Protein is an important building component for muscle tissue development, repair, and general function, independent of its source. The scientific argument over whether a high-protein diet is beneficial to busy lifestyles has long since died down. However, the growth of intolerance (IBD/IBS), allergies, dietary preferences, and/or limitations has raised demand for alternatives to animal-based proteins, which were formerly unchallenged.
Plant-based proteins are increasingly flooding the market, thanks to the increased popularity of plant-based diets. Pea protein has emerged as the most worthy alternative for whey protein in many ways among the various possibilities (hemp, soy, chia, etc.). In this post, we’ll look at the main distinctions between whey and pea protein, as well as which one could be ideal for you.
What Is Whey Protein?
Whey protein is a natural byproduct of cheese manufacturing and is one of the major proteins present in cow’s milk. Whey protein is one of the most widely accessible “complete” proteins, including a considerable amount of each of the nine necessary amino acids.
Due to its high leucine content, whey protein comes in two forms: concentrate and isolate, and has been shown to increase lean muscle mass and naturally promote protein synthesis. Because of its potential to stimulate muscle and strength growth by spiking the blood with both amino acids and insulin, it is the most widely ingested protein in the health and fitness sector. Whey protein has also been shown to decrease blood pressure, speed up weight reduction, and reduce inflammation.
The benefits of really grass-fed whey considerably outweigh those of ordinary whey protein in terms of nutritional density. Lactoferrin and Immunoglobulins (Ig) are two protein fractions that make a significant nutritional difference, which is why grass-fed whey protein has become popular.
What Is Pea Protein?
Pea protein comes from yellow split peas and is a plant-based protein. A dry and a liquid phase are involved in the protein extraction process.
The peas are dried and crushed into a fine flour-like powder containing protein, starch, and fibre during the dry phase. Liquid – To separate the fibre and starch, the powder is combined with water in the liquid phase.
Pea protein comes in both concentrate and isolate forms, much as whey. In comparison to pea protein concentrate, which contains more carbohydrate and fibre, the additional processing in isolation results in the greatest protein content.
The Dangers Of Pea Protein?
It’s not often known, but China is the world’s largest importer of peas, with yearly amounts exceeding 1,000,000 metric tonnes.
Canada and the United States supply the majority of the peas imported. It’s very hard to locate a pea protein powder for sale in the United States that isn’t made in mainland China, exposing it to all of the country’s manufacturing food hazards.
Pea protein is one of the most hazardous protein tubs on the shelf in the United States, thanks to the normal quality assurance and control gaps associated with foreign manufacture of this scale and the Dietary Health Supplementation Education (DHESA) Act. Heavy metals and cross-contamination are two legitimate issues that should be investigated before purchasing pea protein products.
Professional Tip – California does a fantastic job of enforcing Proposition 65 supplement brand infractions in the public eye (heavy metals). As a quick and easy check for that warm and fuzzy sensation, simply “Google” the brand name and look for warning letters.
Because current DHSEA regulations in the United States do not require brands to reveal processing sources, these firms make claims like “100% Split Yellow Pea Protein Grown in the United States of America or Canada,” or “Pea Protein from U.S. and Canada Farms.” Although this is most likely accurate, major danger exists between the farm and the plastic tub in which the finished product is stored.
Is Pea Protein A “Complete” Protein?
Every protein source has its own amino acid profile. Histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine are all necessary amino acids found in a “complete” protein. “Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)” are a group of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine, which are found in an amino acid profile. BCAAs help to increase muscle mass and improve workout performance.
Because the body cannot produce necessary amino acids, they must be obtained from food and diet. Complete proteins, such as whey, are found in animals, but most plant-based proteins are incomplete, meaning they lack critical amino acids.
Pea protein is an anomaly in that it contains all nine necessary amino acids, making it one of the most “complete” plant-based proteins available. However, when compared to animal-based proteins like whey, it does not supply the same quantity of each amino acid. It is particularly deficient in methionine, which is required to form new blood vessels and create cysteine, which is the major precursor to the body’s natural manufacture of the antioxidant Glutathione.
Is Whey Better Than Pea Protein?
