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LAVERA STEWARTEditor-in-Chief of the Gym Expert
In our day and age more people than ever wish to lead a healthy lifestyle. Go on a diet, incorporate exercise in their routine, get rid of unhealthy habits, etc. And it’s not surprising, since we continually receive new information about the relationship between balanced nutrition, regular exercise, and health.
The market as we know follows all trends, and so does the one that focuses on health. Hence, why so many manufacturers focus on producing healthy food and various health-related products, such as dietary supplements. As we know, most of us are living pretty hectic lives, and don’t have a lot of time to plan and prepare meals. In such conditions, nutritional supplements come in handy because they allow us to get all the nutrients that we fail to get from food. And these are necessary for maintaining and improving our health.
One of such supplements that received a lot of attention and popularity is protein powder. Protein is one of the essential macronutrients which build muscles; repairing tissue produces various enzymes and hormones! Thus it offers a plethora of health benefits.
There are several types of protein powder on the market. Some of them are animal proteins such as the famous whey and casein. Others are plant proteins such as soy, hemp, and pea protein. Although they are all excellent products, people are mainly curious about whey and pea protein. These have been proven to be very useful for enriching your body with important elements and offer some health benefits like improved muscle recovery. However, what is the main difference between the two, and which one would be better for you?
That is what we’ve decided to explore and learn of the difference between pea protein vs. whey.
What is Pea Protein
So first of all – what is pea protein? Well, as the name suggests, pea protein is a type of protein that is derived from peas. However, we are not talking about common green peas everyone is used to seeing. Pea protein comes from yellow split peas. And these contain all nine amino acids, which means that it enriches your body with all the essential elements.
To derive this protein, peas are dried and then ground into a fine powder. The fiber and starch are then removed and what remains is pea protein isolate.
This protein becomes increasingly popular because it offers a remarkable collection of micronutrients such as manganese, copper, vitamins B 6 and B 12, phosphorus, folate, etc.
Now, when we’re talking about pea protein powder it is necessary to mention that it is low in calories. On average, 20 grams of this protein contains only about 80 calories. At the same time, it offers about 15grams of protein, 1 gram of carbs, 1 gram of fiber, 1.5 grams of fat, and 5 grams of iron. The total sodium content is 230mg.
Pea Protein Benefits
- Maybe one of the biggest benefits of pea protein vs. whey is that the former is vegan. Hence, it doesn’t contribute to animal exploitation and it doesn’t contain any of the common allergens.
- Pea protein has all nine essential amino acids and is a good source of BCAAs, which promote healthy blood flow and heart health
- Most powders contain about 5-7.5mg of iron which is around 28-42 percent of recommended daily dose for premenopausal women and 62-94 percent of daily dose for men and postmenopausal women.
Pea Protein Downsides
Generally, pea protein digests really well. Since it is isolated, the pea powder doesn’t contain fiber and thus doesn’t cause bloating and gassiness which peas, in general, can do. However, pea protein powder comes with high sodium content, so people that have to watch sodium intake might need to talk with their GP before using this product.
What is Whey Protein?
We often have people asking us if whey protein vegan. Four that you need to understand that whey protein is a mixture of proteins that come from the liquid part – whey – of milk that separates during the production of cheese. Hence it is not vegan. At first, whey was considered a byproduct, and people would just throw it away. However that changed when science learned that whey contains a remarkable amount of essential amino acids that offer a lot .
There are several types of whey protein – concentrate, isolate, hydrolysate, and native whey. Each of them has a different nutritive value. Besides, since whey protein doesn’t have an attractive taste, many manufacturers add ingredients that change the nutritional profile. On average, however, we can say that one scoop (30 grams) contains about 20 grams of protein, 5 grams of carbs, 55 mg of sodium, and no iron. It comes with about 130 calories.
Whey Protein Benefits
- One of the biggest whey protein benefits is that it is rich in branched-chain amino acids, particularly leucine. That is the most anabolic (growth-promoting) amino acid.
- Whey protein can be effective in regulating blood glucose levels. Interestingly, studies have shown that taking whey protein powder before or with a high carb meal regulates blood sugar in healthy people and those with type 2 diabetes.
Whey Protein Downsides
As whey comes from milk, it can cause problems for some people who are allergic or intolerant to lactose. Still, when used moderately, usually everything goes without problems. Manufacturers of whey protein powder usually add ingredients, such as refined sugar, to improve the taste. That is why when you compare whey protein vs. plant protein, you’ll notice that whey has a higher calorie content.
Differences between Whey and Pea Protein
- Well, pea protein is entirely plant-based and thus lactose-free protein powder. Hence it is way better for people who might be allergic or intolerant to milk and dairy products.
- When comparing pea protein powder vs. whey, you see that pea powder is naturally cholesterol and fat-free.
- When thinking about how much protein in peas, you probably imagine that the answer is less than in milk. However, yellow split peas used in this case have a very high protein content – 25 grams for 100 gr. of peas. Pea protein is more concentrated than whey that contains 23 grams of protein on average.
Many people are wondering is pea protein better than whey. And as you could notice, they are excellent products. But which one will be better for you depends on your particular needs.
So if you’re a vegan and/ or lactose intolerant – then pea protein is your option. However If you need a protein as a dietary replacement, then whey would be the one for you.
|Pea Protein||Whey Protein|
|Building muscle and recovery||Yes||Yes|
|Okay for people with allergies||Yes||No|
|Suitable for vegans||Yes||No|
The Bottom Line
And that’s all the major differences between pea protein vs. whey! Overall, when you’re choosing between these 2, it is essential to know your exact reasons for using this product. Being plant-based, pea protein is, of course, a better choice for vegans and people with lactose intolerance. However, the body doesn’t absorb it as quickly as whey protein. Hence, why whey is more recommended to people who want to lose weight. Plus, whey protein can be helpful for people who are struggling to get enough protein in their diet, since it enriches you with this element and allows you to gain muscle weight.
So with that said, we sincerely hope that our guide was informative, and will help you choose the protein powder that best works for you and your lifestyle and your goals!
So which do YOU think is a better option – Pea protein vs Whey? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!