So you’re taking protein to help build muscle and get results or are at least considering it. The question you need to ask yourself is why whey? And why use protein supplements at all? The most popular, accessible and cheap protein is whey, but is it the best? The reality is that most western diets (especially guy’s diets) have enough protein to increase lean muscle mass. This obviously needs to be with the right foods (whole foods) and lifting weights, but I’m not telling you anything new. What I want to tell you about is the different types of protein supplement available and how they can benefit you.
Whey is a kind of protein that is packed with branched chain amino acids such as leucine, isoleucine, and valine and as such are the building blocks of muscle. Supplements can help to preserve our lean muscle in-between meals and workouts. As mentioned previously, it tops the list of many supplement websites for a few reasons stemming from its ability to build mass quickly, its ready bioavailability, its cost, support of fat burning, decreasing appetite, boosting immunity and its accessibility to many. Along with this, some studies have shown its ability to increase glutathione which is an important antioxidant.
Of course, this is all great unless you are one of the ever-increasing population of people with allergies to milk substances so you’ll need one of the hypo-allergenic varieties. The other downsides to whey include; flatulence – the lactose can cause flatulence and excess consumption can lead to diarrhea and bloating. Most manufacturers of whey protein sure do make them taste delicious but this is usually due to the excessive amount of artificial sweeteners they add which does no favors for your body. Whey protein is also heavily processed which significantly degrades the nutritional quality.
A great alternative to whey protein, are plant-based, for example, pea, hemp, soy, and brown rice protein. While there has not been as much study into plant-based proteins compared to whey, the studies that have been done have shown promising and competitive results. A clinical study in 2013 showed that brown rice protein was equal to whey protein when it came to; building muscle, gaining strength, and aiding in recovery. As well as providing great results, plant-based protein is a lot easier for the body to digest than dairy products so you won’t have the same unpleasant, smelly side effects as whey. Plant-based proteins generally have a much lower content of artificial sweeteners giving them more of a neutral taste.
Whey protein is a complete protein has a complete amino acid profile whereas plant-based proteins tend to be deficient in some amino acids. Just like no one plant can give you the same nutritional value as meat, variety is required. For example, by having a combination of brown rice and pea protein, you’ll get all the amino acids found in whey – just without the farting. Generally, plant-based proteins come with a higher price tag due to whey being massed produced but you do get what you pay for.
So which should you choose? Whey or Plant-based? The decision is yours. While you have to weigh up your budget and your body reactions, you don’t have to weigh up results. Both have been proven to be effective in building muscle and aiding recovery. Whilst there are many many proteins supplements on the market it is often a headache to find one that suits you. Many companies have individual single-serve packets, so why not try small amounts of products before you buy.