Pea Protein vs. Whey Protein

Pea Protein vs. Whey Protein

Whey protein and pea protein are two popular protein supplements available in the market. While they both provide protein, there are some key differences between the two:

  1. Source: Whey protein is derived from milk, specifically as a byproduct during the cheese-making process. It contains a complete amino acid profile, including all essential amino acids. Pea protein, on the other hand, is derived from yellow peas. While it is also a good source of protein, it may not contain all the essential amino acids, particularly low in methionine and cysteine.

  2. Digestibility: Whey protein is known for its high digestibility and rapid absorption rate. It is quickly broken down and absorbed by the body, making it an ideal choice for post-workout recovery. Pea protein, though generally well-tolerated, may be slightly less digestible compared to whey protein, resulting in a slower release of amino acids.

  3. Allergies and Sensitivities: Whey protein is derived from milk, which can pose a problem for individuals with lactose intolerance or milk allergies. Some people may experience digestive issues or allergic reactions when consuming whey protein. Pea protein, being plant-based, is suitable for those with dairy allergies or lactose intolerance and is generally considered hypoallergenic.

  4. Protein Content: Whey protein typically has a higher protein content per serving compared to pea protein. Whey protein powders usually contain around 20-25 grams of protein per serving, while pea protein powders may provide around 15-20 grams of protein per serving. However, it's important to check the label of specific products as protein content can vary.

  5. Additional Nutrients: Whey protein naturally contains small amounts of lactose, fat, and minerals found in milk. Some whey protein supplements may also undergo additional processing to remove lactose and fat, resulting in whey protein isolate or whey protein hydrolysate, which have higher protein content. Pea protein, on the other hand, is generally free from lactose and is often considered a cleaner protein source.

  6. Dietary Restrictions: Pea protein is a suitable option for individuals following a vegetarian or vegan diet as it is plant-based and does not contain any animal-derived ingredients. Whey protein, being derived from milk, is not suitable for those following a vegan diet.

When choosing between whey protein and pea protein, it's important to consider your specific dietary needs, potential allergies or sensitivities, and personal preferences. Some individuals may find whey protein more beneficial for muscle recovery and growth, while others may prefer pea protein for its plant-based and allergen-friendly nature. Consulting with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian can also provide personalized guidance based on your unique needs and goals.


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