When people go to the gym, they typically want to be able to take a protein shake with them to give themselves an extra boost of energy to boost their exercises. The most common form of protein used in a protein shake for the gym is whey protein.
This probes the question… Is whey protein vegan? We all need to know, don’t we? We want to optimize our workouts so we benefit more, and we need our protein. While we can get loads of protein from high-protein plant-based foods, a protein shake can be just that extra helping hand!
So, is whey protein vegan? Can you and I indulge in it or should we start looking elsewhere?
Is Whey Protein Vegan?
Sadly, I have to break some bad news for you. Whey protein is not vegan. It comes from milk, which makes it a dairy, animal-derived form of protein.
If you were to have any type of allergy or even intolerance to it, or even if you followed a strict vegan diet, you ought to not consume anything that contains this form of protein!
Whey actually comes from cows, it is a complete protein but is animal-based and this makes it unsuitable for vegans.
Is Whey Better Than Vegan Protein?
As whey protein is an animal protein it does contain more calcium and is considered to be a complete protein as it contains all of the essential amino acids.
However, vegan proteins will have around the same amount of protein, with around 20-30 grams of protein per serving. Vegan plant powers have plenty of protein, but the actual content of the protein depends on the plant it is made from.
That being said, vegan proteins will typically have fewer branched-chain amino acids than whey protein, and these amino acids are very important for muscle building. So, in theory, vegan protein powders are not as effective for building bulk but are still effective in their own right.
Is Whey Protein Bad For You?
So, while whey protein is better for building muscle, this does not mean it is better overall. It does need to be taken in appropriate amounts, as long as you ingest it sensibly it is safe. However, it can cause some gastrointestinal discomfort.
That being said, there is not a huge amount of data on the side effects of having such a high-protein intake from supplements and food. It could be the dairy, as we all know ingesting too much dairy can have an effect on your insides.
This means it is possible that any gastrointestinal discomfort may be the result of the dairy in whey protein, not the protein itself.
The other risk of whey protein is that it can cause an unhealthy spike in blood sugar and weight gain if you are not careful. Remember that unused protein can easily become fat, so you should ensure that if you use a protein powder to bulk up, you exercise accordingly.
What Is Whey Protein Made Of?
I have already told you that whey protein is made from cow’s milk/ dairy, however, it is not exactly milk. Otherwise, it would just be called milk… right?
Whey protein is actually pretty gross when you think about it. When milk is taken from a cow it separates, you get the milk that people drink, then you get the part that is taken for cheese and then you get the watery protein, which separates from the curds when dairy producers make cheese.
This is what whey protein is… The watery protein that separates from the curds. This type of whey protein is used as a protein supplement as it is jam-packed with nutrients (even though it is gross) and it can have an effect on the immune system.
Is Whey Protein Halal?
Generally, whey protein is considered to be halal, however, this is only the case if the process to make the whey protein is not haram. Whey protein would be haram if it is prepared using the enzymes from calves or a pig that has not been slaughtered in accordance with halal laws.
Rennet is often used to curd milk, and therefore the rennet needs to be proven as halal, if it is not then it would be considered haram. The rennet needs to come from a halal animal for whey protein to be halal.
Honestly, it is best avoided as you never know what processes a manufacturer uses.
Is Whey Protein Vegetarian?
Vegetarians do consume dairy products, and since whey protein comes from dairy and cows. This does make whey protein an animal product, but since vegetarians do consume dairy animal products, this is okay for vegetarian consumption.
So, while whey protein is most definitely NOT vegan, it IS vegetarian.
5 Of The Best Vegan Whey Protein Alternatives
Since whey protein is not an option for vegans, what can we have instead?
Well, there are plenty of protein powders and protein supplements we can have instead. However, the ones which are probably best for us include:
Pea protein is made from yellow split peas which have a higher protein count than green peas. A single quarter-cup serving of an unflavored pea protein powder will give you a good 20 grams of protein and 100 calories. It is also high in branched-chain amino acids which you need to help build up muscle!
This is what makes pea proteins the best!
Hemp protein is my second favorite, it is made with the seeds of the cannabis plant, but no, it won’t make you high. A 28-gram cup will give you 12 grams of protein and omega-3, iron, zinc, magnesium, and fiber! As well as more!
I recommend one of these 2 options for a whey protein alternative! But, the other options are also great.
Does Whey Contain Egg Or Milk?
Whey is milk, or part of it, technically. It is the watery part that comes from the separation from the curd in the cheese-making process.
Is Whey Protein Isolate Vegan?
No form of whey protein is vegan, for a protein powder vegans stay well away from whey protein.
How Much Dairy Is In Whey Protein?
There is around 1 gram or so in whey protein, however, it differs depending on the brand.