Is Whey Protein Vegan and Vegetarian Friendly?
Yes, whey protein is 100% vegan and vegetarian-friendly. Protein powders contain high-quality casein, lactose-free milk, soy, and egg whites, which are all acceptable for vegans and vegetarians.
Vegan and vegetarian athletes use these types of protein powder supplements. Because they help provide the amino acids needed to build muscle mass.
But, some brands of whey protein may contain soy or dairy ingredients. Which means they could be harmful to vegetarians and vegans. Other types of proteins like casein and hydrolyzed also be detrimental to those who avoid all kinds of meat.
Some may contain traces of animal products. The best way to know is to read the labels and look at the ingredients list.
What Is Whey Protein?
Whey protein is a nutrient-rich supplement that is ideal for a vegan diet. It provides a good source of protein that is both occurring and easy to digest.
Soy, hemp and pea proteins are alternative options for vegans. But soy is the most often used alternative protein source.
Because this protein is so like whey, soy protein is easy to mix with other forms of protein.
Whey protein is a non-dairy source of complete protein. It is the single ingredient in mother’s milk and the most abundant source of protein in the human body.
You can find whey protein in protein bars, protein shakes and protein powders. And protein brownies at your local grocery store.
What Sorts of Foods Contain Whey?
Whey is an excellent source of protein, and a small amount of whey can be a great addition to your diet. Forms of whey protein are also found in other foods.
If you are vegan, you can always look for alternatives to these foods below.
Some examples include:
- Oats – Oat flakes have 1 gram of protein per half-cup serving. They are a whole-grain food that adds a nice texture to smoothies and oatmeal cereals.
- Lentils – Lentils are one of the oldest known legumes. And are full of nutrients, including protein, dietary fibre, manganese, and foliate. One cup serving has 4 grams of protein.
- Quinoa – Quinoa contains about 8 grams of protein per ¼ cup serving. This form of pseudo-grain grows outside of the seed.
- Black beans – Black beans are a very popular bean among many cultures worldwide. A half-cup serving has 14 grams of protein.
- Bananas – Bananas are packed with potassium and vitamin B6. They have 0.8 grams of protein per half of the banana serving.
- Peanut butter – Peanuts are considered a legume by the USDA. They are nutritious, including a large amount of protein. You can get 15 grams of protein from ½ tablespoon of peanut butter alone.
- Cottage cheese – Curdling cheeses make cottage cheese. Some varieties will say “vegetarian” on the label even though it’s not true vegetarianism because it still contains eggs. But it does have a low-fat content – perfect for adding flavour.
- Hemp seeds – Hemp seeds have 5 grams of protein per ½ cup serving. These tiny seeds are high in minerals such as zinc, copper, and more.
Types of Whey Protein
The different types of protein sources use various methods to create their product. They range from plant-based ones like soy or pea protein to those derived from dairy.
The list below shows all the variations of whey protein that you may find in a typical grocery store:
- Isolated Soy Protein (ISP)
- Hydrolyzed Casein (HC)
- Full-Fat Milk Proteins (FFMP)
- Nonfat Dry Milk Proteins (NFDM)
These differ in how they are treated during processing. When using isolates, the most significant protein is extracted from soybeans.
Using hydrolysates, the casein form of protein is broken down into smaller pieces. Whole fat milk proteins are composed of both casein and whey, but most come from cows.
Nonfat dry milk comes from skim.
What About Plant-Based Protein Powders?
Not all vegan protein powders are equal. And it’s essential to explore all the options available to you.
Whey protein remains a popular choice. But more people choose plant-based diets.
Plant-based protein powder contains some type of soy whey protein isolate. The best example would be an almond protein powder.
Soy has been the most used plant-based source for food manufacturers to produce natural alternatives. It is partly due to its cost-efficiency. It also means soy-based amino acids can be cross-contaminated with other chemicals.
There are many kinds of whey protein content you can use. Whey protein is a complete protein.
Comparing whey to plant-based protein
A lot of research has been done comparing these two options for protein intake.
Most studies show that there aren’t any differences between the two. But it doesn’t mean that they are equal.
The reason why this is important is that some people prefer to consume proteins from animals. At the same time, others choose to eat vegan foods instead.
No matter what type of protein you go with, there’s always going to be someone who disagrees with your choice. So it would help if you considered other factors too when choosing where to get your protein from.
I hope this article helped you better understand protein powder and whey protein, whether you prefer whey, plant, or a combination of both.
It will help if you take your protein powder with a healthy diet. And regular exercise will help you achieve your fitness goals faster.