Whey supplementation is synonymous with protein for many gym-goers, weightlifters, athletes, and the health and diet aware among us as if it is the only option available.
Whey protein, like casein, is derived from milk and is one of the options. The liquid whey that remains when curds join together is used to make whey in the cheese making process. Whey protein is manufactured by processing and refining whey liquid to separate the proteins from the lipids and lactose, then drying the powder. Whey protein includes all nine necessary amino acids, making it an excellent and widely used protein supplement.
Others, such as vegan and vegetarian bodybuilders, may fit allergies and meet specific nutritional needs.
The 18 Best Whey Protein Alternatives
1. Vegan Pea Protein Powder
The vegan pea protein powder comes first. Brown rice and hemp are two more possible sources. Our highly refined pea protein isolate has a massive 23 grams of protein per scoop and has fewer carbohydrates and fats than other options. It is also known to aid in weight loss by making you feel more ‘full’ between meals, which is beneficial to anybody trying to lose weight.
2. Lactose-Free Protein Powder
Lactose is a typical worry for gainers seeking to meet their daily protein requirements, and because the powerful whey comes from milk and cheese, lactose-intolerant people may want to look for a replacement.
Like with most vegan and vegetarian protein powders, your best bet is to look for plant or egg-based proteins like brown rice, hemp, or pea protein powders. The good news is that you’ll be pleased to find that the protein level per serving is comparable to whey.
3. Hemp Protein Powder
Hemp has a significant amount of the nine necessary amino acids, making it ideal for lean muscle building and recovery.
Furthermore, it has a significant amount of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids found in meals like fish. Again, this is fantastic news for vegetarians, as they contribute significantly to the health of your heart and joints.
4. Brown Rice Protein Powder
Brown Rice Protein is a terrific choice for those of us who don’t want to eat whey. It’s also suitable for vegetarians and vegans. It’s also high in iron, with just one tablespoon supplying 10% of your daily intake.
Although rice is commonly thought of as a carbohydrate source, brown rice protein is separated and has just 2g of carbohydrates per tablespoon, which is excellent news for anybody wanting to reduce their carb consumption.
5. Soy Protein Powder
Many animal-based proteins are just as effective as soy protein powder. It’s also a good source of protein for those trying to lose weight. Soybeans are a legume with high protein content and a low-fat content. Soybean meal is converted into soy protein isolate, which has a protein content of 90 to 95 percent. Fats and carbohydrates are reduced as a result of this procedure.
6. Egg White Protein Powder
Egg whites are well-known as a high-protein food source for muscular growth. Egg protein is highly bioavailable, which means that your body (particularly your muscles) uses more of it when it is digested. In addition, it contains more branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) than whey. Egg white protein powder is fat-free and carb-free by nature.
7. Casein Protein Powder
Casein, like whey, is a milk product. The primary advantage of casein is its capacity to keep you full (feeling full). It’s a slow-digesting protein, so it’s ideal for taking last thing at night to stave off hunger and avoid the dreaded eight-hour fast. This has the advantage of increased muscle retention and fat reduction.
8. Organic Protein Powder
Have you made the switch to organic? If you want to eliminate artificial chemicals, soy, or sweets, organic protein powders are the way to go. Our Organic Whey Protein is produced in certified organic farms where cows live as naturally as possible.
The cows graze on lush green meadows, and the whey is ultra-filtered to deliver 20 grams of protein per serving.
9. Collagen Protein Powder
Collagen Protein Powder provides up to 90% protein, allowing you to increase your overall protein consumption without adding fats or carbs to your diet.
While collagen may be utilized for a variety of reasons, it has a different quantity of amino acids than whey or other protein powders, making it a better fit for the rest of your routine.
10. Hydrolysed Beef Protein Powder
It includes all of the necessary amino acids and is therefore ideal for muscle rehabilitation and growth. In addition, it’s low in fat and sugar, and it’s also dairy-free.
11. Essential Amino Acid Powder (EAAs)
This one is a little different because it isn’t a “protein powder.” BCAAs were the most popular supplement until an additional study showed that EAAs were superior. The following is the reason:
Leucine is the most essential amino acid for muscle protein synthesis. Muscle protein synthesis is the method through which you can gain muscle mass. You can’t create real muscle without enough Leucine in your diet.
As a result, many people began using BCAA supplements. Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine are the three branched-chain amino acids.
However, we eventually discovered that Leucine is more like a light switch, whereas the nine necessary amino acids collectively are like electricity. To put it another way, ingesting Leucine alone is like turning on a light switch without any power flowing through it. The signal is there, but there aren’t enough resources.
