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Whey Protein Alternatives: It’s Time for Plants!

March 3, 2019

More and more athletes are searching for whey protein alternatives in order to get the same results without the unnecessary side effects. Most of these side effects are due to the way that whey protein is manufactured and stabilized. They range from allergies, bloating, fatigue and general weakness to kidney issues and a potentially higher risk of heart disease.  It’s estimated that 65 to 90 percent of individuals who take whey protein regularly will suffer from some type of adverse side effect.

Enter plant-based protein powders. While whey protein is becoming less of a staple within the fitness industry, plant-based proteins are making a name for themselves when it comes to whey protein alternatives. These protein powders tend to be isolates; meaning they’re made of a singular ingredient. That means that these plant-based proteins are pure: completely free from chemicals, additives and unnecessary side effects.

Replacing Whey Protein with Pea Protein

The most popular whey protein alternative is pea protein. Whey and pea protein have very, very similar characteristics – despite the fact that whey protein is animal-based while pea protein is plant-based.

Similar Protein Content – Obviously, most people consume a protein supplement for the additional protein (even though protein powders contain a wide assortment of vital nutrients and vitamins). Protein is absolutely essential when it comes to creating an environment that is able to gain muscle or lose weight. When it comes to building muscle, the body needs protein in order to build, repair and maintain muscle tissue. And when it comes to losing weight, the body needs protein as an alternative energy source and to support a healthy body while you’re cutting carbohydrates.

It makes sense then that athletes are seeking the highest amount of protein per serving – which pea protein powder offers. Pea protein and whey protein contain comparable amounts of protein per serving at about 80%. Each serving of pea protein contains 12 grams of protein. But it’s important to keep in mind that whey protein serving sizes are over 2x as large. When comparing the same amount of serving size per gram of pea protein and whey protein – pea protein actually offers more protein per serving than whey.

Pea Protein is Flexible – Whey is traditionally used to create a chalky, generally disgusting protein shake after a workout. And, I don’t want to diminish the effects of whey protein. It’s a great option if your goal is to dump it into a shaker with water and force yourself to drink it. It’s a quick, easy and effective way to inject protein into your body after a workout.

But the fitness industry has grown significantly since the days where athletes longed for disgusting protein shakes. Now, athletes are enjoying delicious protein-packed snacks after their workouts. And, if you put any thought at all into meal prepping (which you definitely should be), then you can easily consume a tasty treat after your workout as opposed to a simplistic protein shake. The natural, nutty flavor of organic protein powders like pea protein is perfect to mix with anything that contains chocolate or peanut butter.

No More Harmful Side Effects – Perhaps most importantly, pea protein powder is one of the most easily digested plant-based proteins available on the market today. Since most athletes that consume whey protein regularly will suffer from negative digestion related effects like fatigue of bloating – pea protein is the perfect whey protein alternative. The digestibility rating of pea protein powder is incredibly high. Meaning you can kiss those side effects goodbye.

The Same Results – There is a belief out there that animal-based proteins like whey are better sources of protein than plant-based protein sources like pea. The only thing I can say about that is that this belief is absurd. The only argument that can be made for whey over a plant-based protein powder is that animal-based proteins are always complete protein sources. Complete protein sources are the protein sources that contain all nine essential amino acids.

Now, with that said, pea protein powder is also a complete source of protein. However, not all plant-based proteins are complete protein sources. So, if you elect to use a different plant-protein supplement, then it’s important to check whether or not it’s a complete protein source. Not all plant-based proteins are the same. It’s ideal to mix and match plant-based proteins in order to achieve the widest assortment of vital nutrients and minerals.

Hemp Protein as a Whey Protein Alternative

While pea protein is generally considered the best whey protein alternative, many athletes also add hemp protein powder to their protein regime. Hemp has widely been considered one of the most nutritious foods on earth since nearly the beginning of time. And while it contains less protein per serving than whey protein (7 grams per serving), it is one of the best supplements you can take to improve your overall health. It should be a staple of every athlete’s protein regime.

Hemp Aids Weight Loss – Hemp protein powder has two key attributes that make it perfect for weight loss: it curbs your appetite and boosts your metabolism. Hemp contains a high amount of fiber, which promotes a healthy digestive tract and allows the body to feel fuller, longer. The high fiber content has been linked to fewer hunger cravings. Additionally, consuming hemp protein powder will boost your metabolism. An increased metabolism is directly linked to the human body’s ability to burn fat and achieve sustainable weight loss.

Hemp Boosts Energy Levels – Generally, the body depends on carbohydrates for energy. But hemp is the perfect, healthy option for a quick energy boost due to its fatty acids. And while some people may be turned away by the term ‘fatty acids’ – they’re actually a form of good, healthy fats. And when fatty acids are consumed, they’re able to provide twice as much energy as carbs. Which makes hemp the perfect option for a quick, healthy energy boost. Especially when you consider that protein typically drains the body of energy because it takes the body longer to break it down and convert it to energy.

But aiding weight loss and boosting energy are only two of the benefits of hemp protein powder. It’s also credited with boosting the immune system, reducing inflammation, improving digestion, increasing muscle mass, repairing muscle tissue, fighting heart disease and regulating cholesterol levels.

Plant-Based Proteins Make Great Whey Protein Alternatives

The chances are that you came across this page because you’re suffering from whey protein side effects. Or perhaps you’re looking to switch from animal-based proteins to plant-based proteins because of all of the added benefits that have nothing to do with your health. Whatever the case may be, we can guarantee that you will not see any adverse effects from switching from whey protein to a plant-based protein. In fact, we’ll go so far as to say that you’ll enjoy numerous benefits from better overall health all the way to supporting a better, more sustainable world.

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