Vegan vs Whey Protein Powder | Best Plant-Based Alternative

is vegan protein healthier than whey

Vegan vs Whey Protein Powder | Best Plant-Based Alternative

Both have their place based on your priorities. We break down the differences to help you decide…

When it comes to protein powders, it is advised to look for a minimally processed protein powder with no artificial additives!

Given that, whey or plant-based protein – which one is the healthier choice?

Well, proteins are one of the stable sources for bodybuilding and fueled workouts.

Whey, among all the other protein options, is considered superior in terms of performance. All because of its high nutritional value in terms of essential amino acids.

However, what if there are reliable alternatives for those who wish to avoid animal-based products?

This newfound passion for veganism has driven many towards the use of vegan protein, and for good reason!

Vegan protein powders have actually emerged to be one of the top alternatives with an impressive nutritional profile.

So, Is vegan protein healthier than whey? 

Experts are divided in their opinion. Some studies favor whey as the pure protein. On the contrary, others prefer vegan protein, sourced from nature, to have the upper hand. 

Claiming anything without adequate information would be downright silly! 

Thus, let’s compare both keeping up with facts and studies side by side.


Pros and Cons of Vegan Protein Powder

There are different vegan protein types obtained from different sources. 

Collectively, right below are the pros and the cons associated with quality vegan protein powders.

Pros of Vegan Protein Powder

Vegan protein powder

#1. Sustainability
The protein source has no animal-based substance making it suitable for vegans.
#2. Nutrient content
Apart from being full of amino acids, they contain other nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids.
#3. Fiber
It is rich in fiber making vegan proteins easily digestible.
#4. No Intolerance or Allergies
For people with dairy allergies or intolerance, vegan protein powders are a great alternative.

Cons of Vegan Protein Powder

#1. Incomplete Protein
Lacks some amino acids as compared to animal-based proteins. However, the quantity of individual amino acids is high.
#2. High in Carbs
Vegan proteins may not be very suitable for people on a low-carb diet.
#3. Intake and Taste
They are gritty in texture and problematic to mix smoothly. Plus, there are not many flavors to choose from.


Pros and Cons of Whey Protein

The protein source is derived from milk. Highly popular among bodybuilders, it is the #1 option among athletes who want to bulk up. 

Well, the pros and the cons segment will help you decide to choose it or not…

Pros of Whey Protein


#1. Absorption Rate
Whey Protein has a higher absorption rate facilitating quicker gains.
#2. BCAA’s
Comprises all the essential nine Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s). 
#3. Taste
They come in versatile flavors making them accessible for everyone (except vegans).
#4. Convenience
The complete protein makes it convenient to receive high dietary nutrition.
#5. Other benefits
Muscle building, wound healing, and weight loss.

Cons of Whey Protein

#1. Calories
Contains lots of sugar and fat making it higher in calories. 
#2. Cost
The quality complete proteins are relatively expensive.
#3. Lactose
As it’s derived from milk, it can cause lactose intolerance.
#4. Lack of Nutrients
While packed with fat, carbs, and essential amino acids, whey lacks essential nutrients like B vitamins, omega 3, zinc, fiber, and iron.
#5. Contaminants
Some brands include additives that are not good for health.

The pros and cons clearly show the difference between whey and plant protein

Now, making the last decision should be a tad bit easier for you. 


The Debate Over Complete vs Incomplete Protein

Amino acids are the building blocks for the making of protein. 

However, the human body doesn’t produce nine amino acids considered essential. 

Still, they are necessary for different body functions and proper health. Thus, their inclusion in your diet is a must.

Now, not all-natural protein sources can have all the essential AA to fulfill your requirement. 

Some do have the 9 essential AAs necessary in the diet. This is the way to distinguish between complete and incomplete protein.

Complete Protein

  • Whey is one example.
  • It encompasses all the nine essential amino acids.

