The Best Whey Protein Vs. Top Plant-Based: A Comparison

Get the facts on the best whey protein powder vs. those top-rated plant-based proteins.

Protein powders are essential in our daily routine but finding the best whey protein vs. top plant-based powders can be challenging. The first problem is deciding on if you want a whey protein supplement or one that is plant-based. This is dependent on your goals and dietary lifestyle. Then it just comes down to the brand and your preference on what you hope to see from your workouts, diet, and supplementation.

Protein powders on the whole can aid in things like muscle growth and protein synthesis, enhanced recovery and reduced muscle soreness, and overall weight loss and management goals, and even weight gain for those looking. With so many options out there, the chance for you to see serious gains has never been more accessible.

Let’s take a look at the best whey protein vs. top plant-based ones and get a sense for how these differ. While there are plenty of similarities, for they are both great protein sources at the end of the day, what you will find are subtle differences that may make you consider one over the other. Plus, we’ll break down two proteins off our list of the Best Protein Powders so you can compare and contrast amongst a whey protein and plant-based one.

Best Whey Protein Vs. Top Plant-Based

Why You Would Choose Whey Protein

For whey protein, there are those two forms that exist to pay attention to. Whey concentrate is typically for those looking to bulk, or who don’t have a preference on the number of carbs and fat included. Whey concentrate will have more carbs and fat than isolate which is why for those in a bulking phase, or for those trying to gain weight, this is preferred.

As for whey isolate, this is great for those looking to slim down and lose weight. This is because whey isolate is a more filtered form of whey, thus shedding some carbs and fats, if not all, and leaving you with an almost pure protein source.

Whey protein is a great protein for those looking to boost muscle growth, aid in recovery, and stay full. Since protein is the building block of all muscle, muscle protein synthesis is bound to happen as you look to increase strength, assist in those recovery and muscle soreness goals, and lose body fat (1,2,3).

Best Whey Protein Vs. Top Plant-Based

Why Choose Plant-Based Protein

Plant-based proteins come from sources like pea protein, brown rice protein, soy protein, and chia seeds, among others. Like whey protein, you will find similar benefits to this type of protein including muscle growth, weight loss, and recovery assistance (4,5).

However, people choose to use plant-based proteins if they have a sensitivity to dairy. This intolerance can cause stomach discomfort and digestive stress, but a vegan protein can alleviate these uncomfortable feelings and work to provide great benefits.

Best Whey Protein Vs. Top Plant-Based

Compare & Contrast The Best Whey Protein Vs. Top Plant-Based

We wanted to share two great protein powders, one whey protein and plant-based protein, so you could see the options out there. We’ve also broken down key aspects of these proteins (calories, protein, carbs, etc.) so you can compare and contrast amongst each respective supplement.

Whey Protein Powder

The market for whey protein is incredibly saturated, but we wanted to share a great option with you so you know exactly what to look for. Your goals will determine what kind of whey protein you choose, and as mentioned above, those looking to bulk will look towards whey concentrate and those looking to lean out will focus in on a whey isolate.

Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate
Code GENIRON10 For 10% Off

Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate is organic, non-GMO, and gluten-free, boasting a great formula for a top protein powder. With nothing artificial added, this is a clean protein that is easier on your stomach.

Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate is a great whey protein isolate with 28g of protein and just 120 calories. Along with this, you will find 1g of carbs, 0.5g of fat, and less than 1g of sugar. With nothing artificial added, this protein is great for muscle growth, recovery, and aiding in those weight loss and management goals. Transparent Labs is an honest company who knows what athletes need and seek to make only the cleanest supplements.

Price: $59.00

Plant-Based Powder

Similar to the whey protein market, many companies have jumped in on the vegan and plant-based craze, so it is important you know what a good company and a good protein powder look like. While it may be hard to decide if you are new to vegan powders, considering what source you want (i.e. brown rice, pea, etc.) can make your decision a little easier.

National Bodybuilding Co. Full Prep Vegan

National Bodybuilding Co. Full Prep Vegan is designed for bodybuilders to hit their goals faster. A 100% natural and organic powder, this will work for a number of benefits like muscle growth and recovery, as well as enhancing overall performance.

National Bodybuilding Co. Full Prep Vegan Protein is designed to help bodybuilders progress faster in the gym and with their vegan goals. Using rice and pea protein, this works to increase the rate of muscle protein synthesis, optimize nutrient utilization, boost metabolic efficiency, and enhance athletic performance. With 20.5g of protein at just 117 calories, this protein is a very nice option.

Price: $40.00

Best Whey Protein Vs. Top Plant-Based

Nutrition Comparison

Let’s take a look at some of the essential elements of the nutrition label for each of these respective products so you can compare actual numbers. With one being whey protein and the other a mix of rice and pea protein, this is a great way to compare two reputable brands and two amazing protein powders.

Transparent Labs 100% Whey Protein Isolate National Bodybuilding Co. Full Prep Vegan
Calories 120 117
Protein 28g 20.5g
Carbs 1g 2g
Fat 0g 3g
Sugar Less than 1g 0g
Servings Per Container 30 20
Serving Size 1 Scoop 1 Scoop
Price $59.99 $40.00
Price Per Serving $1.99 $2.00

Check out our list of the Best Protein Powders for more great protein supplements!

Wrap Up

Finding the best whey protein vs. top plant-based protein can be difficult, but as a worthwhile and effective supplement, it is a task absolutely worth taking on. What you will find with these supplements are powerful products designed to increase muscle growth and aid in recovery while working towards those weight loss and management goals. These proteins will work wonders for you regardless of your choice so look into either a whey protein or plant-based one today and see what these can do for all your goals.

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*Images courtesy of Envato


  1. Devries, M.; et al. (2015). “Supplemental protein in support of muscle mass and health: advantage whey”. (source)
  2. Davies, R.; et al. (2018). “The Effect of Whey Protein Supplementation on the Temporal Recovery of Muscle Function Following Resistance Training: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis”. (source)
  3. Frestedt, J.; et al. (2008). “A whey-protein supplement increases fat loss and spares lean muscle in obese subjects: a randomized human clinical study”. (source)
  4. Babault, N.; et al. (2015). “Pea protein oral supplementation promotes muscle thickness gains during resistance training: a double-blind, randomized, Placebo-controlled clinical trial vs. Whey protein”. (source)
  5. Joy, J.; et al. (2013). “The effects of 8 weeks of whey or rice protein supplementation on body composition and exercise performance”. (source)
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.