Plant Protein vs. Milk Protein: Which Is Better For Athletes?

EndurElite Chief Endurance Officer discusses the difference between plant and milk proteins and which is better to take for muscle repair and recovery.

Plant Based Protein vs. Animal-Based Protein

Plant Protein vs. Milk Protein: Which Is Better?

  • Plant protein may be derived from rice, pea, and watermelon seeds while milk proteins include isolates, concentrates, hydrolysates, and casein.
  • For the most part, both plant and milk protein powders are complete proteins, meaning they contain all 9 essential amino acids BUT they are not equal.
  • Plant proteins, as a whole, have a poorer amino acid profile compared to milk proteins on a gram for gram basis, especially when it comes to the BCAAs.
  • For example, 25 grams of rice protein contains 1.5 grams of leucine (main BCAA responsible for stimulating muscle protein synthesis and hence muscle repair) while 25 grams of whey concentrate will contain 2.6 grams of leucine.
  • This is important because research has demonstrated that it takes 2.5 - 3 grams of leucine to optimize muscle protein synthesis.
  • So if you prefer a plant protein over milk protein, either take more than 1 scoop OR add an extra 1 - 1.5 grams of leucine to it.
  • For more information on plant vs. animal-based diets click here