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Both whey protein and egg protein are VERY high-quality protein sources. However, depending on how you plan on consuming them and your specific nutrition goals, you may decide to use one over the other. As a nutritionist, I’ve broken down six key differences to consider. (If you still have a question, reach out).
- Whey is derived from dairy, whereas egg protein comes from egg whites dried into powder. Both are complete proteins (having all 9 essential amino acids) with the same amount of leucine, which is necessary for protein synthesis. Both are effective post-workout options.
- Egg protein is best for those who are lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy or sensitivity. It is also a better choice for baking as the main protein in egg whites (ovalbumin) solidifies batters and liquids, resulting in a stable structure.
- Whey protein is best for anyone without dairy intolerance or those sensitive to taste since whey comes in various flavors and has great mixability. It is also slightly more affordable than egg protein ($1.34 vs $2.00/serving, on average).
At A Glance: Comparing Whey vs Egg Protein
Zero carbs, fat fiber, sugar
& More sodium
More fat, carbs
Zero fiber, sugar
& Less sodium
|Amino Acid Profile
|- Complete protein
|- Complete protein
- Has a higher dose of essential (and non-essential) amino acids
|Best-tasting products on the market
|Mild and somewhat neutral taste
|Mix well and generally don’t form clumps.
|Mixes well with liquids but can create a frothy texture, especially if you shake it.
|Environmentally friendly with a low carbon footprint.
What Is Whey Protein?
Whey protein, one of the most popular types of protein powders on the market, is made from dairy. Whey is the liquid that remains after cheese production.
Once collected, the liquid is condensed, purified, and dried into protein powder.
Whey gets a lot of praise and recognition for being a high-quality and easily digestible type of protein. It’s rich in leucine, arguably the most important amino acid the body needs for muscle protein synthesis (a precursor for muscle growth).
There are two types of whey:
- Concentrate: the more affordable and less processed variety, consisting of approximately 80% protein.
- Isolate: the more expensive and refined product, composed of 90+% protein.
Concentrate has slightly more sugars, such as lactose, and the protein per 30-gram scoop is around 22-24 grams. Isolate has fewer sugars, and the protein per scoop is approximately 27 grams.
Related: Whey Isolate vs Concentrate – Learn The Differences
What Is Egg Protein?
Egg protein powder is made from egg whites, which means it has almost no fat and less than a gram of carbohydrates per dose (30-gram serving).
Like dairy and meat, eggs are a complete protein, meaning they have all nine essential amino acids the body needs to acquire from food.
Eggs also have one of the highest biological values of 100.
“The biological value provides a measurement of how efficient the body utilizes protein consumed in the diet.”– Journal of Sports Science Medicine.
For reference, whey scores 104 and eggs score 100, both high compared with other sources, such as beef protein, scoring 84.
The protein dose per 30-gram scoop of egg protein ranges from 24 to 26 grams, depending on the brand.
6 Differences Between Whey vs Egg Protein
To help you decide which protein is best, I’ve highlighted six critical differences between the two proteins.
1. Nutritional Information
The following table compares the nutritional information of whey protein isolate and egg protein powders:
|Nutritional Info (100 grams)
|Whey Protein Isolate
|Egg White Protein
|90.9 grams (99% of calories)
|80 grams (88% of calories)
The first notable difference is that whey isolate has more protein, with 99% of its calories from the nutrient. Egg protein trails closely behind, with 88% of its calories from protein.
Egg protein has more carbs and fat than whey isolate, though both of these proteins are low in carbs and fats compared to whey concentrates and plant-based proteins.
In terms of micronutrients, both types of protein provide mainly the same, apart from iron, which is absent in egg protein.
Egg and whey are proteins that come from animal sources. Egg protein is from egg whites, whereas whey is from dairy milk.
To make egg protein, the egg whites are first separated from the yolk before being pasteurized to remove potential pathogens; then, the egg whites are dried to create a fine white powder.
Egg protein is not suitable for those with egg allergies or sensitivities.
Whey protein comes from dairy, specifically, the liquid that remains after cheese production. The liquid is pasteurized and then dried into a powder using various processes.
