Plant Protein vs. Whey Protein: Which is Better?

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Odds are that when you pick up a protein bar it will contain whey or egg white protein as a primary ingredient. However, like the great Bob Dylan said, "the times they are a changing." More and more people are trading in their traditional animal-based protein sources for plant protein sources such as pea protein.

Plant proteins have a smaller environmental impact while providing the same muscle-building benefits of animal protein. Some scientists even think that in order to meet the global food demands of a growing population, we need to consume less animal products. The amount of resources required to cultivate plant-based foods vs animal-based foods is staggering lower.

This is where plant protein first flexes it's muscles (pun obviously intended). Check out the chart below from the World Resources Institute.

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But Does Pea Protein Work?

The environmental impact may sound like a noble reason to consider incorporating more plant protein sources into your diet, but what kind of results can you expect? After all, most of us are choosing high protein foods to help build muscle.

So how does, say, pea protein stack up against whey protein? Well, scientists have conducted experiments to prove that pea protein provides you with the same muscle-building benefits as whey protein. Don’t just take our word for it, though—check out what Men’s Health wrote on the matter.

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Looking at the numbers, you would assume pea protein may not be as effective at building muscle as whey. After all, pea protein contains nowhere near the amount of BCAAs as whey.

But pea protein does have one advantage not captured in the information above—and that’s the fact that it houses about three times more of the amino acid arginine than whey.

Arginine may not be a BCAA, but it’s essential to building muscle, and may explain why pea protein does such a good job at boosting men’s muscle gains.

In a 2015 Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition study of men ages 18 to 35, those who paired their lifting sessions with pea protein enjoyed the same increases in biceps size as did those who opted for whey protein.

A Good Pea Protein Bar

So there you have it. You can do good by Mother Nature while doing good by you. If you’re looking for a delicious pea protein bar to try, check out our Peanut Butter Protein Bites. We make some great tasting products, but this one is in a league of its own.

Reed McIntyreComment