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Whey Protein vs. Plant Protein: Which is Better for Muscle?

What is Whey Protein?

Whey protein is a milk-based product. Milk protein is made up of 80% casein protein and 20% whey protein. Companies isolate the whey protein content of milk protein to give you the muscle building supplement that you’re familiar with.

 

Types of Whey Protein

Whey protein can further be broken down depending on the filtration process. There are three types of whey protein that are widely available in the supplement industry:

 

Whey Protein Concentrate

  • Used in most protein supplements. Whey concentrate normally contains between 40% and 89% actual whey. The rest is nutrient filler such as simple carbohydrates and fatty acids.

 

Whey Protein Isolate

 

Hydrolyzed Whey Protein

 

Benefits of Whey Protein

Muscle Building

  • Whey protein supplementation has been shown to promote muscle growth through protein synthesis and an anabolic environment triggered by amino acids in the body.

 

Protects from Muscle Loss

  • Whey protein supplementation has been shown to be an effective way to protect the muscle you already have gained by preventing catabolism or muscle breakdown.

 

Recovery

  • The amino acids in whey protein will help to promote effective muscle healing and less soreness post-workout.

 

What is Plant Protein

Plant protein comes from plant extracts that are notably high in protein. Plant proteins usually have to be combined to form what are known as complete proteins, or proteins that contain all of the essential amino acids. There are a few exceptions including pumpkin seeds and soy.

 

Types of Plant Protein

Pea

  • Pea protein isolate contains an impressive amount of protein but it is incomplete. It must be combined with another plant-based source to ensure the body gets all of the essential amino acids.

 

Brown Rice

  • Brown rice protein is highly bioavailable but it’s also incomplete so it must be combined with a plant-based source like pea protein.

 

Pumpkin Seed

  • Packed with protein, minerals, and fatty acids, pumpkin seed is one of the best plant-based protein sources. Best of all, it is a complete protein.

 

Soy

  • Soy is another complete protein that also promotes cardiovascular health.

 

Benefits of Plant Protein

Muscle Building

  • Just like whey protein, plant protein supplements have been proven to promote muscle growth, protein synthesis, and an anabolic environment for results. Plant protein can also help to protect from catabolism.

 

Recovery

  • Although you may need to combine two different plant protein sources, the amino acids found within complete plant protein can boost recovery after a workout.

 

Which Protein is Better for Muscle?

Despite popular belief, studies have shown that whey and plant protein are equally effective at triggering muscle growth, protein synthesis, recovery, and anti-catabolic actions. In fact, it is recommended that you use both a whey and a plant-based protein source to maximize benefits.

 

Make your own whey or plant protein supplement with the Amino Z Supplement Builder. You can combine the ingredients you want at the dosages you need to maximize your muscle building gains.

 

References

  1. Tipton KD, Elliott TA, Cree MG, Aarsland AA, Sanford AP, Wolfe RR. Stimulation of net muscle protein synthesis by whey protein ingestion before and after exercise. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Jan;292(1):E71-6. Epub 2006 Aug 8.

 

  1. Blomstrand E, Eliasson J, Karlsson HK, Köhnke R. Branched-chain amino acids activate key enzymes in protein synthesis after physical exercise. J Nutr. 2006 Jan;136(1 Suppl):269S-73S.

 

  1. Negro M, Giardina S, Marzani B, Marzatico F. Branched-chain amino acid supplementation does not enhance athletic performance but affects muscle recovery and the immune system. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2008 Sep;48(3):347-51.

 

  1. Mourier A, Bigard AX, de Kerviler E, Roger B, Legrand H, Guezennec CY. Combined effects of caloric restriction and branched-chain amino acid supplementation on body composition and exercise performance in elite wrestlers. Int J Sports Med. 1997 Jan;18(1):47-55.

 

  1. De Lorenzo A, Petroni ML, Masala S, Melchiorri G, Pietrantuono M, Perriello G, Andreoli A. Effect of acute and chronic branched-chain amino acids on energy metabolism and muscle performance. Diabetes Nutr Metab. 2003 Oct-Dec;16(5-6):291-7.

 

  1. Tsutsumi R, Tsutsumi YM. Peptides and proteins in whey and their benefits for human health. Austin J Nutri Food Sci 2014;1(1): 1002.

 

  1. Phillips, S. M., and L. J. Van. "Dietary Protein for Athletes: From Requirements to Optimum Adaptation." Journal of Sports Sciences. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2011. Web.
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