If you are trying to burn more fat and build more muscle, you may consider adding protein powder to your diet. These ingredients are mixed with water or milk to create a shake that can boost your protein intake and help you reach your fitness goals.
But with all of the different protein powder options on the market, it can be hard to know which one is right for you. Two of the most popular types of protein powder sources are whey and plant-based materials.
So, which one should you choose?
Whey Protein Powder
Whey protein powder is made from whey—the liquid that separates from cow’s milk during the cheese-making process. Once the whey is separated, the carbohydrates, fats, and other compounds are removed, and then it is dried into a powder.
Whey protein powder is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids your body needs but cannot produce on its own.
Whey protein powder also contains lactose, a type of sugar found in milk. For people who are lactose-intolerant or typically have a problem digesting dairy, this may be a problem, as it can cause bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Whey protein isolate tends to have less lactose than whey protein concentrate, but both processing types can still cause digestive issues for some people.
Plant-Based Protein Powder
Plant-based protein powder is made from a variety of sources. Common ingredients include rice, peas, and soy. Many brands of plant-based protein powder will combine these ingredients to create a powder that contains a complete amino acid profile.
Plant-based protein powder is an excellent option for people looking for a dairy-free or vegan protein powder option. It is also typically easier to digest than whey protein, making it a good choice for people who have trouble digesting dairy products.
However, if you have a soy allergy or are on a FODMAPs diet, you will want to avoid plant-based protein powder that contains soy or peas.
Which Protein Powder Should You Choose?
Both whey and plant-based protein powders contain similar amounts of protein and appear to provide equivalent effects. Multiple clinical studies have found no significant differences in muscle growth or strength development.
If one protein powder doesn’t agree with you or your digestive system, try the other type. Otherwise, it’s mostly a matter of personal preference.
Keep in mind that while protein powders can help prevent unhealthy overeating and stimulate muscle growth, supplementation is not a healthy substitute for a well-balanced diet. Make sure to eat a variety of whole foods, including lean protein sources, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, to reach your fitness goals.