Did you wake up knowing you’d be taking Nutrition 101 today?! 😉
I would say the most common question I get about protein is if animal-based (whey, casein, egg) is “better” than plant-based (soy, pea, brown rice, hemp). To understand the difference between these types of protein powders, we need to (literally) break down protein. This is the first step to choose the best protein powder for YOU.
The key difference is amino acids.
When protein digests, it’s broken down into building blocks called amino acids. There are 20 different types that the body uses for functions like repairing tissue, building muscle, producing hormones, and more.
Our bodies can actually make these, except for 9 “essential” amino acids that we can only get from food. To carry out certain functions like building muscle, you need to make sure you’re getting adequate amounts of all 9.
To dig just a liiiiittttle deeper, there is another important group of 3 amino acids called branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). They have a unique chemical structure and have been shown to stimulate muscle protein synthesis (build muscle), improve workout performance, and reduce post-exercise soreness.
Animal vs. plant-based protein
Animal proteins are considered “complete” because they contain all 9 essential amino acids. They’re also the best source of BCAAs.
Protein from plant sources like beans, nuts, seeds, and soy contain most of the essential amino acids, but often lack at least one. Here’s the good news – since foods have different amino acid profiles, you can still get all of the amino acids you need as long as you eat a variety of foods – even on a plant-based diet.
Which one is better?
That depends! 🙂
Neither option is hands-down better than the other – you’ll see why after we go into more detail about each kind.
I will say this – you CAN build muscle with BOTH. A lot of people assume that plant-based protein isn’t good quality or that it’s a waste of time. I’ll save the bioavailability for later, but IMO, plant-based is a solid choice.
As plant-based protein powder becomes more mainstream, more research is supporting this. For example, a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that combined with resistance training, participants who took a pea protein supplement experienced similar results for muscle growth as participants taking whey protein.
Source by www.blogilates.com
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