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Whey and Plant Protein: What’s The Difference?

What’s whey protein? What’s plant protein? What is the difference? Which one is best for you? The protein powder and bar aisle of the grocery store can be overwhelming with so many options to choose from, but we’ve got the SCOOP! Keep reading to get all of your protein questions answered.

 

What’s The Difference?

Whey is the name of one of the proteins found in cow’s milk. When you drink a glass of milk, you are consuming whey protein! Whey is a high quality protein, meaning that it contains all of the essential amino acids that our bodies need to function optimally! Essential amino acids cannot be made in our bodies, so we need to obtain them through the foods we eat.

Plants contain protein too! In terms of whole foods, beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds, and soy are several examples of protein-rich plant foods. However, a single plant protein does not contain sufficient quantities of all the essential amino acids. This is why vegetarians or vegans are encouraged to eat a variety of these plant foods over the course of the day to ensure they are getting all of the essential amino acids in their diet. A variety of plant proteins are often combined in plant protein powders and bars to offer a more robust amino acid profile.

 

Should I Buy Plant or Whey Protein?

Both whey and plant proteins are great options to add more protein into your diet! Both of these protein sources may:

1. Help your muscles recover after exercise

2. Support healthy muscles as you age

3. Help you feel fuller for longer

Whey protein is a convenient option for people who can consume dairy foods. This protein is digested quickly by our bodies which makes it a great option to help support muscle recovery after exercise! Like we mentioned earlier, whey protein is a one-stop-shop for all of the essential amino acids.

Plant protein is a great option whether you’re vegetarian or just looking to add more plant-based foods to your diet! Pea, brown rice, almond, sunflower, and soy protein are all plant proteins that are often used in plant protein powders or bars.

 

Nikki DeAngelis, RDN, LDN