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Whey or Plant-Based Protein? Which one is for you?

Whey or Plant-Based Protein? Which one is for you?

Dietary protein…it’s one of the most important topics when it comes to your physique and making improvements to it.

So, what are proteins you ask?

Proteins are molecules made up of amino acids and are the building blocks of life. These amino acids are necessary for everything from the immune function, metabolism and weight management to muscle repair, growth, development, performance and even your hair and nails.

There are two main categories that amino falls into. The first, are essential amino acids – those that the body can’t manufacture, and thus we must consume in our diets.

Some amino acids are conditionally essential, which means that our bodies can’t always make as much as we need, like when we’re under stress.

The next is the nonessential amino acids – those that the body can usually make for itself.

The common types of protein powders fall into two categories: animal-based protein (casein, whey, and egg) and plant-based protein (rice, pea, hemp, sacha inchi, potato, etc.).

What are the differences between traditional whey protein and plant-based protein?

Whey protein is a by-product of the cheese manufacturing process and is the liquid that is left behind after milk is curdled and strained. Based on the processing method, protein can be concentrate, isolate or hydrolysate. Whey isolate is heralded to be the superior option for a gym goer because it contains the highest amount of protein per serving. 

Whey is popular because it’s cheap, highly accessible and – it works!

Study after study has demonstrated that using a whey protein product assists in muscle recovery and growth. Whey’s a complete protein, and the body absorbs it quickly, making it an attractive addition to a post-workout shake. 

However, there are several important downsides to whey that’s worth knowing about.
Since whey protein is derived from milk, lactose intolerance is one of the most common side effects of consuming whey protein. Whey protein is a common allergen and can affect the immune system of individuals who may be allergic to it. Whey proteins are also notorious for causing bloating which is a symptom of the body’s inability to digest it. Symptoms related to digestive issues include abdominal pain, gas, bloating and diarrhea (and no one wants that!).

Whey protein is high in sulfur-based amino acids. This means that whey protein is acid forming which can cause significant calcium loss and weakening of the bones known as osteoporosis. Since over-consumption of whey protein leads to increased acidity and lowered pH of the blood, it is believed that this may give rise to various kidney disorders. Bottom line is, whey protein is inherently unhealthy and leads to inflammation in the body due to its acidic nature.

Plant-based protein, on the other hand, is a much easier digestible source of protein for humans without the side effects associated with whey protein. Plant protein is perfectly packaged along with an abundance of phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fibre—all critical components for optimal health and disease prevention. Blended plant-based protein provides you all the essential amino acids and is alkaline forming in the body. In other words, plant-based protein is healthy and is a much smarter alternative to traditional whey protein powders.

PEAS, PLEASE!

Pea protein is more or less what it sounds like: protein extracted from peas. If you haven't bothered to take the plunge and give peas a chance, then now's the time. It turns out that the humble pea is a power-packed veggie protein source that's worth your attention, especially if you have specific food allergies or sensitivities.

Unlike popular whey protein powders, pea protein digests easily since it contains absolutely no lactose or glutens. That means no bloating! Many "healthy" foods lead to bloating, which is a common food allergy symptom. Another reason why pea protein deserves praise is it’s almost pure protein. 

Pea protein also digests slowly, which makes it perfect for taking before you go to bed, and which may also make it better for improving body composition over time than faster-digesting options like whey.

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