Pea Protein or Whey Protein: Which type of protein is right for me?

Finding the right type of protein powder can be tricky – we’re all unique and require different ratios of ingredients to reach our health goals. The wrong type of protein powder can not only prevent progress toward your goals, but can also cause discomfort and negative side effects for your body. The right protein powder, however, can provide both long-term and short-term benefits for your health and fitness routine.

What is protein powder?

Protein is found in many foods such as meats, dairy, nuts, and beans. Made up of amino acids, protein promotes health skin, hair, bone, and muscle development. Protein powders are a nutrient dense and convenient way to consume a concentrated supply of protein in one sitting. Protein powder also has quicker digestion and absorption than whole foods. There are many types of protein powders available on the market, made using different sources of protein and varying ratios of other ingredients.

What is whey protein?

Of the different types of protein available on the market, whey is the most popular. Whey protein is a byproduct of the cheesemaking process. While whey is high in protein, it does contain lactose, which can potentially make it a poor choice for those with particularly acute cases of lactose intolerance. There are however, forms of whey that have been so finely filtered that they contain virtually no lactose. Whey is quickly digested and provides a readily available supply of amino acids, making it an ideal option specifically for those looking to gain muscle or make the most out of their workout. Most people find that whey protein tastes better than other proteins. This is because it is soluble (easily dissolved) in water, and more creamy than other types of protein.

What is pea protein?

Unlike whey protein, which is derived from dairy, pea protein powder is made from yellow split peas and does not contain any dairy. Pea protein supplies all of the essential amino acids, with the exception of methionine. Naturally gluten-free and hypoallergenic (in other words, free from common allergens), pea protein is often the protein source of choice for those with dairy allergies. While pea protein is not as slow-digesting as casein, it is absorbed more slowly than whey proteins. Pea protein is a optimal choice for post-workout recovery especially for those with whey allergies. Finally, certain studies have shown that pea protein is even more satiating than whey, which can be beneficial particularly for those looking to control their appetite.

Should I be having pea protein or whey?

Figuring out the right protein powder for you requires a complete look at your goals, body type, and fitness routine. Both pea protein and whey protein are great sources of amino acids and provide the many overall benefits of protein. In general, whey protein is an ideal protein source for those without dairy allergies. Notably, there are certain whey proteins that can be very finely filtered to remove virtually all lactose, making them safe for those with lactose intolerance. Whey is an excellent all-around option for those having protein powder before, during, or after a workout. Pea protein on the other hand, is a ideal option for vegans and folks with whey allergies. It is hypoallergenic, easily digestible, and packed with essential amino acids. Pea protein is a fantastic option for workout recovery and for those looking for a more filling (appetite controlling) protein source.

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