WHEY VS. SOY – WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
Whey protein and soy protein are both used as dietary supplements to help increase protein and improve overall health, but what are the differences between them? Both soy and whey have distinct health benefits, and can be used to achieve certain health and fitness goals, but the differences between the two forms of protein mean that the two are best suited for different things. In this article, we’ll take a look at the difference between whey and soy, and when it’s the right time to add either (or both) to your diet.
Soy protein is taken from the soybean plant, which you probably also know as being the source of tofu. Given that tofu is one of the main sources of protein for people on vegetarian and vegan diets, the soybean’s reputation as a source of healthy protein is well established. More than that, though, soy protein is loaded with isoflavones, cancer-preventing phytochemicals, calcium, fiber, iron, zinc, and B vitamins. Soy protein has been shown to help maintain healthy blood sugar, lower bad cholesterol and triglycerides, and maintain a healthy body weight.
There has been some controversy around soy in the bodybuilding and fitness community, with some claiming that its effects are overrated, and that it may even lower testosterone. Recent studies into the benefits of soy, however, seem to be indicating that many of these beliefs are false – a 2004 study confirmed that soy protein helps to build mass and does not lower testosterone, while a 2005 study demonstrated that soy was effective at building lean muscle mass.
Unlike soy protein, whey protein is derived from animal products – namely, cow’s milk. Like soy, however, whey protein has been found to have many positive health effects. Its high antioxidant levels are believed to help decrease the likelihood of cancer and prevent prostate cell death. On top of that, whey protein is incredibly effective at building muscle.
While both soy and whey have been shown to stimulate healthy muscle development, whey has higher concentrations of amino acids that aid in muscle synthesis, and has also been shown to reduce muscle-destroying cortisol, and to stimulate hormone effects in the body that promote additional muscle growth—something that soy can’t claim. Research shows that whey protein is absorbed and assimilated faster than soy, making it ideal for before and after workouts. For bulking up and building muscle quickly (but healthfully), whey may be the best choice there is.
Which One Should I Choose?
If you’re just interested in maintaining muscle mass with healthy protein, soy protein and whey protein will both get the job done. More than that, the choice depends on your goals. If you’re looking to bulk up, whey will likely give you faster results. If you’re just looking to maintain your current muscle mass, or looking for a non-meat protein source, there’s no reason to avoid turning to soy.