There is a fairly common misconception out there that plant-based proteins aren’t good for building muscle. This misconception is fueled by the belief that animal-based proteins, such as whey protein, are better sources of quality protein than plant-based proteins. And, while whey protein is certainly the most popular protein supplement on the market, that doesn’t make it the best protein supplement. Pea protein powder packs a high dose of protein per serving. The amount of protein per serving is actually higher than the amount found in whey protein. But that’s not the only benefit of using pea protein.
Pea Protein Powder vs. Whey Protein Powder
When it comes to building muscle, everyone wants to know how much protein is in the food or supplement they’re taking. That makes it a logical place to start the pea protein powder vs. whey protein powder discussion. First though, lets take a look at the nutritional facts of pea protein powder and whey protein powder.
Disclaimer: I didn’t want to hand-pick any crappy whey protein supplement to make a clear argument for pea protein powder. I ended up selecting Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder (double rich chocolate flavor) for this comparison. The only reason I picked Optimum Nutrition’s whey protein supplement is that it was the first one that popped up when I searched ‘whey protein powder’ on Amazon. At the time of this post, the product has 15,072 customer reviews and is averaging 4.5 stars. So, once again, we’re not comparing pea protein powder to some bad protein powder with negative review – this is supposedly one of the best whey protein powders on the market.
Pea Protein Powder vs. Whey Protein Powder: A Fair Comparison
Before we can compare BioGains’ pea protein powder to Optimum Nutrition’s whey protein powder, we have to do some arithmetic to make the comparison fair. Because, if you were to just look at the labels, you would be comparing far different serving sizes and would have inaccurate results. Fitness companies and their marketing teams depend on putting eye-popping numbers, such as protein per serving, to persuade you to pick their product over their competitors. So, when you see something like ’24 grams of protein per serving’, always take into consideration the size of the serving and that other nutrients that the supplement or food contains.
Optimum Nutrition’s whey protein powder totals 30.4 grams per serving. Whereas, BioGains pea protein powder is only 14 grams per serving. This means that the whey protein powder serving is 53.95% larger than the pea protein powder serving.
To level the playing field, we’ll extrapolate the nutrients you receive if you were to take the same dose of pea protein powder as you take when using the whey protein powder supplement. Simply put, we’ll be comparing 30.4 grams of whey protein powder to 30.4 grams of pea protein powder. That seems fair, right?
Pea Protein Powder vs. Whey Protein Powder: Protein Comparison
As I mentioned earlier, if you’re goal is to build muscle then you definitely are looking for the protein content of the foods and supplements that you consume. One serving of 30.4 grams of whey protein powder contains 24 grams of protein. This means that protein makes up about 79% of one serving of whey protein powder.
However, pea protein powder offers a higher amount of protein per serving. When you consume 30.4 grams of pea protein powder, you are consuming 26 grams of protein. That equates to almost 86% of protein per serving in pea protein powder.
So, if 79% of whey protein powder is actually protein and 86% of pea protein powder is protein… What makes up the other 21% of whey protein powder and 14% of pea protein powder? Let’s take a look at those nutrition fact labels.
Pea Protein Powder vs. Whey Protein Powder: Nutritional Comparison
Since 79% of a serving of whey protein powder is actually protein, that means that 21% of the protein powder must be something other than protein. But what is it, exactly?
According the nutritional facts of the whey protein powder, the rest of the supplement contains 3 grams of carbohydrates (of which 1 gram of sugar), 1 gram of fat (of which .5 grams is saturated fat), 30 mg of cholesterol and 130 mg of sodium.
Now let’s look at pea protein powder which contains 86% of protein and 14% of other nutrients per serving. What is in that other 14%, exactly?
Pea protein powder contains just over 2 grams of carbs, healthy fats (zero unhealthy saturated or trans fats), and 325 mg of sodium. The 2 grams of carbs are split between sugar and dietary fiber.
Pea Protein Powder vs. Whey Protein Powder: Muscle Building Amino Acids
There are plant-based proteins (such as rice protein powder) that don’t offer the same muscle building amino acids that are found in animal-based proteins like whey. However, pea protein powder is not one of these plant-based proteins that are lacking the muscle building punch.
Pea protein powder and whey protein powder are both considered ‘complete proteins.’ This means that they contain all nine of the essential amino acids that the human body needs to be able to build and maintain muscle mass. But, while both pea protein and whey protein contain all nine essential amino acids, pea protein powder has the edge when it comes to one amino acid in particular.
