BCAA vs. Whey Protein – Which One Wins? Debate Ends HERE!

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If you’re looking to build muscle but aren’t ready to spend on a host of supplements then you’re probably wondering which to choose in a battle between BCAA vs whey protein.

The simple fact is, both can be used to build muscle.

However, they are two very different products; you need to understand how they work before you can make your decision.

Fortunately, that’s what I’m here for!

Not only will I share with you which of these supplements is better, but I’ll also take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each one; alongside helping you to understand exactly how they boost your muscle growth.

You may be surprised, but you’ll definitely be enlightened.

Whey protein shake in a glass

Know The Facts: The Difference Between BCAA & Whey Protein

At first glance, it appears BCAA is great for giving you a healthy boost of energy, while whey protein is the ideal solution for repairing your muscles. Yes, creatine is also worth considering.

In fact, you’ll find this article regarding creatine vs whey protein very interesting.

But, there’s more to these two supplements; it’s time to find out the difference between BCAA and whey protein.

Let’s Take A Look At What BCAA Is

Protein is in every cell of your body and it is essential. It’s responsible for:

  • Building and repairing muscle and all other types of tissue
  • The creation of enzymes
  • A vital ingredient in many hormones and other chemical compounds in your body
  • Fundamental to healthy skin, bones, blood, and cartilage

Quick fact: Protein is made up of amino acid. There are 20 that you need, 9 of which are considered essential and which aren’t produced by the body naturally.

You need to get these through the food you eat, or a supplement.

BCAA is an acronym for Branch Chain Amino Acids, this supplement will contain I-leucine, 6-valine, and I-isoleucine; these are 3 of the essential amino acids that your body needs.

The reason it’s so important to building muscle and burning fat is that these are the only three essential amino acids which can be broken down by muscle, the rest is broken down in the liver.

BCAA’s are available in either a powder form (dissolved in water) or as a pill; which you take with water.

The essential amino acids they supply will help your muscles to have the energy they need while working out. This is why it’s a good idea to consume it shortly before a workout.

Advantages of BCAAs

  • Can be used all day.
  • Contains no fat or carbohydrates.
  • Encourages fat burn, instead of muscle burn.
  • Can reduce DOMS (Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness).
  • An essential part of muscle synthesis (repair and growth).
  • Will help you to work out for longer as BCAAs lower your serotonin levels.

Disadvantages of BCAAs

  • More research needed.
  • Will cost more than whey protein.
  • BCAAs stimulate insulin production which allows glucose in your blood to be used for energy. Sometimes the insulin productivity can be too much causing low blood sugar levels.
  • In some cases, this supplement can actually cause fatigue and/or coordination.

whey protein pre-workout shakes

What Is Whey Protein?

Let’s get one thing straight, whey protein contains all 9 essential amino acids that your body needs but can’t produce itself.

Whey protein is actually a powdered form of the liquid that is created as a by-product of cheese production.

Originally it was merely seen as a waste product, now, it is a supplement used by millions of people around the world.

You should know there are 3 types of whey protein:

  • Isolate – The process used to create isolate removes most, if not all, of the carbohydrates. This makes it suitable for most people with lactose intolerance. It’s also very easily absorbed into your body.
  • Hydrolysate – By breaking down the peptides in whey you’ll end up with hydrolysate; which means it will be absorbed into your body faster than any other type of whey. This can result in a bitter taste.
  • Concentrate – This is the concentrated version of whey protein which will have the maximum amount of protein and nutrients per gram.

Advantages of Whey Protein

  • Builds muscle.
  • Burns fat.
  • Improves Recovery times.
  • Reduces muscle fatigue.
  • Helps you feel full.
  • Whey protein is absorbed very quickly by your body.
  • Supports your immune system.

Disadvantages of Whey Protein

  • Poor quality whey protein is likely to give you excess gas.
  • Best consumed within 30 minutes of a workout or the effects will be reduced.
  • When processed with heat the protein can be denatured, (no longer good for you).
  • Can contain an array of sweeteners and other additives. It will increase your calorie consumption.
  • No good for lactose intolerant people, unless you get pure whey isolate.

Is It Possible To Take BCAA & Whey Protein Together?

Whey protein powder in scoop

Yes!

But, more importantly, do you need to?

Whey protein has all the essential amino acids you need, in many senses, this makes BCAA supplements redundant.

However, BCAAs are absorbed much faster than whey protein. This makes it a great supplement to consume before and while you’re exercising, giving you an instant energy boost.

After a workout, you need to replace carbs, as well as boost your protein intake to aid muscle repair.

That’s why whey protein is the better option post workout.

BCAA vs Whey Protein: Which One Should You Choose?

If you can’t or don’t want to spend out on two supplements then you’ll want to know whether to choose BCAA or whey protein.

If you’re looking to lose weight then BCAAs have no fat or carbohydrates, (although they do have calories).

They are also very effective at preventing your body from storing fat while giving you the energy to build muscle. This makes them a great option for weight loss, although perhaps not so effective if you’re looking to bulk up.

On the other hand, whey protein is known to help you feel full throughout the day. It also provides you with the protein you need to maintain muscle growth and help you to burn fat.

So they both do the same job?

Not quite, whey protein contains BCAAs. Unless you’re unable to use whey protein then purchasing just whey is the cheaper and better option.

The only real reason when whey protein will not be an option is if you are intolerant to it, or you are looking to compete in a bodybuilding competition; when you’ll be looking to cut all fats from your diet.

Final Thoughts

BCAA vs whey protein; both have their place in your fitness regime. But, if you’re hoping to lose weight while building muscle then whey protein is the clear winner.

Whey protein, alongside a balanced diet, is a very effective dietary supplement.

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