“It depends,” is the response to this question. Pea protein is dairy-free, which makes it ideal for vegetarians and those with lactose sensitivity who need to meet their protein requirements. However, whey protein is a popular option among active, athletic populations due to its better amino acid composition and muscle-building affinity.
Benefits Of Pea Protein
Pea protein’s main advantage is that it is a plant-based protein. It is free of the most common allergies, such as milk, eggs, nuts, and wheat, which impact much more people than one may imagine, regardless of health.
Pea protein is a “complete” protein and a strong supply of BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine, and valine), which stimulate muscle development despite being a plant-based protein. It has more arginine than whey protein, despite the lack of methionine. Arginine promotes good blood flow and cardiovascular health.
Pea protein is also high in iron, especially when compared to other plant-based proteins, however it is less absorbable than iron present in animal-based proteins.
Why Is Whey Better Than Pea Protein?
Pea protein, as previously said, has several advantages and is a good choice for those with dietary limitations. There are numerous reasons why whey protein powder is the top option among the fitness community if nutrition is not a restricting issue.
Protein grams per serving are greater in whey protein than in pea protein. A serving of pea protein isolate generally provides 21 grams of protein. On the other hand, AGN Roots Grass Fed whey protein isolate has 25 grams of protein per serving.
Whey protein contains all of the essential amino acids. Every protein source has a unique amino acid profile, which influences how the protein is broken down after digestion. All nine necessary amino acids are found in large amounts in animal-based protein, particularly grass-fed whey protein. To get the same amino acid profile as pea protein, you’ll need to combine multiple sources of protein with complimentary amino acids to make sure your body gets the right balance.
Whey protein is superior to pea protein in terms of muscle growth. The amino acid profile has a direct relationship with muscle building capacity. Despite the fact that pea protein is a “complete” protein that contains BCAAs (making it a superior option among plant-based proteins), it cannot match with whey protein’s muscle-building advantages. Whey protein is rich in leucine, is quickly absorbed by the body, and increases muscle protein synthesis substantially (M.P.S.).
Weight reduction is better with whey protein than with pea protein. Whey protein is better for weight reduction for the same reasons that it is better for muscle development. Whey protein’s amino acid composition enables for rapid absorption by the body. Providing what the body requires and doing it quickly will typically result in less hunger pangs.
On the other hand, Pea protein takes longer to digest than casein proteins, making it mechanically sticky in the gastrointestinal system and therefore suppressing hunger. When proteins such as pea or casein take their time in the stomach, they cause bloating, which may lead to a desire to eat fewer calories in general.
Pea protein has an unpleasant flavour and texture. Pea protein has an earthy, vegetal flavour and might have a chalky, gritty texture, however it may not taste exactly like peas. Protein smoothies may be difficult to disguise in terms of flavour and texture, which is why some companies use chemical masking agents or additions. On the other hand, unflavored pea protein, which is commonly likened to powdered cardboard, is available. When it comes to maximal flexibility and naturally outstanding taste, unflavored grass-fed whey gets the “best in show” prize.
Should I Be Having Pea Protein Or Whey?
Finding the best protein powder for you necessitates a thorough examination of your objectives, body type, and workout regimen. Both pea protein and whey protein are excellent suppliers of amino acids and provide a wide range of protein-related advantages. Whey protein is a great source of protein for individuals who aren’t allergic to dairy.
Notably, some whey proteins may be carefully filtered to eliminate nearly all lactose, making them suitable for lactose sensitivity sufferers. Whey protein powder is a great all-around choice for people who want to consume protein powder before, during, or after a workout.
On the other hand, Pea protein is a great alternative for vegans and anyone who is allergic to whey. It’s hypoallergenic, easy to digest, and full of vital amino acids. Pea protein is an excellent choice for post-workout recovery and as a more full (appetite-controlling) protein source.
Whey and pea protein powders are equivalent in terms of protein concentration. Our pea protein, for example, has 27 grams per serving, while our whey protein has 25 grams. Both of these doses are sufficient to fulfil your fuelling requirements, as taking in more than 30 grams of protein in one session is thought to have decreasing benefits.
Other macronutrients may be present in tiny amounts in your protein powder, depending on the brand and product you pick. For example, pea and whey products may include 2 to 3 grams of carbs and lipids per serving.