That amino acid is called arginine. It’s not a branch chain amino acid (BCAA), but it is important when it comes to building muscle mass. Pea protein powder offers about three times more arginine than whey protein powder.
Pea Protein Powder vs. Whey Protein Powder: How They’re Made
As people become increasingly aware of the fear and harm that animals suffer from to create food and food products for humans – the popularity of plant-based protein rises. If people we’re to see the process in which their animal-based foods are produced, I’d venture to guess that the rate of plant-based eaters and vegans would grow at an even more rapid rate than it already is.
Let’s look at how whey protein powder is created. We all know that whey is a byproduct of cow’s milk. But cows weren’t put on earth to mass produce milk for humans. They produce milk to nourish their young much like human mothers produce milk to feed their young – not everyone on the planet. Also, like human mothers, cows aren’t meant to spend their entire life in a virtually endless cycle of being impregnated to produce milk. But this is how cows that are raised solely to produce milk live their lives.
They are artificially inseminated every year. Then spend 9 months pregnant before giving birth to their young. Within three days, their babies are taken from them – which causes a great deal of distress. Their male babies are taken, sold and eventually slaughtered within a few months of their birth. Their female babies are then raised and used to produced more milk. A female cow can live approximately 20 years. But those female cows that are raised to produce milk rarely make it beyond five years.
When pea protein powder is made, not one animal dies or even suffers. The powder is created by grinding died peas into powder. This process removes the starch and leaves a concentrated protein source which is why it contains 80% of protein per serving.
Pea protein powder has exploded in popularity recently. It’s no secret that one of the driving forces behind the increasing popularity of plant-based protein powders is that humans are becoming more aware of the suffering that animals go through to create food products for human consumption. But people are also coming to the realization that harming animals to obtain food is rather unnecessary because plant-based alternatives offer comparable, or in many cases, better nutritional profiles. Simply put, consuming plant-based protein powders and foods isn’t just for vegans and vegetarians anymore. Consuming plant-based foods is becoming mainstream.
Pea Protein vs. Whey Protein: Sustainability
Humans are just realizing that consuming animal-based products is unnecessarily harmful to animals. They’re also realizing that animal-based products are harmful for the environment and our ability to sustain it.
Looking solely at the comparison of pea protein vs. whey protein, we can see that pea protein (and any other plant-based protein) is significantly more sustainable than animal-based proteins like whey. It takes well over 100 gallons of milk to produce just one five-gallon bottle of whey protein. Raising cows to produce milk also requires 10 times more land than growing plants to produce pea protein.
Pea Protein vs. Whey Protein: The Taste Test
If you’ve ever bought a two- or five-gallon tub of protein powder from a shop like GNC then you have probably noticed that the ‘recommended use’ is to dump a large scoop of the protein into either water (which tastes like crap) or milk (which is usually thick and disgusting). This is because the flavoring is added to the whey protein supplement because the supplement itself is full of additives that are required to stabilize it and make it consumable.
On the flip side, organic pea protein powder is contains one single ingredient: organic pea protein powder. It requires no additives or chemicals to stabilize it or hide its natural taste. The natural taste of pea protein is a nutty flavor. It can be added to anything from smoothies to brownies to enhance the flavor and the nutritional value.
Pea Protein vs. Whey Protein: The Body’s Reaction
Many people suffer from side-effects when they consume whey. It’s believed that approximately 65% of the population suffer from some sort of discomfort related to whey. These issues include stomach pain, cramps, reduced appetite, nausea, headaches and fatigue.
Pea protein powder is widely considered a great alternative to whey protein because it is known to have very few side effects. Because pea protein powder is made of one pure, single ingredient, it doesn’t require as much digestion as a processed powder such as whey does. Pea protein powder is relatively low in fiber but doesn’t cause bloating like whole peas can for some people.
If you suffer from discomfort when consuming milk products like whey, then it is definitely worth giving a plant-based protein a try.
Pea Protein vs. Whey Protein: The Obvious Answer
Let’s be honest, unless you’re a sadist, there is no logical argument that can be made to argue that whey protein is better than pea protein. And while some people have made the switch from animal-based foods and supplements to plant-based foods and supplements due to medical necessities… Plenty of other people are making the switch simply because it’s the right thing to do.
We want you to join us in making the switch from animal-based proteins to plant-based proteins. That’s why we offer a 90-day money-back guarantee on all of our plant-based proteins. We promise that you’ll get the same results, or better, with our plant-based proteins that you’ve received from animal-based proteins. And, we guarantee that you’ll love our high protein recipes more than that ‘same old’ protein shake. Check out our pea protein, see the results for yourself and let us know what you think!