Is Whey Protein Vegan?
If you’re new to the world of supplements then you’ve undoubtedly heard of whey protein. However, one of the most common questions associated with this source of protein is whether or not it’s suitable for vegans. Keep reading to find out…
Okay, so we’re not going to keep you waiting for the answer.
Is whey protein vegan?
The answer is no.
Whey protein is not vegan-friendly, as it is derived from cow’s milk.
But, don’t worry. If you want to continue to add additional protein to your diet, there are some fantastic vegan protein powders available.
What is whey protein?
We’ve established that whey protein is not vegan-friendly.
But, what exactly is it? In short, whey is a naturally-occurring protein that is found in milk.
However, it’s not the only protein you’ll find in milk. The other protein that occurs in milk is casein. These two proteins are typically found in pasteurised milk at a ratio of 20:80. That is, whey makes up 20% of milk’s protein content, whilst casein makes up the remaining 80% of milk’s protein content.
Visually, whey can sometimes be discerned within milk. Have you ever taken the lid off a yoghurt that’s been sitting still for a while and spotted a watery substance floating on top of the yoghurt’s surface? That’s whey…
Whey protein is classed as a ‘complete protein’. This means that it contains a quantifiable amount of each essential amino acid that the human body requires.
Whilst the body actually requires 20 individual amino acids, 11 of these are produced by the body itself. These 11 amino acids are known as ‘non-essential amino acids’. This leaves nine amino acids, which must be sourced from foodstuffs or supplements. These nine essential amino acids are:
These essential amino acids don’t just feed your body, but help it perform essential functions. For example, valine is an amino acid which helps your body with regard to muscle growth and tissue regeneration.
Whey protein is also considered to be a ‘fast acting’ protein, meaning it is absorbed very quickly by the body.
It’s for this reason that whey protein is so popular amongst athletes, gym goers and weekend warriors. It’s a truly ‘complete’ single source of protein.
Note - you may sometimes see whey proteins advertised as containing branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). These are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These are the essential amino acids that provide the ‘muscle-building’ element of whey protein powders.
Are there alternatives to whey protein?
If you have recently gone vegan, or have considerably reduced the amount of animal products in your diet, then you may have found it more difficult to hit your daily protein goals.
But, don’t worry. There is a vegan alternative to whey protein available to you; plant protein.
We’ll look into plant protein in further detail shortly. However, for now, we’d like to emphasise that in addition to plant protein, you can also get protein from other non-animal sources.
Choose real whole foods such as legumes, nuts, fresh vegetables, and grains. Examples of whole foods that will provide plenty of protein include; tofu, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils etc.
What is plant protein?
Plant protein, which is also known as vegan protein, is a type of protein which is derived from flora rather than fauna (plants rather than animals). Plant proteins are typically made from soya beans, rice, peas, hemp or seeds.
Like whey protein powders, plant protein powders are designed to help build muscle and boost your protein intake.
Plant protein powders also tend to be formulated using plant proteins which are highly bioavailable, meaning they can be quickly and easily absorbed by the body.
Vegan protein powders are also not exclusively the realm of vegans or vegetarians. As they do not contain lactose, people who are lactose intolerant tend to choose vegan protein powders over whey protein powders. Some vegan protein powders - such as Kinetica’s Plant Protein - are formulated to be gluten-free, allowing individuals with a gluten intolerance to add protein powder to their diet too.
As plant protein powders are low in one or more of the amino acids, they are not considered complete. However, by combining two plant proteins such as pea and rice, this ensures that they contain all the necessary amino acids to support muscle growth.
In other words, it’s important when buying plant protein powder, to check their nutrition profile to ensure they contain the proteins - and by extension - the amino acids and BCAAs you require.
Whey protein vs vegan protein: which is right for me?
If you’re not strictly vegan or vegetarian, then you may be faced with a decision. Should you stick with whey protein or try vegan protein instead?
Below, we’ve set out some of the reasons why you’d choose one form of protein over another.
At present, there is little to no difference in the price of whey protein and vegan protein. You’ll pay roughly the same amount per volume.
Kinetica Sports offers both our vegan proteins and whey proteins at similar price points. For example, 1 kg of our Plant Protein Chocolate costs €44.99 (correct at the time of writing and subject to change). 1 kg of our Whey Protein Vanilla costs €44.99 (correct at the time of writing and subject to change). So, whichever type of protein you choose, you’ll be getting an equivalent amount.
