Protein powders are the biggest selling supplements on the market and have been for many years now. Everyone wants to make sure they’re getting enough protein to both lose weight and support their exercise habits.
As more and more people begin to feel the necessity for supplements that provide vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in addition to their protein, new sources of powders have been brought to market.
So what’s the difference between moringa powder and whey protein? Moringa powder contains fewer calories and less protein than whey protein, but it contains more antioxidants. Moringa powder offers more nutrients, while whey protein offers more protein and essential amino acids.
This article is going to look at the differences between supplementing with moringa powder and whey protein powder. Let’s take a look at what makes each of these supplements unique.
What is Moringa?
Moringa is a tree that’s native to India but can now be found in many different tropical and sub-tropical countries.
It has been used for its medicinal properties by ancient healers throughout the centuries and, in recent years, scientists have been studying it more closely to find out exactly what it’s good for.
Many cultures eat the leaves and pods directly, but in the US you’re more likely to find it in powdered form or in capsules, which is made from the dried leaves of the tree.
It seems like the surface has barely been scratched as to the potential of moringa, but to get started, a 1 tablespoon serving of this powder contains:
- 20 calories
- 0 grams of fat
- Only 4 carbs, of which 2 are fiber
- 2 grams of protein
It also includes about 90% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of iron and almost half of your RDI for vitamin B1 or thiamin. It’s also a great source of vitamins A and calcium.
If you can get your hands on the seeds, which are encased within long pods that look like very large beans, they’re also extremely high in Vitamin C.
Both the leaves and the pods are known to have a lot of antioxidants and can even be used as an all-natural food preservative.
In fact, nearly every part of this tree has been shown to have some health benefits, ranging from reducing inflammation, allergies, and high blood pressure, to protect against bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic infections. Some people even use it to improve sexual performance.
Protein Power of Moringa
As a superfood, moringa definitely has a wide range of qualifications, but as protein powder, it’s nowhere near the best candidate for the job.
There are many claims that it contains twice the protein as yogurt, but at only 2 grams of protein per tablespoon, it can’t compete with other protein powders available on the market.
That being said, it pairs really well with other plant-based, superfood greens that are exceptional sources of protein, so you’ll often find it as an ingredient in plant-based protein powders.
The health benefits should not be ignored and moringa does have a good portion of protein, so if your goal is simply to have a balanced diet, it should definitely be featured in your mix of healthy selections.
What is Whey Protein Powder?
Whey protein has been studied thoroughly and shown in many different ways to be a superior source of protein, especially if your goal is to pack on muscle.
Whey is one of two kinds of protein found in dairy milk, the other being casein. Whey is actually found in the watery part of the dairy, and used to be discarded as a useless by-product during the process of cheese making.
As soon as the protein content was discovered, it became a very lucrative by-product.
Whey doesn’t have great natural flavor, so when it’s packaged as a supplement, it’s usually flavored.
This means there are various additives added to the protein powder that you want to be aware of before consuming, especially if you’re searching for an all-natural product.
Although the nutritional profile will vary depending on brands, a 28-gram serving size will typically have approximately:
- 100 calories
- 1.5 grams of fat
- Only 5 carbs, of which 1 is fiber and 3.5 are sugar
- 20 grams of protein
It can also be a minor source of calcium but doesn’t have a great deal of additional nutrition beyond the protein benefits.
Despite being a dairy product, whey doesn’t usually trigger lactose intolerance, but if you’re highly sensitive, you might want to be careful with this particular protein supplement.
Protein Power of Whey Protein
20 grams of protein in a single serving is a remarkably high source of protein for a supplement, so whey can definitely be considered to pack a powerful punch.
One of the reasons it’s so popular, especially with body-builders, is because it has all the essential amino acids and is absorbed much quicker than many other protein supplements, including its sibling, casein.
Whey protein is particularly high in branch chain amino acids (BCAAs), which have been shown to be especially good at stimulating human growth hormone, one of the hormones responsible for building muscle.
You can find different kinds of whey protein, but the most common are either concentrate or isolate. The concentrate has slightly lower protein, and slightly higher lactose and fat.
Together, this makes for a slightly more enjoyable flavor. On the other hand, the isolate can be found to have up to 90% protein and almost no lactose or fat, but it also has been stripped of most of the other nutrients that make whey healthy.
Final Decision: Moringa vs Whey Protein
If you’re searching for a health supplement that happens to contain protein, moringa powder has a much more potent nutritional profile than whey protein. It’s also completely plant-based, which is great if you’re vegan or lactose intolerant.
However, if you’re looking specifically for a protein supplement, whey protein is one of the best options available. It is easily accessible, quickly absorbed and really high in protein.
The one thing you really want to look out for, however, is quality. Additives and flavorings are common in whey protein powders and they can be counterproductive to any overall health goals you might have.
The middle ground solution would be to find a plant-based protein powder that features moringa for its nutritional benefits, but also includes additional, higher protein, sources in the blend.
Alternative Plant-Based Protein Powders
If you’re not sold on a protein powder that is made from an animal product, but not completely blown away by the benefits of moringa as protein powder, there are other plant-based options for you.
In fact, there are many that feature moringa in their ingredients list, but don’t rely on it exclusively for protein power.
Some of the most popular plant-based protein powders include one or more of the following high protein ingredients:
- Pea protein
- Brown rice protein
- Soy protein
- Seed proteins, including flax, quinoa, and chia
- Vegetable blends, usually including broccoli, spinach, alfalfa, potato
- Chlorella and/or spirulina
Plant-based proteins often use natural flavors and preservatives rather than synthetic chemicals, which makes them generally taste a lot more delicious than whey protein powders and have fewer potential side effects.
Choosing organic products is always best if it fits into your budget, but when it comes to plant-based protein powders it’s especially important if your choice is soy-based.
Soy is one of the most genetically engineered products on earth and has been shown to have major side effects. Choosing organic soy ensures your protein won’t be GMO.
What happens if you eat too much protein?
High protein diets, usually in the form of protein powders and bars, are very popular with folks who are trying to lose weight, but as with most things in life, too much of a good thing can still be bad.
Protein has calories just like any other food, so if you’re eating too much, even if it’s all protein, your body will store the excess as fat.
Quality also makes a difference, and if you’re eating primarily red-meat, especially if that meat is not organic and pasture-raised and finished, you will be increasing your risk for diseases like cancer and heart disease.
Eating too much protein can also lead to digestive issues, due to lack of fiber, and potentially bad breath as well.
Do protein shakes help you lose belly fat?
There are no miracle belly fat cures, unfortunately, but protein shakes can be a part of a successful weight loss program that includes reducing your belly fat. Protein can help you feel satiated and full, making it easier for you to eat fewer calories.
It has also been shown to have a positive effect on your metabolism and, when paired with an exercise program, will help you lose weight while still maintaining your muscle, which means burning more fat instead.
What vegetables have more protein than meat?
It’s hard to answer this definitively because meat itself is a pretty broad category with various levels of protein. We’ll simply tell you which vegetables have the most protein per serving.
Soy and soy products like tofu, tempeh, and edamame have more than 30 grams of protein per cup, which blows most meat products out of the water. Legumes are also high on the list, with black beans and lentils having 15 – 18 grams of protein per 1 cup serving.