Whey vs. Plant Protein: What's the Difference?


What's the Difference Between Whey Protein and Plant Protein?

Whey protein or plant protein? Is one better than the other? When it comes to building muscle, you should at least know the difference. In this article, we explore the key differences between whey protein and plant protein to help you make the right choice!

What is Protein?

Bodybuilders aren’t the only ones who need lots of protein in their diet. Protein is the building block of a healthy body, no matter what your fitness level is. Your survival is dependent on you getting enough protein, as it supports metabolic function, proper digestion, weight management, muscle growth and repair, endurance, performance, mental agility, and helps you feel satisfied longer after eating.
Some of the benefits of protein supplementation include:

  • Provides the amino acids necessary to repair muscle

  • Balances blood sugar to maintain energy levels

  • Helps to stabilize body weight

  • Strengthens the body’s immune system

  • Helps the brain to function properly


How Much Protein Do I Really Need?

Even though it’s really, really important to eat enough protein, the fact is that most of us don’t. If you are active or involved in a fitness program of any kind, protein is essential to help you maintain your lean muscle mass. It also helps you maintain a healthy weight by helping you feel full after you eat, which is especially great if you’re trying to lose a few pounds.
So how much protein do you need? The general rule of thumb if you are trying to build muscle or lose weight is that you should consume one gram of protein per every pound of body weight. Get out your food labels and do the math. That adds up pretty quickly, and some people might find it next to impossible to consume that much protein just by eating food.
Say you’re dieting, and your ideal weight is 120 pounds. By our calculations, you should be eating 120 grams of protein per day. If you’re a meat eater, you can probably manage that. But if you’re a vegan, what then? Most of the protein you consume will be from brown rice, nuts, legumes and protein-rich vegetables like kale, but it would be really difficult to lose weight by eating those things. In this case, you’d probably want to supplement.

What’s the Difference Between Plant Based and Whey Protein?

We get protein through the foods we eat on a daily basis. Athletes and anybody trying to lose weight will often supplement their diets with extra protein. Meats and dairy are the most protein dense foods, but whey is the protein source of choice when supplementing.


What is whey protein?

Whey is derived from a cheese-making process: it’s the liquid that is left behind when the milk solids are removed, after the milk is curdled and strained off. It is relatively low in lactose, compared to milk or cheese, so there is generally a low incidence of lactose intolerance.


What is plant protein?

But what if you’re vegan or vegetarian and animal based sources are not an option? Luckily, there are now lots of high-quality plant based protein sources available, and though the texture and flavor may be a little ‘different’, what’s available is just as effective and nutritious as animal protein. In fact, studies prove that those using whey vs. plant protein while working out were able to get pretty much the same results.

The Pros and Cons of Whey and Plant Protein

In sports nutrition, whey protein is the standard by which most protein is held to. Plant based proteins have only recently become widely available, but can be just as effective in an athletic setting as they can in a healthy, balanced every day diet. Like anything else, there are pros and cons to each type, but at least there are options.

Whey Protein: Pros and Cons

First, let’s weigh in on the whey:

  • Lots of choices available

  • Many reputable brands

  • Tastes great

  • Higher in branched chain amino acids

  • Powerful immune system booster

  • Very low lactose, so fairly tolerable by most


  • Dairy allergens

  • Some find milk proteins hard to digest

  • Possible contamination with hormones and antibiotics common in the cow-dairy industry

  • Can cause digestive ‘distress’ and gas

  • Acid forming

Plant Protein: Pros and Cons

Now, let’s look at the Power of Plant-based Protein:

  • Made from rice, peas, hemp or soy

  • Easily digested and tolerated, even for people with food allergies

  • Most digestible is hemp protein

  • Aids in detoxification

  • Higher in dietary fiber

  • Less potential toxicity from animal-related issues

  • Alkaline forming


  • Some people don’t like the taste

  • Lower amounts of amino acids


It’s All About Option

Luckily, Lenny & Larry’s gives you some options. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or a die-hard ‘not either of those’, we’ve got a protein packed treat for you. We use only non-GMO ingredients, and avoid questionable foods such as soy and high fructose corn syrup so that you can fool your brain into thinking it’s getting dessert when you’re actually feeding your muscles with a one-two punch of protein, fiber and sustainable goodness.
Whether you think that whey is the way, or if you’re plant-based all day, you won’t have to think twice about getting your much-needed protein boost with our delicious baked goods. Our cookies are made with vegetable based protein, while our muffins and brownies contain high-quality whey isolate, so you can choose what works best for you.
Shop Protein today, your body will thank you!