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When buying your protein shakes, the types of protein available can be overwhelming.
Whey, casein, soy, pumpkin, pea, hemp, rice and the list goes on. How do you know what powdered protein is the best choice for your body? To start, let’s look at the two most popular and rapidly growing options: plant-based and whey. The protein supplement market was once a one-stop-shop, but now we have limitless options ranging in price, quality, flavor and nutrition. We’re going to break it down for you, so you can give your body only what it needs.
When choosing the right one for your body, you need to know what they have in them and what they can do for you. Then you can make your final selection using the most popular criteria price and taste.
Whey seems simple. Its protein is derived from goat’s or cow’s milk. It’s a complete protein, meaning it gives your body all nine essential amino acids that it can’t make on its own. It offers extremely high doses of protein in one shake, and you can find low cost brands. Unfortunately, that simplicity is only on the label.
Plant protein may seem complicated. The protein can be extracted from hundreds of different vegetables, nuts and seeds. No one plant-source can provide all nine essential amino acids, so to get a complete protein you will need a brand that has several different plant proteins. The amount of protein in each shake is rarely higher than 20 grams and for a high-quality shake, it can be a bit more expensive.
So, why even bother with plant protein? Because it has a few things that whey does not, and they make all the difference.
First, the elephant in the proverbial room of today’s society, digestion. We are living in a time where allergies and food sensitivities are reaching epidemic levels. From minor disagreements like gas and bloating to severe pain and possible death, these issues are no laughing matter. When it comes to traditional forms of protein supplements, the standards are full of triggers. Over half of the top eight allergens in the world make up the standard protein base: milk, eggs, soy and wheat, as well as, fish, shellfish, peanuts and tree nuts. When you drink something everyday and sometimes more than once, it is imperative that your body accept it without complaint.
Whey may not bother you now, but it is filled with lactose which is broken down in your system by the enzyme lactase. As we age, our bodies produce less lactase, meaning what may not bother you now could greatly affect you later.
Next is the common argument made by many a protein purest bodybuilder, only animal protein is complete. They are correct. No singular plant can give you all nine essential amino acids for muscle building, recovery and endurance. That would be why any plant-based protein worth its price tag is a blend of several veggies, nuts and seeds ensuring all nine aminos are provided in the right quantities. Most common is pea and brown rice to supply the recommended levels of lysine and methionine, but pumpkin and chia seeds are also high in methionine, and quinoa and black beans are also rich in lysine. When you are buying plant sourced protein, look for a label that offers a variety of ingredients like OWYN with pea, pumpkin and chia protein.
Another reason plant protein is far superior is its nutrient density. Whey may offer calcium and a few B vitamins, but it pales in comparison to the nutrient content in plants. Let’s face it most of us do not eat the suggested amount of fruits and vegetables in our day. You may be someone who buys a protein powder and a green food powder. Mixed is probably a terrible idea, so you now have to remember to mix up two shakes and buy two products. With a plant-based protein, you’re increasing your protein and your daily allowance of plant food.
Take a look at the additional ingredients in OWYN, zucchini, spinach, broccoli, kale, flaxseed, seaweed, monk fruit extract. That’s a vitamin and mineral powerhouse, and they throw in our probiotics as an added bonus. Now you’re getting three supplements in one!
Now you know the major differences between plant-based proteins and other protein supplement choices. Let’s take a look at the two practical shopping criteria, flavor and price. Whey protein has been on the market a lot longer and has a much larger customer base, which means it has more flavor options
Laura Manning, MPH, RDN, CDN The Low FODMAP diet is getting some well-deserved attention these days.