Incomplete Protein

  • Vegan or plant-based protein usually comes in this category.
  • They have most of the amino acids but lack one or two among the nine.
The quantities of individual amino acids in top-quality vegan protein powders are higher as compared to complete proteins.

For example, soy protein has the highest content of histidine and phenylalanine per dosage.

Usually, people think complete protein is always a better option than incomplete ones. This is a half-truth and, for the most part, a misconception.

Both whey and vegan protein types are suitable in a different respect. 

Bodybuilders and athletes should consider their goals and choose the right one accordingly to receive the best results.


Whey Protein vs Plant Protein For Muscle Building

The impressive advantages of protein powders for muscle building aren’t a hidden secret. 

Whether it is bodybuilders or athletes, everyone relies on quality protein powders to get bigger gains.

Is Vegan Protein Better and Healthier Than Whey for Bulking?

First, compared to a normal diet rich in protein to intake of protein powders, the latter one shows faster and better results. 

The first one gives you enough protein. Still, it doesn’t lead to significant changes. With protein powders, the noteworthy gains are visible.

What Types of Proteins are Best?

For muscle building, whey protein isolate can outshine the results of regular vegan plant protein. This is because of the rich content of different essential amino acids.

Multiple studies have shown pea and whey protein powders to be effective in terms of muscle gaining. 

They increase muscle thickness and recovery when users rely on them along with HIIT and resistance training.

Plant protein vs whey protein bodybuilding: The answer is clear. Still, if you are vegan, pea protein is an equally effective option.


Whey Protein vs Plant Protein for Fat Loss

Proteins offer impressive results in weight loss and fat burning as well. 

The higher protein content leads to appetite reduction leading to significant weight loss.

Is vegan protein healthier than whey for weight loss?

Studies show positive results in terms of weight loss when participants used whey protein powders.

However, there are also studies that put evidence in the favor of pea protein. 

Subjects experience better appetite reduction effects and fullness with vegan proteins as compared to having whey. Theoretically, appetite suppression determines weight loss.

Though, one more thing you need to notice to decide if the vegan protein is healthier than whey is the quantity and quality of plant or whey protein, which vary depending on the brand. 


Is Vegan Protein Healthier Than Whey [Deciding Factors]?

Protein drink

Enriching your diet with protein powder, whether it is whey or vegan, is beneficial. 

It improves bulking, elevates post-workout recovery, boosts muscle performance while supercharging metabolism, fat loss, and muscle toning.

Both are a nutritious and advantageous addition to your diet and workout plan. 

Still, only one would fit your demands more than the others.

However, to conclude the whey protein vs plant protein debate, let’s examine different factors that can introduce us to their actual efficiency.

Let’s review the quality source of protein…

#1. Plant Based vs Whey Protein: Amino Acid Levels

Whether it is plant-sourced, whey, or any other protein, its amino acid content is the building block.

The human body can’t produce all nine amino acids, which are essential. Thus, you have to consume them through your diet.

Whey protein contains all of these amino acids, hence, it is called a complete protein. 

Moreover, the quantity of essential branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) including isoleucine, leucine, and valine is higher. 

When it comes to the amount of essential amino acid content, whey is the best protein source.

Now, vegan proteins are of different types including pea protein, soy protein, brown rice protein, and hemp protein. 

Among these, pea protein encompasses all the essential amino acids

Still, the quantity of methionine (one of the essential nine) is the least. Henceforth, it doesn’t meet the criteria of a complete protein.

Compared to other plant proteins, it is a better option, though, with a higher essential protein quantity. 

The number of essential amino acids including histidine and phenylalanine per dosages are amazingly higher.

Thus, vegans do have options at their disposal. 

Those who don’t want to go for whey can choose to supplement pea protein and they will still be able to meet most of their protein requirements.


Whey has a better profile of amino acids.

Vegans can go for pea protein for almost similar benefits.

#2. Plant vs Whey: Protein Content

Whey protein powder offers a few more grams of protein per serving as compared to pea powder.

