Whey protein powder has long been a staple in the diet of bodybuilders, gym goers and those looking to improve their health and fitness. However, with the rise of alternate protein supplements coming to market, is vegan protein powder now a better option than whey protein?
Vegan protein powder is a great option for those wanting to increase their protein intake while avoiding animal based or derived products. And while there are some differences in protein and nutritional value, both vegan and whey proteins can be perfect options depending on your preferences.
So although the short answer is that it depends on your dietary preferences, there are many key differences that determine whether whey or vegan is superior for certain uses.
Let’s take a look at the differences between the two and why you may want to use one over the other.
Vegan vs Whey Protein Powder: 3 Similarities
Before we get into the differences between these two protein powders, it’s important to know what their similarities are.
1. Flavour Availability
Have you tasted unflavoured whey before? It’s definitely not the nicest of tastes. The same goes for the pure pea or soy based protein sources often used in vegan proteins.
Fortunately, one of the main similarities between vegan and whey based protein powders is that they both come in a large assortment of flavours. From chocolate to vanilla, salted caramel and coffee, your not going to have any shortages of flavours to choose from.
Surprisingly these are both quite similar in pricing.
When vegan protein first began to really boom the prices were significantly higher than a comparable sized whey protein. But nowadays, their prices are very much the same except for a few outlying brands on either side. You can generally pick up either of them for around 0.09 cents per gram of protein with around 20-24 grams per serving.
Both vegan and whey protein powders generally mix quite similarly with either water or milk. From our experience we’ve generally found pea based vegan proteins to mis quite similar to a whey isolate while other variants are a touch thicker and closer to a whey blend.
Vegan vs Whey Protein Powder: 3 Differences
The decision would be quite simple if there were only similarities, but of course, we do need to take a quick look at the few differences between the two types of protein as well.
This, at least for us, is probably one of the biggest differences between the two. But it shouldn’t be confused with mixability.
In most cases, whey protein is generally quite smooth and occasionally may have a bit of a grainy texture. Particularly isolates.
Vegan protein on the other hand is generally much grainer and has sometimes been considered to be a little unpleasant. Pea protein for example, tends to be a lot grainer and can have a texture similar to that of a chickpea.
Whey protein is super easy to get your hands on. So much so that beyond supplement stores and online, most supermarkets and chemists stock a range of it. Some of the supermarket ranges aren’t the greatest of quality, but they’re easy to find.
Whereas vegan protein can be a bit harder to source. While it’s easy enough to buy some online from supplement stores and direct from brands, there’s generally a much smaller range available through retail outlets and supermarkets since the demand is lower.
3. Complete Protein
Lastly, and potentially a negative, is that some vegan protein powders are not complete sources of protein, while Whey Protein is. Whey Protein contains each of the 9 essential Amino Acids required by the body, making it a complete protein source. Most vegan protein sources are not, while some are “nearly” complete.
Is Vegan Protein Powder Better Than Whey Protein?
In terms of protein and essential amino content, Whey, such as ISO Whey Zero, is technically the better protein powder. However, Vegan protein powder can be a great alternative and help you if you are wanting to follow a vegan diet or suffer from a dairy intolerance.