Pea Protein Or Whey Protein – Which One Is Better?

Protein powder and supplements are among the most popular supplements these days since the boom in the fitness industry. What was once only available in whey form, protein is now made from many different animal and plant sources. Whey protein is still seen as the most popular, however, more plant based proteins are steadily gaining popularity.

In this article we will compare pea and whey protein, and provides you with some advice on which one may be the better fit for you.

How Are They Made?

Protein powder is made by extracting protein from whole foods and then preparing it into a powdered form. Depending on the type of protein being made, manufacturers will use a variety of techniques to extract the protein.

Whey protein is extracted from whey. The milky by-product left during the cheese making process. As it comes from milk, whey protein powders will contain lactose, making it a no go source of protein for those who’re lactose intolerant.

Whereas, pea protein is a plant-based form of protein and therefore lactose-free. It’s generally extracted from plant based foods such as – legumes and split peas. Pea proteins are free from over 90% of all common allergens. Making it a desirable choice for people with food allergies. Those with allergies or intolerances to gluten and dairy should find pea protein much easier to digest. Leaving them feeling less bloated and uncomfortable.

Nutritional Profiles

The below table shows the average nutritional profiles for a 30-grams scoop of pea and whey protein.

Pea proteinWhey protein
Calories120118
Protein22.5 grams27 grams
Carbs1.5 grams1 gram
Fat2.25 gramsless than 1 gram
Cholesterol0 grams0.011 grams
Fiber1.5 grams0 grams
Sugar0 grams0 grams
Sodium15% of the Daily Value (DV)2% of the DV
Calcium7% of the DV10% of the DV
Potassium1% of the DV4% of the DV
Iron42% of the DV0% of the DV
Image Credit – Healthline

Protein Content

Both pea and whey contain similar amounts of protein. However, whey protein does tend to offer more grams of protein per serving. However, as you can see from the image above, pea protein also offers much higher levels of iron, potassium and fibre.

Amino acids

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. There are 9 essential amino acids the body needs and can’t produce them on its own.

Whey protein is considered a complete protein as it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids. It contains especially high amounts of branch chain amino acids – BCAAs.

As with whey protein, pea protein also contains all of the 9 essential amino acids. However, it only offers a small amount of methionine, one of the 9.

Muscle Gain

Although protein is necessary for creating muscle gain, it’s not the be-all and end-all it’s made out to be. Yes, protein does help the muscle grow and repair the damaged muscle fibres through exercise. However, you also have to be stressing the muscles through exercise and eating enough for the muscles to grow effectively.

For example, if you’re eating in a calorie deficit, and not exercising hard enough, it won’t matter how much protein you consume.

Final Thoughts

Both pea and whey proteins are supplements and should NOT be relied on for your only source of protein. You should be aiming for a well balanced diet and use these protein powders as top ups.

The Fitness Focus Team

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