Is Whey Protein Vegetarian?

Is Whey Protein Vegetarian?

Did you know that reducing meat consumption can lower your risk of cancer and heart disease? This is just one reason that more people are going vegetarian. Even if you’re vegetarian for ethical reasons, it can really help your long-term health.

But eliminating meat can be a double-edged sword. Eliminating meat means eliminating the biggest source of protein in your diet.

Protein supplements can be a mixed bag. Some are healthy, others less so, and some aren’t even vegetarian! If you’re trying to replace meat with a supplement, you might be wondering, “Is whey protein vegetarian?”

Read on to learn is whey protein vegetarian and everything you need to know about choosing the right protein supplementation!

Why Use a Protein Supplement

Not only can going vegetarian extend your lifespan but it can also help save the environment and promote ethical treatment of animals. It all sounds great on paper, but protein is one of the basic building blocks for your body. What happens when you get rid of meat?

It’s recommended that an adult consumes 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of weight. This is an achievable goal if you eat a balanced diet of whole grains, seeds, nuts, and dairy. But, that’s easier said than done.

You have to be thinking about protein almost all the time to meet your needs. This is especially true if you exercise because you’ll need more protein to sustain your muscle recovery.

Consequences of Protein Deficiency

Your body is almost entirely made up of protein. Your skin, hair, blood, muscles, and bones are all made up of protein. If you don’t have enough protein, you’ll be missing out on the building blocks of your body.

Protein deficiency can cause skin degeneration, wrinkles, quicker aging, stunted growth in children and teens, increased risk of bone fracture, slow muscle recovery, hair loss, fatty liver, and swelling. In addition, it can slow healing, and increase the duration of infections and illness.

Protein also keeps you full, so reducing your protein intake can make you feel hungrier. This can result in overeating and weight gain.

While vegetarians are unlikely to reach severe protein deficiency with a balanced diet, even mild deficiency can still have consequences over time. A regular protein supplement can help keep your body on track while allowing you to experience all the benefits of a vegetarian diet.


Whey protein is one of the most popular protein supplements because it’s very affordable and comes in a lot of forms. It’s in protein bars, shakes, powders, and more. In addition, there are tons of flavors and it’s a very safe and effective supplement for athletes.

When milk is made into cheese, it produces curds and whey. Whey is, therefore, a milk bi-product and accounts for 20% of the protein in milk. The whey can then be processed to eliminate water, lactose, and fat to leave the protein-rich remains.

There are three kinds of whey:

  • Whey concentrate
  • Whey isolate
  • Whey hydrolysate

Whey concentrate is the least processed kind of whey. It’s what’s left immediately after the first round of processing.

Isolate and hydrolysate are further refined to be more concentrated. Because they are more refined, they have smaller chains of amino acids which can be more easily absorbed and digested.

This means that most vegetarians can also use whey protein. Vegetarians avoid meat that comes directly from animals, and while whey can be considered an animal product, it isn’t meat. So is whey protein vegetarian?  You could classify it as a dairy product, which means that it’s not vegan, but it is vegetarian.


If you’re vegan or want to avoid dairy, it’s clear that whey protein isn’t the right fit for you. In addition, whey protein can be difficult to digest.

Plant-based protein is the vegan alternative to whey. It can also be incredibly helpful for vegetarians too.

Depending on the brand, plant-based protein can contain a mixture of legumes such as beans, peas, peanuts, and lentils. It might also contain brown rice, whole grain, adaptogenic mushrooms, and leafy green superfoods.

Not only is vegan protein powder a great source of protein, but it also includes more nutrients like omega-3s to support your health and fitness.


Both whey and plant-based protein powders are vegetarian and deliver the same amount of protein. Studies have shown they are both equally effective at building muscles.

The differences are in the minutia. Whey protein is much more processed and is a dairy product. This can make it difficult to stomach for some people, especially if you are lactose intolerant.

Plant protein has the same amount of protein, but it comes from a more holistic source. It’s more easily absorbed and comes with a wealth of nutrients, vitamins, and superfoods. This makes it a more complete and well-rounded addition to your diet.


In this article, we’ve answered the question, “Is whey protein vegetarian?” and we’ve outlined the differences between whey and plant-based protein supplementation. Armed with this knowledge, you should be able to pick the right supplement for your lifestyle.

While whey protein is vegetarian, it isn’t the most complete supplement and it lacks the major nutrients in a vegan plant powder.

Our products offer a complete array of minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and protein. Give them a try for yourself and experience the difference. We’re sure you’ll become a convert to plant-based nutrition!

In addition, plant protein powders are often formulated specifically for vegans and vegetarians, which makes them a targeted supplement for a meat-free diet.