When it comes to selecting the right protein supplement, it all depends on your individual needs and preferences. If you're comfortable with consuming animal-based protein, then whey is the more effective option. However, if you have lactose intolerance or are allergic to dairy products, then plant-based proteins are the better choice. Whey protein is derived from cow's milk and is the most common form of protein powder.
It contains all the essential amino acids needed to promote muscle recovery and synthesis after a workout. Whey isolate is also derived from dairy products, but it has a lower calorie content, a lower fat level and a higher protein intake per serving. It also contains little or no lactose, which is a sugar found in milk. Soy protein is a plant-based alternative that has been claimed by the FDA to be better for heart health than whey. It also helps increase energy production at the cellular level and provides vital support for protein synthesis.
Casein protein is digested and absorbed at a slower rate than whey protein and may be more beneficial than vegetable protein in promoting muscle growth between meals or also before sleep. In general, if you want a sustainable protein to help you control your weight or you follow a vegan or lactose-free diet, choose plant-based proteins instead of whey. A three-month study showed that subjects who consumed 21 grams of whey protein and casein per day lost 2.6 pounds of body fat and gained 3.3 pounds of lean body mass. At rest, men who consumed whey protein had the most muscle growth, followed by men who ate soy and then those who ate casein. With its high leucine content and rapid digestion, whey protein is generally believed to be better than vegetable protein in this regard. Research published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition states that it would take just two hours to fully absorb a dose of 20 g of whey. Rather than relying on processed foods such as some whey products and whey isolates, nutrition experts suggest that you limit their intake and opt for whole-food sources such as chicken, fish, tofu, eggs, or legumes instead.
Both whey and plant-based proteins can be a nutritious and effective supplement to any diet and exercise plan, but one will most likely suit your needs better than the other.