Animal vs. Plant Based Protein: Making the Healthier Choice

In today’s world, where the pursuit of health and well-being is a top priority for many, the choices we make in our diets play a pivotal role in shaping our lives. The food we consume not only affects our physical health but it also has profound implications for the environment. When it comes to quality nutrition, lately there has been a significant debate around plant-based and animal-based protein powder and which one is better for your body and your health overall. So, let’s look at these two options.

The Rise of Plant Protein

In recent years, plant-based diets and plant protein powder have been on the rise. People seek alternatives to animal-derived products, and so, plant powders have been quite the popular choice not just among vegans and vegetarians but also people who eat meat as well. That is because there are many pros to using plant-based protein powder in your diet.

a blue bowl full of peas and a scoop of plant protein powder poured over a table

Advantages of Plant Protein Powder

Plant protein powder can be derived from a variety of plant sources such as peas, soy, hemp and rice. This type of protein offers an array of advantages that make it a great choice for a wide range of individuals, from professional athletes to fitness enthusiasts and even people who don’t exercise that often. There is one question that you may ask yourself and that is: Is plant-based protein powder healthy? The short answer is yes, it is. But, let’s look at some of these advantages to see how healthy it is. 

Rich in Fiber 

Most plant-based powders are loaded with tons of fiber, which is a crucial component for maintaining a healthy digestive system, and it has the ability to keep you fuller for a longer period. Many plant-based protein powders can actually be used as a meal replacement due to their satiating nature. 

Weight Management 

Since these plant protein powders can replace meals, this means that they are a valuable tool for those who are aiming to lose or keep their current weight. They help to control appetite and reduce overeating. The plant based protein powder alternative is naturally low in calories, therefore you can easily track your consumption in a day with them. 

different types of plant protein sources placed on a white table

Improved Digestion 

People can often experience digestive issues when consuming protein powders, but this is not likely to happen with plant-based powders because this protein is much easier to break down and be absorbed by the body than other powders. Furthermore, people who are intolerant to dairy and have digestive problems won’t have those problems with plant protein since it doesn’t contain dairy. 

Good For the Earth 

Plant-based proteins have a lesser impact on the environment compared to animal-protein powders and meat products such as beef and pork. They require fewer resources like water and land than animal-based powders meaning that they aren’t only good your you and your health, but also for our environment and our planet. 

Advantages of Animal Protein Powder 

We must also talk about the benefits of using animal protein powder because there are many and they are also important to consider before deciding which type is better for you and your health overall. 

Rich in Key Nutrients 

Animal protein-based powders are an excellent source of essential nutrients such as vitamin B12, iron, zinc, and complete protein. Complete protein means having all of the amino acids necessary. Our bodies can’t produce 9 of the essential amino acids, so animal-based protein powder is one of the easiest sources to consume at once.

Better at Workout Recovery 

Adding a plant or animal-based protein powder to a smoothie or eating a protein bar is a matter of personal preference. But for athletes and people who work out, an animal product powder might be a better choice. Powders derived from animals are more effective at stimulating muscle synthesis after exercise. So if that’s something you’re looking for maybe opt for this type of protein powder. 

a person holding a yellow dumbbell in the left hand and a shaker bottle in the right hand with a scoop of whey protein on the table

Making the Healthier Choice 

Now, after we’ve looked at both types of protein powders and we’ve explored their advantages, how do you choose one and be certain it’s the right choice for you? Well, it ultimately depends on you, your individual goals and your dietary preferences.

Consider your health objectives. Are you focused on managing or losing weight, or are you more into muscle-building? Your goals should guide your protein powder choice and will help you pick the one that is right for you and your body. However, if you’re not comfortable consuming any type of animal products due to ethical and environmental concerns, then opt for the one you’re more comfortable with.

Striking a balance between the two options is also a possibility. This approach allows you to enjoy the benefits of both types, depending on your preference and what your goal is at a certain point, but pay attention to your body’s reaction to that choice and the switching between powders. 

Nutrition and health benefits of various protein powders matter, of course, but so does taste! Even though protein powder usually isn’t a key ingredient for creating a signature flavour, it still has some kind of taste and it is important to like it before you decide to start incorporating it into your smoothies and meals. 

If you have any doubts or questions about which of these two works better and will suit your organism better, it’s best to consult a registered dietitian so that you can be sure that whatever you’re doing is working for you and your body. This is also recommended to ensure you achieve your goals and purposes with these supplements. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the plant vs. animal protein powder debate.