Whey protein and soy protein are among the most commonly purchased types of protein powder on the market today, but how do you know which one is best for your body? It is confusing to determine what your body needs to build muscle, burn fat, and function efficiently and effectively. This guide will tell you the differences between soy and whey proteins so you can determine which one is your best option.
Start by understanding the difference between whey and soy. Both contain protein that your body needs to restore muscles after intense workout and support your energy and well being. The difference is the source of that protein.
Whey protein is a byproduct of cheese production, so it contains dairy. Soy protein is made from soy beans, so it is a popular vegetarian protein powder.
Whey protein is best used immediately after a workout, since it is quickly absorbed into your bloodstream and distributed to your hardworking muscles. Soy protein is the only vegetarian source of protein that offers all of the amino acids needed to support protein synthesis in the muscles. It has long been touted as the best type of protein powder for vegetarians and vegans, even though there has been a lot of controversy over whether it is healthy or not.
Whey and soy protein do have some differences in the types of amino acids they offer. While both offer the amino acids needed to help muscles recover and grow stronger, whey protein powder is rich in branched chain amino acids that boost energy levels while soy protein powder is rich in other amino acids that help support various functions throughout the body.
Whey Protein vs. Soy Protein: Dietary Needs and Intolerances
Some consumers suffer digestive problems when they consume whey protein powder and soy protein powder is often used as an alternative. Others may have an adverse reaction to soy and thus prefer to consume whey protein.
In many cases, stomach upset goes away once you get used to taking your preferred variety of protein powder. This is especially true if you are consuming a large amount of protein powder. You may want to slowly increase your dose over time to avoid this shock to your stomach.
How do you know if you will have an adverse reaction to soy or whey? Your body’s reaction to dairy and other soy products will give you a clue, but there is no guarantee until you try something. The biggest concern is for those who have a known allergy to dairy.
Whey Protein vs. Soy Protein: Purity and GMOs
Soy has received a lot of negative publicity lately for a variety of reasons:
- Some believe phytoestrogens contained in soy products reduce testosterone levels. Some men consider soy protein a woman’s product and others worry that it will throw their hormone balance out of whack.
- Some soy producers are implementing genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, into their final product. These artificially altered soybeans are considered unnatural, unhealthy, and potentially dangerous.
There is still a lot of debate about whether men are negatively affected when consuming soy, but many men do use soy protein without problems. If you are concerned about this issue, you should consider using whey protein powder instead of soy.
The best soy protein powders are made without GMOs, and they advertise that fact proudly. You can avoid concern about artificial ingredients by using pure soy protein powders.
Combining Whey and Soy Protein
There are some benefits to using both whey and soy protein powder in your diet. Both offer healthy amino acids that your body needs to function properly and recover from workouts, and soy protein can be used efficiently at any time of the day. If you use your whey protein for after-workout shakes and use soy at other times of the day to deliver a protein boost to your system, you may find that your body stays energized from morning to bedtime.
If you want to use just one protein powder, consider your overall fitness goals. If you want to gain muscle, then whey protein is the superior option after your workouts. If you want a healthy way to supplement or replace meals, then soy may be an alternative to consider.