However, what we would suggest, is checking the amount of protein you get per scoop/serving. This is often a better measure of value compared to the price per volume. Which leads us on to our next point…
At Kinetica, you’ll find that both our whey proteins and vegan proteins have been formulated to offer approximately the same amount of protein per scoop.
For example, our Kinetica Plant Protein Chocolate (1 kg) offers 23g of protein per serve. Our Kinetica Whey Protein Vanilla (1 kg) offers 22-23g of protein per serve. As you can see, whether you go for the whey or vegan option, you end up with the same amount of protein. Win, win!
Sometimes, the choice between whether to consume whey protein or vegan protein will be down to your body rather than you!
What we mean by this is that each type of protein has certain drawbacks/benefits depending on how your body reacts to certain ingredients.
For example, whey protein contains lactose (although this is often in very small amounts). If you are lactose intolerant, you may find that whey protein causes stomach discomfort, bloating, feelings of nausea etc.
Should that be the case for you, then it makes sense to use vegan protein instead.
However, for some people, vegan protein offers challenges. For example, if you have a gluten intolerance, and don’t buy a vegan protein which is gluten-free, then you may find yourself suffering from stomach aches, bloating or other symptoms post-consumption (although you’ll be pleased to know that Kinetica’s plant protein is gluten-free!).
Note - this information is not health advice. Always check the ingredients of your chosen protein powder. If in doubt, consult a medical professional.
For many athletes, gym goers and weekend warriors, their main concern when selecting a protein powder is how effective it will be at repairing and growing muscle.
Is there a discernible difference between the two types of protein?
As with any sort of scientific question, the answer isn’t clear-cut.
However, a range of studies do suggest that both plant protein powders and whey protein powders can be similarly effective at promoting muscle growth. That’s based on the qualifier that the protein powders contain similar amounts of protein and BCAAs per serving.
As per our suggestion earlier, the key to buying a protein powder that’ll help you achieve your goals is to look for one that provides at between 20 to 30g of protein per serve and at least 5 to 12g of BCAA per serve. Of these BCAAs, at least 2.3g should be leucine.
Those aren’t just our recommendations, but those of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, as per their position stand.
The best whey and vegan protein powders Ireland
Now that you’ve read about whey protein and vegan protein, it’s time to take a look at some powders that’ll help you meet your fitness and training goals.
Kinetica Whey Protein Powder
If you’re looking for a premium whey protein powder that’s made from the very best ingredients, then Kinetica’s Whey Protein Powder should be at the top of your shopping list.
Available in a range of sizes - from a convenient 300g tub through to a generous 4.5 kg pack - Kinetica Whey Protein Powder offers unmatched quality at impressive price points.
Flavours include vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, chocolate mint, and banana.
In terms of the nutritional profile of Kinetica’s Whey Protein Powder, it’s one of the best you’ll see on sale in the UK. Here are the facts you need to know:
- 22 - 23g of protein per serving.
- Grass-fed whey protein powder.
- Derived from hormone-free cow’s milk.
- ‘Complete’ - featuring all essential amino acids.
- Includes branched chain amino acids.
- Informed Sport tested and certified.
Thanks to these characteristics, quality ingredients, and the significant development time and research that has gone into our whey protein, our products are trusted by elite athletes and sports teams including Cycling Ireland, Sale Sharks and many more…
Kinetica Plant Protein Powder
Buy Now - Kinetica Plant Protein Powder
Are you looking for a vegan protein powder without compromises? Then you’ve just found it in Kinetica’s Plant Protein Powder.
Formulated with a plant protein blend consisting of micronised pea protein and micronised rice protein, the Kinetica Plant Protein Powder is available in a convenient 1 kg tub and two delicious flavours; vanilla and chocolate.
Our Plant Protein Powder has been specially formulated to provide a creamy dairy-style mouthfeel and to mix easily with water or milk alternatives.
It also stands on a par with whey protein powders when it comes to protein per serve. Here’s the hard facts:
- 23g of protein per serve.
- Low in sugar.
- Includes branched chain amino acids - including those integral to muscle repair and development, e.g. leucine.
Kinetica Sports UK: nourish your ‘why’ with the nutrition it deserves
Trusted by elite athletes, sports teams, weekend warriors and everyday gym goers, Kinetica offers the best protein that’s chosen by the best athletes.
Shop whey protein and vegan protein at Kinetica Sports now and enjoy free delivery on all orders over £50.
Shop protein powders at Kinetica Sports now!