They are also extremely quick and easy, which is a huge deal breaker for a busy mom like me. When in doubt, you can simply add the protein powder to water and have a high protein source on the go!

Cons to Using Protein Powder

So, there must be a catch, right? Not really! While protein powders are more processed than lean meats or fish, they are still a very clean source of protein! These powders make it easy to track your macronutrient intake, and they help keep a lot of my clients on track for a better future and relationship with their body. We need protein, and these powders are what makes it easy to keep going and charting on towards the goal we set out for ourselves.

Which Powder is Right for You

So which powder should you choose? It is a personal preference. I use different brands in my recipe videos, which you can watch here on my Instagram, and think both plant-based and whey powders do the job well. You are the only one that can decide how you feel after each type of powder, and then comes the flavor choices and other special feature you may get into. I encourage my clients to start with a powder that they know others enjoy and have seen results from.

Get Coaching from Betsy

Ready to make a lasting change and enjoy the most out of your health? Betsy’s Nutritional Consulting is about empowering you to create an enjoyable and sustainable lifestyle. Consuming a healthy diet filled with nutrient-dense foods not only increases our energy but can also help with specific goals such as improving cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels; aiding in decreasing joint pain from eating anti-inflammatory foods; and improving emotional and mental health.

If you are ready to incorporate a health and nutrition consultant into your life, contact Betsy today. You will be taking one step closer to reaching your goals.

To check out more of my high-protein recipes, click here!

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