Essential Amino Acids (EAA) Vs Whey Protein

Essential Amino Acids (EAA) Vs Whey Protein: Here’s What You Need To Know

It’s easy to go into a rabbit hole with the reams of knowledge and research on how to eat or recover for your specific activity or goal once you start making progress with your fitness and training.

According to the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF), 43% of individuals polled found it difficult to acquire credible information about healthy diets, with the major sources of confusion being shifting information, messaging, and advice from the media and experts.

Our goal at Amino is to assist our athletes and members in making better, more informed decisions by taking seemingly complicated information and simplifying it into a simple manner.

Whey protein and EAA differ mostly in their amino acid composition and calorie content per serving. Whey includes all 20 amino acids, whereas EAA only has 9 essential amino acids. EAAs are very low in calories, making them an excellent choice for building lean muscle.

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are necessary for muscle protein synthesis and hormone control. Because not all protein supplements are made equal, it is vital to select the appropriate supplements in order to achieve the desired results.

Whey protein and EAA (essential amino acids) are both beneficial in their own ways. To address all of your questions, let’s first go through the basics of Whey protein and EAA (essential amino acids), and then we’ll compare them.

Basics Of Whey Protein And EAA

Essential Amino Acids (EAA) Vs Whey Protein

If you already know the principles of protein and amino acids, you may skip this section and go straight to the comparative section.

Many individuals aren’t even aware of the word “amino acids,” and instead focus on protein ingestion to build muscle and strength. Amino acids are the smallest building components that make up proteins, and there are 20 distinct amino acids.

Amino acids are further divided into three groups.

Non-Essential Amino Acids

Non-essential amino acids are created by the human body, therefore you don’t have to worry about their being consumed through food.

Essential Amino Acids

9 out of 20 aminos are Essential Amino Acids that your body can not manufacture on its own. These amino acids must be obtained through diet and other sources.

Conditional Amino Acids

These are amino acids that your body can create but that your body may not be able to meet the needs. To satisfy the body’s demands, you may need to supplement certain amino acids under certain conditions.

What Is Whey Protein?

Bodybuilders have long preferred whey protein to increase lean muscle mass. Whey protein supplements typically include a comprehensive spectrum of amino acids that are easy to digest and have been shown to increase muscle mass and strength.

What Is EAA?

Essential Amino Acids (EAA)

Essential amino acids (EAAs) are amino acids that your body cannot create on its own. While some individuals are confused about the differences between BCAA and EAA, BCAA includes three of the nine essential amino acids that are known to enhance muscle function, whereas EAAs contain all of the necessary amino acids for muscle health. When compared to BCAA, EAA is clearly the winner.

Whey Vs EAA

Before we get into the details of the comparison, it’s important to understand the differences between Whey and EAA. Whey has long been the preferred protein of bodybuilders, while EAAs are relatively new to the market. Both protein supplements provide complete protein sources that aid in muscle growth, although EAA is a little more complex in terms of quality than whey protein. Whey has been shown to help with muscle protein synthesis, however EAAs have been demonstrated to be more beneficial for gaining lean muscle mass. EAAs also help to avoid bloating and are more quickly absorbed than whey.

The amino profiles of whey protein and EAA supplements are another distinction. Whey includes all 20 amino acids, whilst the other only contains the Essential Amino Acids.

Whey protein, as seen in the diagram below, includes all of the required and non-essential amino acids, making it a complete dietary supply for optimal development. But that isn’t the end of the tale; EAA has its own set of advantages, which we will discuss.

1. Quality

Whey protein is unquestionably one of the greatest entire protein supplements since it provides the whole amino acid profile all at once.

Problem is, most people check at the protein and BCAA content per scoop before buying a Whey protein, right? Whey’s wide range of amino acids gives producers an excuse to experiment with different amino ratios. To keep costs down, some low-cost manufacturers use additional non-essential aminos (which are typically cheaper).

EAA, on the other hand, is made up entirely of essential amino acids that cannot be changed. Although EAAs have a lower protein content (per scoop), they are unquestionably of superior quality.

2. Origin

Because whey is made from milk, the majority of whey supplements are vegetarian.

EAA, on the other hand, may be taken from a variety of sources and combined to give your workout a powerful boost. If you’re a vegetarian, you should be aware of where EAA comes from.

3. Lean Muscle Gain

Whey protein is available in a number of forms, including raw whey, whey concentrate, isolated whey, hydrolyzed whey, and zero carb whey. You’ll have to spend extra to acquire the low-carb whey.

EAA supplements only include essential amino acids, which the body needs to perform its functions.

Investing in EAA might be a better decision if you’re seeking for low-calorie and low-carb choices.

4. Protein Synthesis

Here, whey protein comes out on top. Researchers discovered that whey protein increases muscle protein synthesis considerably more effectively than EAA. However, the quality of the whey you’re using has a role here as well.

Katsanos and his colleagues studied the differences in protein synthesis of Whey protein, essential amino acids, and non-essential amino acids in a sample of elderly people.

The study found that supplementing with whey protein was a superior choice, however the difference in protein synthesis was not significant. Non-essential aminos supplementation resulted in the lowest rate of protein synthesis.

5. Fasted State

Some people like to exercise on an empty stomach, while others are early risers who head directly to the gym; these individuals do not consume their pre-workout meal 60 minutes before to the activity.

EAA is a great intra-workout supplement since it will help you feed your workout while also preventing muscle protein breakdown.

