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Whey vs Soy Protein: Which Is Better for Meal Replacement Shakes?
Regardless of the form it takes, protein is a necessary and healthy part of a well-rounded diet, especially if you maintain an active lifestyle. This macronutrient – one of three, fats and carbohydrates being the other two – is broken down by the body into amino acids that perform a number of critical functions, including repairing muscles after a workout, creating enzymes and hormones, and contributing to the production of everything from bones to blood.
Whey and soy are two of the top sources of this important nutrient, and each has its own fans within the health and fitness community. If you’ve ever wondered what sets the two products apart, you’re not alone. Keep reading to find out where whey and soy differ, and what makes each shine.
Health Effects of Whey Protein in Meal Replacement Shakes
Whey protein is widely regarded in both fitness and nutrition circles as one of the most effective forms of protein. It is derived from whey – the liquid part of milk – and can come in a few different forms, the most common being whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate. Either will provide your body with protein, but that doesn’t mean the effects are quite the same.
Whey protein concentrate retains some of the lactose found in whey’s unprocessed form, and it has a higher percentage of fat and other nutrients that make it a well-rounded choice when consumed on its own. Whey protein isolate, on the other hand, is much lower in fat and higher in protein – about 90 percent or higher, compared to the 70-80 percent found in whey protein concentrate – and it’s digested much more readily by the body; this makes it an ideal option when consumed in combination with other nutrients.
It is also worth noting that whey is one example of a complete protein, meaning that it contains all nine essential amino acids; of the 22 amino acids your body needs to synthesize protein and stay healthy, the nine essential acids cannot be produced by the body and must be ingested – thus the term “essential.”
Health Effects of Soy Protein in Meal Replacement Shakes
Soy protein is unusual among plant-based proteins because it is another example of a complete protein, a classification usually reserved for animal-based proteins. It is derived from soybean flakes that have had all the fat, sugars, and dietary fiber removed, and it contains fair amounts of vitamins and minerals including iron, manganese, phosphorus, and copper. However, it also has significant levels of phytates – antioxidant compounds that have been shown to slow the absorption of minerals into the body – so there remains some debate over its effectiveness at delivering minerals on its own, though in combination with the ingredients in meal replacement shakes it can still be an excellent source of protein.
Like whey, it comes in both concentrate and isolate forms that differ in terms of protein content and nutritional benefits; in this case, the concentrate form retains more natural fiber than the isolate and is very easy to digest. Soy has the added advantage of being more accessible to those with dietary restrictions, since it’s both vegan and lactose-free.
Which Is Better, Whey or Soy Protein?
The choice between whey and soy proteins is dependent on a number of factors, many of them a simple matter of personal preference. For example, soy protein has a distinctly nutty taste and a slightly grainy texture, whereas whey tends to have a smoother, creamier texture and flavor. For vegans, the difference may not matter, since whey is derived from an animal product; for everyone else, whey may be more appealing from a taste standpoint.
In terms of nutrition, the two types of protein offer similar advantages. Because both are quickly digested, your body can put the protein to work immediately, repairing muscles after a workout or providing fuel before one. Both forms are high in protein and low in fats and carbs, meaning that they are effective for weight loss, and both can be added to any drink, which makes them easy to incorporate into your diet.
However, you don’t have to choose one or the other; ENU meal replacement shakes include both forms of protein as part of a balanced nutritional formula that’s easy on your system. Keep in mind that ENU products are more than simple protein shakes; they contain healthful blends of complex carbohydrates and unsaturated fats to round out any diet and come in two delicious, gluten-free, and lactose-free flavors.
Fulfill All Your Protein Needs with ENU Nutrition Shakes
The debate over whey versus soy has a simple, often-overlooked solution: just include both! ENU nutrition shakes contain both whey and soy protein so you can reap the benefits of each for an effective, well-rounded protein blend. If you would like to learn more about ENU products or order a sample pack, visit us online today.