Whey Protein vs Plant-Based Protein: Which is Better for You
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Whey Protein vs Plant-Based Protein: Which is Better for You?

Protein is an essential nutrient that plays a key role in building and repairing our body's muscles, bones, skin, and other tissues. Athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness enthusiasts often rely on protein supplements to fulfill their protein requirements and enhance their performance during the workout.

Among the various supplements available in the market, whey protein and plant protein are two popular choices. Both proteins can assist you in losing fat, increasing muscle mass, managing your weight, and improving your strength. However, one protein may be a better fit for you and your goals than the others based on its nutritional profiles and formulation.

Still figuring out your “Whey” to go? Read on for the inside ‘scoop’ on the ‘protein powders battle.


Whey Protein is a complete protein obtained from cow’s milk. It is the by-product of the cheese-making process. Once the liquid has been collected, carbohydrates, fat, lipids, and other components are eliminated. The remaining protein is then dried into a powder.

Since whey protein powder is made from cow’s milk, it contains lactose. Whey protein isolate contains less lactose than whey protein concentrate due to processing differences.

It contains all nine essential amino acids that are not produced by our body on its own.


Plan Protein is derived from various types of plant sources such as peas, soy, hemp, and brown rice. A powder can be manufactured from a single plant or a combination of plants.

Plant-based protein powders do not include dairy or lactose because they are created exclusively from plants, making them a perfect alternative if you follow a vegan diet or are lactose intolerant.

Plant proteins differ in their amino acid composition, and they do not always include all nine necessary amino acids.

Here’s a quick review of each to help you decide whether Whey Protein or Plant Protein is the best choice for you.


Whey and plant-based protein powders typically provide comparable levels of protein, with the average product containing 20-30 grams per serving.

Whey protein powder is regarded as a complete protein since it contains each of the nine essential amino acids, which are the substance that makes up the protein. It offers a high dosage of protein in just one scoop.

Plant proteins vary in quality depending on the plant they are derived from, and thus not all are of high quality. Plant-based protein typically contains fewer BCAAs than whey protein.

Ultimately, the best way to know if a protein powder contains a good amount of protein and an optimal combination of amino acids is to read the nutrition label.


Whey Protein is easily absorbed and digested by our body, making it an ideal supplement for muscle growth and repair. It also contains leucine, isoleucine, and valine, the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) important for muscle building, recovery, and endurance.

In plant-based protein powders, on the other hand, no singular plant can give you all nine essential amino acids for muscle building. That would be why any plant-based protein needs a blend of several plants ensuring all nine amino acids are provided in the right quantities.

Then only plant proteins can also have significant levels of leucine if they contain two or more plant proteins or are fortified with BCAAs.


Weight loss is accomplished through calorie deficit, which occurs when you consume fewer calories than your body burns in a day.

Whey protein powders can help you lose weight by promoting feelings of fullness and helping preserve lean muscle mass — the fat-free part of your body.

Plant protein on the other hand can also be a good choice for weight loss, especially for vegans as plant protein sources often contain fiber, which can also help to stimulate feelings of fullness and support weight loss efforts.


  Whey Protein Powders Plant-based Protein Powders
Helps build muscles Yes Yes
Supports weight loss Yes Yes
Complete Protein Yes No
Provides 20-30 gm protein per scoop Yes Sometimes
Lactose-free No Yes
Vegan-friendly No Yes


Both whey protein and plant protein have their pros and cons. In general, whey protein may be more advantageous if you want a fast-absorbing and rapidly digested complete protein to help you develop and repair muscles swiftly.

Choose plant-based protein over whey if you want a green protein that will help you maintain your weight or if you follow a vegan or lactose-free diet. However, it may not contain all nine essential amino acids and may not be as easily digested as whey protein.

Finally, the decision between whey protein and plant protein comes down to personal preferences, dietary constraints, and fitness goals.

NOTE: Protein powders can be a convenient method to add protein to your diet, but they should not be your primary source of protein. Instead, choose whole-food protein sources such as chicken, fish, tofu, eggs, or legumes, and use supplements if you fail to fulfill your daily protein requirement just through diet.