Comparing Vegan Protein & Whey Protein

Comparing Vegan Protein & Whey Protein

In recent years, the popularity of plant-based protein powders has surged, challenging the longstanding dominance of whey protein. Why is this? Well, studies suggest that vegan protein offers a wide range of benefits, including reduced inflammation and a more positive environmental impact. In this article, we will delve into the scientific research and examine the differences between vegan protein and whey protein. 

Not for Lactose-Intolerant Individuals!

Whey protein, derived from milk, has been celebrated for its comprehensive amino acid profile, but this has caused the negative impact of whey protein to be overlooked. However, it is becoming widely known that whey protein might elicit inflammatory effects in certain individuals. If you happen to have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or identify as even just mildly lactose-intolerant (which a lot of people are, whether you know it or not!) it is advisable to avoid whey protein. 

Research has highlighted the potential allergenic properties of whey protein, meaning individuals with dairy allergies or lactose intolerance may experience unfavourable reactions that result in discomfort and inflammation. In contrast, plant-based protein powders, such as organic pea protein, offer a hypoallergenic alternative devoid of common allergens, providing a safer choice for those seeking protein supplementation.

Whey Protein & Your Liver

While whey protein has long been praised for its benefits and a staple in the ‘popular’ fitness market, it is crucial to consider potential adverse effects associated with its indiscriminate use. A systematic review exploring the consequences of a diet relying heavily on whey protein supplements revealed some concerning findings. Excessive and uncontrolled consumption of whey protein, particularly over an extended period, has been linked to potential harm to vital organs such as the kidneys and liver.

Additionally, the review highlighted associations between whey protein and factors such as aggression, acne presence, and alterations in the microbiota. These findings emphasise the importance of approaching whey protein supplementation with caution and seeking professional guidance. It is advisable to be mindful of the potential risks involved, especially when combining whey protein with a sedentary lifestyle. Pimples and a bad mood? I don’t want that from my protein powder… 

Whey Protein & Your Skin

It appears that whey protein's hormonal impact on the body, as well as its potential influence on insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) levels, may contribute to the development of breakouts. 

When we consume whey protein, the body rapidly digests and absorbs its amino acids, which in turn triggers the release of insulin in response to the increased blood sugar levels. This insulin release can stimulate the production of androgens, such as testosterone, which are known to influence sebum production in the skin. Elevated sebum levels, combined with dead skin cells and bacteria, can clog pores and lead to the formation of acne.

Additionally, whey protein has been found to elevate IGF-1 levels in the body. IGF-1 is a growth factor that plays a crucial role in muscle growth and repair. While this hormone is essential for overall health, excessive levels of IGF-1 have been associated with increased sebum production and the proliferation of skin cells, both of which can contribute to acne development. Therefore, consuming large amounts of whey protein may lead to an imbalance in IGF-1 levels, potentially exacerbating the risk of breakouts.

It's worth noting that individual susceptibility to acne can vary, and not everyone who consumes whey protein will experience skin issues. However, for those prone to acne or already dealing with breakouts, it may be wise to consider alternative protein sources or limit whey protein intake to see if there is an improvement in their skin condition.

Vegan Protein & Your Skin

You may be wondering: can vegan protein powders contribute to acne like whey protein? Fortunately, it's highly unlikely. Unlike whey protein, vegan protein powders do not stimulate the hormones that increase sebum production in our skin, which is a major factor in acne development. Moreover, plant-based proteins are generally easier for our bodies to digest and absorb, reducing the likelihood of gut inflammation that can aggravate skin conditions. Rest assured, there is no reported correlation between vegan protein powders and acne. So, if you're concerned about your skin, you can confidently incorporate vegan protein into your diet without worrying about its impact on your complexion.

Environmental Impact

The environmental impact of protein production is a growing concern. Animal-based protein sources, like whey protein, require significant resources, including land, water, and energy. The production of animal feed and the emission of greenhouse gases associated with livestock contribute to environmental degradation and climate change.

On the other hand, plant-based protein powders, like organic pea protein, have a lower ecological footprint. Plant proteins require fewer resources, emit fewer greenhouse gases, and have a lower land and water footprint compared to animal protein sources. You can take care of your planet as well as your health! 

Studies published in scientific journals demonstrate the environmental benefits of plant-based protein production. By choosing vegan protein options, consumers can make a positive impact on the environment and contribute to sustainable food systems.

Effectiveness of Plant-Based Protein Powders 

Contrary to the notion that animal-based proteins are superior, research supports the effectiveness of plant-based protein powders in meeting the body's protein requirements. 

Studies have shown that vegan protein powders, like organic pea protein, can effectively promote muscle protein synthesis and support muscle recovery after exercise. 

The Bottom Line

When comparing vegan protein with whey protein, it is important to consider the scientific evidence surrounding their inflammatory effects and environmental impact. 

Whey protein may cause inflammation and contribute to environmental degradation, whilst vegan protein powders offer a hypoallergenic, eco-friendly, and nutritionally balanced alternative. 

Why not ensure that your protein powder works harder for you? The Daily Essential Formula (DEF) offers a valuable source of essential nutrients beyond just protein - so you can ditch the inflammatory whey protein and your standard multivitamin and get an all-in-one, anti-inflammatory and delicious solution. The DEF supplies you with 28g of organic pea protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, offering a comprehensive nutritional profile. This makes it a convenient option for individuals looking to meet their nutritional needs without relying solely on animal-derived products or if they follow a plant-based diet. This all-in-one powder allows you to prioritise your health, support sustainable practices, and contribute to a greener future - all in one morning shake! Not bad for a daily 35g serving, right? 



[1]Q. D. Vasconcelos, T. P. Bachur, and G. F. Aragão, “Whey protein supplementation and its potentially adverse effects on Health: A Systematic Review,” Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, vol. 46, no. 1, pp. 27–33, 2021.

[1]M. U. Khan, H. Lin, I. Ahmed, Y. Chen, J. Zhao, T. Hang, B. P. Dasanayaka, and Z. Li, “Whey allergens: Influence of nonthermal processing treatments and their detection methods,” Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, vol. 20, no. 5, pp. 4480–4510, 2021.

[1]“Whey protein: Health benefits, side effects, and dangers,” Medical News Today. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 10-Jul-2023]

[1]“Can the right diet get rid of acne?,” American Academy of Dermatology. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 10-Jul-2023]

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