The exact amount of the nutrient would vary from brand to brand and the scoop or serving size suggested. 

Furthermore, the label on the pack has detailed information on the nutritional profile.

Although both have a heavy amount of protein, the type of protein they encompass also differs. 

Generally, whey proteins are easily absorbable by the body for muscle-building-related activity. 

However, digestion differs with the type of protein contained by the protein source you rely on. Here are the details.


May Depend on the Brand.

#3. Whey Protein vs Natural Plant Protein: Digestion

As stated, digestion depends on the type of protein present in the protein source. 

Whey protein can lead to gastric irritation and digestive problems. 

Typically, people having dairy or lactose intolerances experience these common issues.

In contrast, Plant-based proteins are dairy-free and comparatively safer for the digestive system. 

Some of the plant-sourced proteins have additional digestive enzymes. 

This helps in their easy digestion without bloating, discomfort, or unwanted side effects.


Plant-based vegan protein has better digestibility in general.

#4. Boosting Energy Production

Whey protein increases your energy production helping you keep up with workouts. 

That’s why they are highly popular among bodybuilders and athletes. 

Likewise, vegan proteins fire up energy production at the cellular level offering essential support for proper protein synthesis.

They encompass essential amino acids for energy transportation to cells. 

Ultimately, this offers you longer sustainable energy for longer workouts and enhances muscle recovery timing.

According to studies, brown rice protein performs equally well for both muscle growth and post-workout recovery.



#5. Calorie Content

The human body metabolizes plant protein slowly as compared to whey protein. 

Thus, when it comes to weight loss, plant-based protein may help in keeping you fuller for longer.

Moreover, whey comes from milk, making it full of saturated fat and macronutrients. 

Technically, whey protein not only has a higher fat quantity but the calorie content is also at its peak.


Whey protein has a higher calorie content.


The Sum Up: Is Vegan Protein Healthier Than Whey?

It’s really a challenge to state one as better than the other. 

Obviously, both protein sources have their own benefits under different categories. They are a nutritious and effective addition to any workout and diet plan. 

  • For a fast-absorbing complete protein, whey is more suitable.
  • In terms of a sustainable protein for weight management, or in a vegan or lactose-free diet, plant-based protein is a great option.

For the best whey protein powders, go for a reliable and reputed company’s product.

When it comes to picking out vegan proteins, selecting the right product is a bit tough given the different contenders.

We have shortlisted the best of the best for our vegan readers. 

These are made with nutrition and muscle building in mind.


Horizon Clinics Recommends

Vegan Protein Powders Specifically Made for Muscle Building and Workouts.

#1. Vegan Protein for WorkoutsBlackWolf Pre-Workout

#2. Elite Blend of Pea and Hemp Protein – BRF Vegan Protein

#3. 100% Creatine Monohydrate for Muscle Strength – BRF Creatine

Whether weight loss or muscle building, a quality vegan protein appears to be highly effective. 

Choosing the right brand and the right product is important as well.

We took various products from the market, went through their nutritional profile, and gathered the user’s review. 

At last, we finalized some of these best available options.

#1. Vegan Protein for Workouts – BlackWolf Pre-Workout


Endorsed by Professional boxer Ekow ‘The Engine’ Essuman and double Olympian swimmer Ekaterina Avramova for workouts.

BlackWolf is one of natural pre-workout packed with the power of protein. 

Well, the advanced supplement comes with scientifically-backed ingredients at proven impressive dosages. 

It contains everything in the right quantity to guarantee you gains and performance every time.

Not only it encompasses essential amino acids but also other vital nutrients to support your workouts. 

Free from animal-derived substances, it is suitable for vegans as well. 

Additionally, it has a wide range of flavors including green apple, blue raspberry, and fruit punch. 

So, you won’t have to compromise your taste to avoid animal-based proteins.

Apart from the perks, BlackWolf Pre-Workout reviews are positive backing up its power to up your game.