Once you’ve broken the fast with a post-workout meal, whey protein can be ingested.

6. Inflammation And Digestive Issues

If whey protein causes bloating and digestive problems as a result of your body’s allergy to milk products, EAA is the ideal option.

Instead of EAA, how about BCAA? Your EAA supplement already includes BCAA, as well as six other necessary amino acids that aid in protein synthesis.

7. Absorption Rate

Whey protein is, without a doubt, readily absorbed by the body, but EAAs are even quicker.

That’s why having a scoop of EAA straight after a workout and then getting your whey protein with your post-exercise meal is a great idea.

8. Cost

If cost is a consideration, you should probably stick to your whey supplement. EAA supplements are a little more expensive.

9. Want To Get Jacked

Whey protein is one of the greatest options if the digestive issue is not a problem, if the Insulin spike is not a problem, and if you want to become huge. A scoop of whey with a pre-workout meal and another scoop of whey afterward is the best option.

Only whey will not help you gain weight because it contains only 120-150 calories per serving; instead, you need focus on your macros.

For maximum muscle building, I normally advise my clients to take three scoops of whey (morning, pre-workout, and post-workout) and one scoop of casein before bed.

10. Insulin Spike

Are you worried about an insulin spike? EAA is the superior option. The insulin graph looks like this. I’m referring to Christos S Katsanos and his colleagues’ research.

Can EAA Replace Whey Protein?

Before I address this question, you must first consider why whey protein should be replaced with EAA. If you’re searching for a low-calorie option, consider substituting whey protein for EAA.

I like to include EAA in my intra-workout to keep my muscle fibers fed for heavy lifting, but I also include two scoops of whey to help with recovery.

Can BCAA Replace Whey?

That is something I would never suggest! Only three necessary amino acids are found in BCAAs, which are insufficient for skeletal muscle protein synthesis. BCAAs should only be utilized after your body has used up all of its vital amino acids.

Muscular protein requires all amino profiles for muscle growth, and amino profiles that are missing will stifle growth.

Which Product Should I Take Before Or During My Workouts?

Whey protein has been found to not only repair and rebuild muscle after an exercise, but also to reduce muscle breakdown and reserve muscular fuel resources before and throughout a workout. So, one hour before a workout, ingesting 15-20 grams of Whey Protein Isolate would be useful. Branched-chain amino acids, such as leucine, isoleucine, and valine, play a larger role in protein synthesis stimulation than other amino acids. Amino acids are branched-chain amino acids that may be metabolized for energy in the muscle. They’ve also been demonstrated to reduce muscle injury signs in both endurance and resistance athletes. Supplementing before and/or during an event would be beneficial for every athlete due to their unique features.

Which Product Should I Take After My Workouts?

While both Whey Protein Isolate and Aminos are excellent recovery options because they stimulate protein synthesis and repair and rebuild lean muscle tissue, a 2006 study published in Experimental Gerontology concluded that, while essential amino acids have a greater anabolic effect, whey protein and essential amino acids are both effective sources of muscle protein synthesis.

* An athlete can reach the 15-gram level of branched-chain amino acids by consuming 20 to 30 grams of whey protein. Whey Protein Isolate is an excellent recovery alternative when paired with carbs. Add 1-2 scoops of Whey Protein Isolate to a fruit smoothie of your choosing to achieve this.

How Do I Use These Products To Meet My Nutrition Goals?

Both products will help you improve your performance and recuperation, but before you compare one to the other, you need to determine what you want to achieve. You’ll need to increase your calorie and macronutrient intake if you want to gain weight (lean muscle mass). Incorporating a whey protein drink between meals is one method to achieve this. The additional calories and protein will increase your overall daily consumption, helping you to achieve your target more quickly. Maybe you’re trying to lose a few pounds and slim down. The Aminos would be a good method to go about it. Using Aminos as a post-workout supplement would provide you with the advantages of mending and rebuilding lean muscle tissue without the added calories of a protein drink.

How Much Protein Do I Need?

Protein should be consumed throughout the day and in every meal or snack to achieve an athlete’s daily protein requirements of 0.8 to 1 gram per pound of lean body weight. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds and have 20% body fat, you may require up to 130 grams of protein per day. When you divide it by six meals, you get 22 grams of protein every meal. A sedentary individual should ingest 0.5 to 0.6 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass. This inactive individual, who weighs 160 pounds and has a body fat percentage of 20%, should consume 70-75 grams of protein throughout the day.

Protein aids in the stabilization of energy, the promotion of satiety, and the acceleration of the metabolism. Protein makes your body work a little harder to digest, so it gives your metabolism a boost every time you eat it. You’ll quickly and successfully meet your protein demands by include a protein source with each of our meals and your post-workout recovery shake.


Despite the fact that we frequently hear about a rivalry between Whey Protein and EAAs, we can assert that Whey and EAAs have many parallels as well as distinctions. Both sources of amino acids have their own set of pros and downsides. The athlete’s particular goals will determine whether Whey protein powder or an EAA supplement is the best option. Studies have also demonstrated that combining single EAAs with Whey protein can improve muscle cell protein synthesis.

In the end, it comes down to taste: a Whey Protein Shake tastes creamy like a milkshake, but an EAA drink is light and refreshing like a soft drink. The most important thing is to look for high quality in both products, so that Whey protein powder, for example, contains an adequate amount of pure protein.

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