Taking an essential amino acid supplement rather than a branched chain amino acid supplement guarantees that you obtain all nine essential amino acids necessary for muscular growth (Leucine included).
Avoid proprietary mixes when looking for EAA supplements so that you know precisely what you’re getting. Although there aren’t as many EAA supplements on the market as there are BCAA supplements, I’ve been taking ISO-EAA from Man Sports for quite some time. It contains all of the necessary amino acids, as well as electrolytes and glutamine.
12. Plant Protein Blends
These powders are ideal for folks who can’t pick which type of protein they want. Many of these powders contain a combination of protein from hemp seeds, peas, and even cranberries.
13. Goat Milk Protein
Unlike whey, which is made from cow milk, goat milk protein comes from goats.
The good news is that goat milk protein is appropriate for lactose intolerant persons, making it an ideal whey protein alternative.
14. Sacha Inchi Protein
Have you heard of this protein before? You’re not the only one who feels this way. Sacha inchi protein is derived from the seed of the sachi inchi plant, which is only found in Peru. As a result, it is not generally recognized and is also rather expensive. It barely offers 17 grams of protein per 28 gram meal and contains a staggering 120 calories.
This put it toward the top of the protein-to-calorie ratio scale. It is also not a complete protein since it lacks lysine, but it has many other important amino acids.
So why use it if it’s expensive and has a poor calorie-to-protein ratio? Studies have shown that sacha inchi protein may produce the same muscle development results as soy protein powder despite having a lower protein content. It also provides a number of extra health advantages.
The protein in sacha inchi is abundant in arginine, which your body needs to generate nitric oxide, which causes your arteries to dilate and enhance blood flow while also lowering blood pressure. It’s also high in ALA omega 3 fat, which is good for your heart and accounts for the high calories. For these reasons, Sacha inchi protein is ideal for athletes and may be included in a high-intensity diet.
15. Chia Seed Protein
Chia seeds are originated from South America, but they are now commonly utilized in beverages and baked foods in many nations. Chia seeds are low in protein, including just 10 grams per 28-gram portion, but they are also low in calories, including only 50 calories per serving and containing a great 8 grams of fiber.
I wouldn’t recommend chia seed protein as a daily protein, but it has many digestive advantages, so it’s an excellent complement to mix in with other proteins or simply your meal in general.
16. Sunflower Protein
Sunflower seed protein is a novel protein powder that lacks lysine, like many other seed proteins, but is abundant in other key amino acids. It also doesn’t have the finest protein-to-calorie ratio, with only 13 grams of protein and 91 calories per 28-gram serving. However, in terms of sustainability, it has a negligible environmental impact.
I’d say the verdict is still out on sunflower protein because there are other seed-based proteins with more advantages, but give it a shot because you might enjoy its naturally nutty flavor.
17. Alfalfa Protein
Alfalfa has been farmed for animal feed and used as a medicinal herb for generations, but it is a relative newcomer when it comes to protein powders. It doesn’t have a fantastic protein to calorie ratio with 16 grams of protein per 28-gram serving and 120 calories. However, we aren’t simply searching for muscle-building capabilities when we use alfalfa supplements because alfalfa provides a wide range of health advantages.
Vitamin K, vitamin C, copper, manganese, and folate are all abundant in alfalfa. This, along with its high quantity of bio active plant chemicals, makes it an excellent supplement for replenishing any nutrients you may be lacking. To top it off, alfalfa has been demonstrated to decrease cholesterol while also increasing metabolic rate. Alfalfa protein should be used in conjunction with other protein sources rather than on its own, but it is an excellent supplement to a well-balanced diet.
18. Pumpkin Seeds Protein
Pumpkin seeds are strong in protein and fat, although most of the fat is removed during processing, decreasing the overall calorie count. Pumpkin seed protein offers roughly 18 grams of protein per 28-gram serving and 103 calories, putting it on the lower end of the protein-to-calorie ratio.
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of magnesium, zinc, iron, and other minerals; however, they are not a complete protein since they lack the necessary amino acids threonine and lysine. On the plus side, pumpkin seeds have been shown to contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities beneficial to your gut health.
Pumpkin seeds have a virtually minimal environmental impact because they are a byproduct of already widely available food. The seeds can also be kept for an extended period, making it an excellent commodity to stockpile during a bumper crop. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein, but I wouldn’t advocate them as your primary source of protein. However, they should be on your shelf to help you receive some of the extra vitamins and gut health advantages that they bring.
It’s crucial to note that whey isn’t the be-all and end-all of protein supplements, especially for vegans, vegetarians, or those attempting to cut down on animal products in their diet. There are many other plant and egg-based protein powders on the market that are as rich in protein.