Whey can be subject to multiple processes, depending on the desired outcome. For instance, if the goal is to create a whey isolate, the whey undergoes extensive processing to remove the carbs and fats, leaving almost nothing but pure protein.
Those with lactose intolerance may tolerate whey isolate (but not concentrate) due to the extensive processing. Still, if symptoms arise, switching to egg protein or another complete protein is best.
3. Amino Acid Profile
Another difference between egg and whey proteins is their amino acid profiles.
|Isoleucine (*branched chain amino acid)
|Leucine (*branched chain amino acid)
|Valine (*branched chain amino acid)
First, both types of protein are high in the branched-chain amino acids isoleucine, leucine, and valine, which are known to increase muscle growth, reduce muscle breakdown, and decrease muscle soreness.
However, egg protein has slightly more isoleucine and significantly more valine (an amino acid involved in metabolic functions, muscle repair, and growth).
Second, both contain adequate amounts of all essential amino acids (those the body cannot synthesize on its own and needs to get through food), which means both are ‘complete’ proteins.
All in all, both types of protein have a high-quality amino acid profile that encourages muscle growth and retention. Any differences are minor. So, there is no need to nit-pick the individual amino acids if they both are “complete proteins.”
4. Mixability and Taste
- Taste: Egg protein has a mild and somewhat neutral taste, which some people describe as ‘egg-like,’ which isn’t so appealing; however, flavorings do an excellent job of masking the taste.
Here is what people have to say:
“Egg Protein is disgusting. How do you make it palatable?”– Reddit User
“It definitely tastes like eggs, which some folks might find a little too eggy for their liking.”– Quora User.
- Mixability: Egg protein mixes well with liquids but can create a frothy texture, especially if you shake it. Mixability can vary from brand to brand, but egg protein generally mixes well and doesn’t form into clumps.
- Taste: Whey protein is one of the best-tasting products on the market, as there are numerous flavors to pick from.
Here are what whey users have to say:
“I just got Transparent Labs Whey Isolate in Vanilla PB flavor. GREAT FREAKING TASTE!! Pricey, though.”– Reddit User
“This cake pop flavor is delicious. I like to use this in place of vanilla protein powder when my recipes call for protein powder. It’s so creamy and tastes just like cake!” –Amazon Reviewer.
- Mixability: Most whey proteins (besides a few cheaper ones) mix well and generally don’t form clumps. High-quality whey products dissolve in liquids, producing smooth protein shakes and smoothies.
The average cost per serving of whey protein is $1.34. We’ve calculated the cost by looking at the various brands of whey proteins that we’ve reviewed.
The best quality whey proteins cost $1.80 to $2 per serving.
The average cost per serving of egg protein is just under $2. We’ve calculated this by looking at the most popular egg proteins available.
Some can be as cheap as $1.50 per serving, whereas high-end ones cost $2 to $2.50 per scoop.
Therefore, egg protein is slightly more expensive than whey protein.
6. Environmental Impact
Eggs are one of the most environmentally friendly animal-based foods to produce.
Eggs have a lower carbon emission than other animal products, largely thanks to the efficiency with which hens convert feed to eggs.
According to this report, 2.2 kilograms of carbon dioxide is produced per dozen eggs if each weighs 60 grams (720 grams total).
For comparison, a kilogram of beef (which has the highest carbon footprint of all animal products) is the equivalent of 155 kilograms of carbon dioxide. Pork, another popular animal product, is estimated to produce 24.4 kilograms of carbon dioxide per kilogram.
Next up, we have whey, which, contrary to popular belief, is also environmentally friendly, though perhaps less than eggs.
This is because whey is a byproduct of the cheese production process, and without turning whey into whey protein powder, it can be a significant environmental pollutant.
Here’s what one paper suggests:
“..whey is considered the most important environmental pollutant of the dairy industry because a large amount of whey is disposed of as wastewater and is associated with serious environmental hazards.”
Additionally, the authors note that it’s important to manage whey more effectively and find new and sustainable ways to use it rather than throwing it out as waste.
Put simply, it’s far better to use whey to produce protein powders and other supplements for the consumer than to dispose of it as a waste product.