Whey and pea proteins differ in terms of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Iron and calcium are abundant in whey protein (which means one serving meets at least 10 percent of your recommended daily requirements). Phosphorus and magnesium are also included in whey protein.
Pea protein has similar quantities of calcium, phosphate, and magnesium as whey protein. The main difference is that pea protein contains 42 percent of your RDA of iron, whereas whey protein only contains 11 percent.
If you’ve ever nerded out on nutrition, you know how vital it is to look at more than just macronutrients and micronutrients. Amino acids, for example, are essential in any discussion of dietary or supplementary protein.
Twenty amino acids are used to form proteins in the body, with nine of them being deemed “essential” since human systems cannot produce them on their own. As a result, we require these 9 amino acids from our food, supplements, or a combination of both.
Overall, animal-based proteins (such as whey) have been shown to have superior amino acid profiles versus plant-based proteins. Whey protein has optimal amounts of all nine necessary amino acids.
While pea protein theoretically contains all nine necessary amino acids, it is deficient in the amino acid methionine. Pea protein is therefore inferior than whey protein in terms of amino acids. That being said, you can get methionine from a variety of other meals throughout the day. Methionine is found in the largest numbers in eggs and meat, although it may also be found in most seeds and grains including oats, brown rice, and rye (albeit in less amounts than in animal products) if you’re vegetarian or vegan.
Digestion & Bioavailability
The term “bioavailability” refers to how easily a meal may be digested, absorbed, and used by human bodies. Animal-derived proteins (such as whey) are somewhat more bioavailable than plant-derived proteins (such as pea). A variety of reasons contribute to this, including the structural form of plant proteins and the fact that they frequently coexist alongside chemicals that inhibit absorption, such as phytic acid and tannins.
It’s crucial to remember that the bioavailability variation is small. Furthermore, due to heat and enzyme treatments, plant proteins become more digestible when processed into powder. If you’re concerned about this discrepancy, adding a few more grams of plant protein to your diet might help.
Health Benefits Of Pea Protein And Whey Protein
Both pea and whey proteins have the same advantages as other proteins: they assist maintain muscle mass and increase satiety, which may aid weight reduction. Is it true, however, that each of these proteins has its own set of advantages?
Because of naturally existing molecules in dairy-based proteins called ACE-inhibitors, whey protein has been proven to help reduce high blood pressure. In tests, whey protein has also been shown to be superior to other proteins for controlling blood sugar levels.
Because of its high iron concentration, pea protein can be an effective supplement for increasing iron levels. Iron supplementation is especially necessary for women, who require more iron owing to monthly menstrual blood loss and pregnancy.
If you donate blood often, have an autoimmune condition, or recuperate from an infection, sickness, or surgery, you may be at risk of iron deficiency anaemia.
Pea protein is your best bet if getting “greener” is a key priority for you. Consumers’ carbon footprint is considerably reduced when they switch to plant-based products.
On the other hand, whey protein has a place in your diet, even if you’re worried about the environment. It’s more effective to minimise your carbon footprint by reducing your beef intake than than focusing on whey protein, because the latter takes fewer resources to manufacture.
Whey protein is well-known for its mild, pleasant flavour. Whey is a good place to start if you have a fussy palate. Pea protein has been characterised as having a grassy, bean-like aftertaste in the past. However, in recent years, processing techniques have considerably improved to make pea protein more palatable. If you didn’t like pea protein a few years ago, give it another shot; chances are, innovation is on your side!
Pea and whey protein powders are available plain or with flavour depending on how you want to use them.
Does Pea Protein Help With Muscle Gain?
Pea protein has been shown to be just as effective as whey protein in terms of muscle growth. In one research, participants who took pea protein isolate had considerably thicker muscles than those who received whey protein or a placebo. Plant proteins, in general, may enhance muscle growth and strength equally as efficiently as animal proteins, according to a comprehensive study, but at somewhat higher doses.
Both protein forms are safe, have a moderate flavour, and have been shown to aid in the growth of muscle development and strength. Both kinds include a lot of calcium and have a lot of protein per serving.
The main distinctions are that whey protein has a better essential amino acid profile and (slightly) higher bioavailability, whereas pea protein is more ecologically friendly and has a higher iron content.