Veganism is on the rise, which is why more people are becoming aware of what they are consuming. But since this lifestyle promotes healthier eating habits and helps prevent animal cruelty, then we can agree that things have taken a turn for the best.
The best part about it is that being vegan doesn’t mean having to let go of all the things you used to enjoy when you weren’t vegan. For example, if you love working out, going vegan doesn’t mean cutting your gym time.
However, there are a lot of questions surrounding whey protein and whether it’s fit for vegan consumption. So, without further ado, we’re here to answer one of your most popular questions: is whey protein vegan?
What is Whey Protein?
Now that we have discussed veganism, we can start talking about whey protein. Let’s start by dissecting the words “whey” and “protein”.
By definition, whey refers to the liquid part that separates from the milk during the coagulation process in curdling. This is the process we use when we make cheese. On the other hand, protein refers to the nutrient that is responsible for healthy and strong muscles. Also known as the building block of the body, protein is one of the most essential nutrients our body needs.
Fortunately, whey is a great source of protein. Through another process, high-quality protein can be extracted from the whey. And that rich source of protein is what we now call whey protein.
It’s important to note, however, that whey protein can only be derived from dairy milk. It cannot be extracted from non-dairy alternatives such as soy or almond milk.
Because of its rich concentration of excellent-quality protein, whey protein comes with multiple benefits. Aside from helping us build and repair our muscles, whey protein also benefits us in the following ways:
- Whey protein helps us naturally boost our metabolism. As a result, we don’t have to worry about how fast or slow we’re burning what we eat.
- It can help us lose our appetites, making us eat less in the process.
- It can easily make us feel full. That tricks us into eating far less than usual.
- It helps us build or maintain our muscle mass, depending on what our goal is.
- With the proper workout or exercise, whey protein can also help us burn fats faster.
And because of these many benefits, whey protein is beneficial to our bodies in so many ways. To be more specific, it is often needed by athletes and people who love working out. These are the people who use so much of their muscles daily, which is why it needs a good source of high-quality protein to make sure they’re well-repaired.
Whey protein is also present as a supplement for most senior adults who need the extra boost in their protein intake for their muscles and overall metabolism.
And if you’re struggling to lose weight, whey protein can also help you with that. Not only will it help you burn fat faster, but it will also help you turn them into muscle to look leaner.
So without a doubt, whey protein is beneficial for a lot of people.
Is Whey Protein Vegan?
With all these discussions in mind, we can now finally answer: is whey protein vegan?
As we have briefly discussed earlier, whey protein is derived from dairy milk. Meaning, it comes from cow’s milk. It goes through a coagulation process to separate the whey from the milk, and then another process to extract the whey protein itself.
Looking back at the definition of what it means to be a vegan, we can see that this lifestyle does not support the use or intake of animal-derived items. Unfortunately, whey protein is derived from cow’s milk.
Thus, whey protein cannot be considered vegan-friendly.
Whey Protein Alternatives
Fortunately, we now live in an age when science and technology can help us make discoveries. We now have access to multiple research materials and experiments that lead us to more knowledge – and that helped us discover other sources of high-quality protein.
> Read more: Vegan protein sources.
If you’re planning to go vegan, or simply want to avoid the dairy-based whey protein, here are some alternatives that you can try.
- Soy protein. Soy has always been a healthy source of protein, and one of the most popular alternatives for milk. That’s why it’s easy to see why soy protein powder is a top alternative for dairy-based whey protein.
Aside from being high in protein, soy also helps us burn fat faster. That’s why it’s a top choice for people who also need to lose weight.
- Vegan pea protein. However, we understand that some vegans also suffer from allergies. Unfortunately, soy allergy is quite common, so that means soy protein powder is off your list.
Fortunately, vegan pea protein is a good alternative. This rich source of high-quality protein is derived from refined pea and contains an impressive 23 grams of protein per scoop. Thus, you don’t have to worry about not getting your daily protein needs with this alternative.
- Brown rice protein. If pea protein is not your strong suit, you might also want to try brown rice protein powder.
You might be surprised that rice is included on this list. After all, rice is known for being a source of carbs, which makes it an unlikely protein source.
Fortunately, brown rice is a type of rice that’s rich in protein. The protein component is then extracted and isolated, which is how the protein powder is produced. Thus, not only is it low on carbs but what you’re taking in is specially processed to contain high protein concentrations.
If there’s anything that you’ll remember from this article, it’s that whey protein is not vegan. But even then, that doesn’t mean that it’s the only source of high-quality protein in the market.
In fact, vegans can always rely on plant-based substitutes like those made of pea and soy, among others. Even if you have allergies or intolerances – not just if you’re not vegan – you can still find an alternative that you can try.
Thus, while whey protein isn’t vegan, that shouldn’t stop you from embracing veganism.