How To Pick Between Whey vs Egg Protein
To decide which protein is best for you, consider the following factors:
Dietary Restrictions & Lifestyle
Whey and egg protein will be good options for people eating a balanced diet without food restrictions (veganism or vegetarianism), as both come from animals.
Egg protein would be better for people who don’t tolerate whey and experience bloating, gas, or nausea. Whey protein is better for those with egg allergies or sensitivities.
Eggs are the better option for those conscious of their environmental impact due to their lower carbon footprint.
However, whey products can also be a good option, especially considering disposal of this liquid substance following cheese production is a significant source of pollution.
How You Plan To Mix Protein
Egg protein and whey have similar textures and mix well in water and milk.
That said, egg protein is prone to foaming up when shaken or blended, and it might take some time for the mixture to settle before you can drink it.
In contrast, whey doesn’t foam up as much, even when shaken vigorously. Instead, it forms a creamy and pleasant texture, especially when mixed with milk. For this reason, whey protein is better for shakes and smoothies.
Egg protein could be better for baking because it stabilizes liquid foam, resulting in a stable, solid structure during baking.
If Your Goal Is Weight Loss
Whey protein isolate and egg white proteins are beneficial for weight loss as they are low in calories but high in protein.
However, whey protein isolate is slightly better than egg protein for those who struggle to reach their protein target without exceeding their carb and fat targets.
If Your Goal Is Overall Health
For overall health, I recommend picking the type of protein that feels best on your digestive system, is pleasant to consume, and is convenient to get.
Both types of products have similar nutritional values, and you’re unlikely to get more health benefits out of one or the other.
Whey Protein Recommendations
Transparent Labs Grass Fed Whey Protein
Transparent Labs Grass Fed Whey Protein is our top pick for several reasons.
First, it tastes great, mixes well with liquids and in recipes, has a smooth texture, and contains 93% protein (the highest of any other protein we’ve reviewed).
Second, as the company’s name suggests, this company values transparency. The nutritional label shows all the ingredients and their respective quantities.
Third, the product is third-party tested and certified to ensure it matches the nutrition label, indicating no harmful compounds or additives exist.
Plus, the company provides lab certificates for each specific batch and tub, further fostering trust.
Egg Protein Recommendations
My pick in this category is the Egg White Protein by Bulk Supplements.
This product provides 24 grams of protein and only 110 calories per scoop, meaning it is approximately 87% protein and a high-quality protein powder.
This product is unflavored, making it ideal for cooking or baking recipes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are There Any Potential Allergens In Egg or Whey Protein?
Egg and whey proteins contain potential allergens.
Egg whites have five major allergenic compounds, which makes egg protein unsuitable for people with an allergy.
Similarly, whey protein contains lactose, which could lead to digestive distress in people with an intolerance.
Which Tastes Better: Egg or Whey?
While subjective, whey protein tastes better, with its mild flavor and creamy texture.
There are also more flavors available.
Can I Use Egg & Whey Protein Powders Interchangeably in Recipes?
For the most part, yes.
However, egg protein can foam when shaken, and whey protein might not be ideal for baking recipes.
For these reasons, look for recipes that list the type of protein you have.
Can I Get All My Protein From Egg or Whey?
You can, but I don’t recommend it because your diet should be diverse enough to give you the nutrients your body needs to function optimally.
While it is theoretically possible to get all your protein from eggs or whey, the approach is unsustainable because you will get sick of eating the same thing all the time.
Other Whey Protein Comparisons
- Grass Fed vs Regular Whey
- Whey Protein vs Plant Protein
- Whey Protein vs Pea Protein
- Whey Protein vs Hemp Protein
- Collagen vs Whey Protein
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About The Author
Philip Stefanov is a certified conditioning coach, personal trainer, and fitness instructor. With more than nine years of experience in the industry, he’s helped hundreds of clients improve their nutritional habits, become more consistent with exercise, lose weight in a sustainable way, and build muscle through strength training. He is passionate about writing and has published more than 500 articles on various topics related to healthy nutrition, dieting, calorie and macronutrient tracking, meal planning, fitness and health supplementation, best training practices, and muscle recovery.
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