Ingredients Profile: L-Citrulline Malate, Beta-Alanine, Creatine Monohydrate, Betaine Anhydrous, L-Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate (AAKG), Taurine, L-Tyrosine, Caffeine Anhydrous (not in all flavors), Dynamine, DMAE and Huperzine (not in all flavors), Coconut Water Powder, BioPerine.

BlackWolf Pre-Workout Benefits

  • Used and endorsed by elite athletes
  • Proven constituents at optimum amounts
  • Intense energy gain, focus, and endurance
  • 3 great tasting fruity flavors
  • Suitable for vegans and vegetarians
  • 10-week training program from BlackWolf Athlete Charlie Meister with every order.

PRICE: $34.99 for 1 Tub

It is available for purchase on the BlackWolf Official Website (free shipping on all orders to the USA, UK & Canada).

 #2. Elite Blend of Pea and Hemp Protein – BRF Vegan Protein

BRF Vegan Protein

BRF (Battle Ready Fuel) is another lip-smacking vegan protein powder. 

Having impressive ingredients, it is free of Artificial Sweeteners or Coloring. 

Moreover, the blend contains additional digestive enzymes for easy breakdown of macronutrients and reduced bloating. 

The nutritious ingredients help in improving and flourishing the gut biome. Undoubtedly, it is one of the best vegan protein powders.





Ingredients Profile: Pea Protein, Hemp Protein, Inulin, DigeZyme®, Ginger, Moringa, Chlorella.

BRF Vegan Protein Benefits

  • 100% Plant-Based Protein
  • 25.5g Protein Per Serving
  • Soya Free
  • Added Digestive Enzymes
  • No Artificial Sweeteners or Colorings
  • Based on Pea Protein and Hemp Protein

PRICE: $28.99 for 1 Tub

BRF Vegan Protein is available for purchase (multi-buy offers and savings).

#3. 100% Creatine Monohydrate for Muscle Strength – BRF Creatine

BRF Creatine

Another plant-based protein by Battle Ready Fuel is best for your bulking and weight loss demands. 

When it comes to bodybuilding, the inclusion of a quality creatine monohydrate product is necessary. 

BRF Creatine offers ultimate support for all your bulking demands. 

Rather than having creatine monohydrate as a key compound, the product includes other ingredients to support your workout goals. 

The users’ reviews incline with the claims made by the manufacturers. 

Users who have taken the powder along with a high protein diet and HIIT have received noteworthy results.


Ingredients Profile: 100% high-quality, unflavoured creatine monohydrate.

BRF Creatine Benefits

  • 100% Creatine Monohydrate
  • Advances Muscle Strength and Size
  • Supports High-Intensity Activity
  • Elevates Physical Performance
  • Vegan-Friendly

PRICE: $16.99 for 1 Tub

BRF Creatine can be purchased from the official website (multi-buy offers and savings).

These were a few vegan proteins for your diet. 

Being vegan is hard, specifically, when you can’t find vegan products. 

Well, these were some of the top options you can go for bulking and weight loss goals.

Before using any supplement, we suggest a consultation with your medical advisor if you suffer from a medical condition or take medications.


What’s the Verdict?

The battle of vegan protein vs whey protein is a long-standing one in the fitness community. 

However, you can go ahead with either one to enhance your weight loss and muscle-building results. 

Unarguably, whey is a bit more popular among bodybuilders and athletes due to its effectiveness and several amazing properties.

Final call: Is vegan protein healthier than whey?

As per our analysis, it would be unfair to award one as the winner in terms of health and nutrition.

In fact, both have their own perks suitable for specific conditions.

Rather than looking for the better one, you should consider your preferences. This would better fit your nutritional requirements.

As for the vegans out there, do not lose heart as there are options for you guys without having to compromise taste or quality.

Horizon Clinics

At Horizon Clinics, we help you decode the solutions to your micro-health battles. Our in-depth and practical guides cover everything from diet plans, weight loss, workouts, and bodybuilding to issues of mental health.

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