There are many other protein options besides whey protein that elicit much the same effects when it comes to muscle protein synthesis. Though, as previously mentioned, not all proteins are created equal. Alternatives to whey protein include casein, eggs, and beef protein.
3 Alternatives to Whey Protein
- Casein Protein
- Egg White Protein
- Beef Isolate
The key message here is that whatever protein you decide to take, you should take a protein that contains a complete amino acid profile and is compatible with your body for digestion.
1. Casein Protein
Casein is a major component of milk that accounts for 70–80% of the protein found in dairy products. Casein is also one of the most common protein sources aside from whey.
One of the main reasons people consume casein protein at night is casein’s ability to “time-release.” Technically speaking, casein forms a protein “clot” in the stomach, which makes casein efficient at supplying nutrients and amino acids into the bloodstream over many hours.
Casein is one of the best proteins to consume before bed, as casein is an anti-catabolic protein that promotes muscle protein synthesis as we sleep. A study by Maastricht University shows that consuming casein before bed causes a rapid rise in circulating amino acids throughout the night.
2. Egg White Protein
We all know that eggs are a great source of nutrients and protein, but what about egg white protein? If you take away the yolk, aren’t you taking away the majority of an egg’s nutrients?
While most vitamins and minerals are present in whole eggs, egg white is high in protein and low in fat, making it an ideal source of pure protein. As with beef and whey protein, egg white protein is a complete protein meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids necessary for protein synthesis.
In addition to protein, egg whites also serve as a good source of potassium and sodium, which are both vital minerals and electrolytes. At the same time, the presence of riboflavin helps with nutrient metabolism and red blood cell production.
3. Beef Protein Isolate
Hydrolyzed beef protein is similar to whey protein. However, beef protein is “hydrolyzed’ into smaller parts for easier digestion and absorption. And like whey protein, beef protein contains all the essential amino acids, which makes it a complete protein.
A study by The University of Tampa examined the effect of beef protein on 30 male and females college athletes. The study found that beef protein isolates taken after exercise led to a significant increase in lean muscle mass and strength compared to baseline levels. These results were consistent with the findings of whey protein consumption after exercise.
If you don’t want to consume whey protein powders and you’re not satisfied with the plant-based supplements on offer, beef proteins are your best bet.
Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins and an essential building block for body structures. Collagen is a key structural protein that ensures the cohesion, elasticity, and regeneration of all connective tissues, including the skin, tendons, ligaments, and bones.
Essentially, collagen is the ‘glue’ that holds our body together, and collagen protein is becoming more popular as a supplement, even though it’s categorized as an incomplete protein because collagen doesn’t have a complete amino acid profile.
Just like collagen protein, plant-based proteins contain incomplete proteins which means they are not the best source of protein. This is not to say that plant-based proteins aren’t effective and that they don’t work, but they are not a substitute for whey protein and other animal-based proteins, which contain a complete amino acid profile.
Best Alternative to Whey Protein
Whether it’s egg, beef, or casein protein, there are many protein options beyond whey protein that elicit much the same effect in terms of protein synthesis.
The key message here is that whatever protein you choose, ensure your protein not only contains a complete amino acid profile, but is compatible with your body with respect to digestion.