Is Whey Protein Vegan and Vegetarian Friendly?
(Photo: Adobe Stock)
Human Window Staff
By Human Window Staff
Updated on May 03, 2019

If you’ve landed on this page by searching to find out whether Whey Protein powder is suitable for Vegans or Vegetarians, then you probably already know all about this supplement.

In this article, we’re going to take a detailed look at Whey Protein and whether it is Vegan and Vegetarian friendly.

But if you’re in a hurry, here is quick answer to both of the questions:

Whey Protein is not Vegan Friendly, because it is made from Milk. However, pure Whey Protein is suitable for Vegetarians.

Whey Protein is not Vegan Friendly because it’s made from Cow’s Milk and therefore contains an animal product.

However, Pure Whey Protein is 100 per cent Vegetarian, as it only comes from Cow’s Milk. That being said, not all Protein supplements are suitable for Vegetarians. We’ll explain more about that below.

We’re going to break this article up into the following sections:

• What is Whey Protein Powder?
• Is Whey Protein Vegan Friendly?
• Is Whey Protein Vegetarian Friendly?
• Anything Else To Consider?
• Wrapping Things Up – Our Final Thoughts

So, with the introductions out of the way, let’s start taking a closer look at Whey Protein and whether it is suitable for Vegans or Vegetarians or not.

What is Whey Protein Powder?

Let’s start with the basics, in case you’re not totally sure about Whey Protein and where it comes from.

Protein supplements are incredibly popular – and for good reason.

In case you didn’t know, Protein contributes to the growth and maintenance of muscle mass. Therefore, making sure that you have enough of it in your diet is vitally important if you’re looking to build muscle.

Essentially, Protein is seen as the ‘building blocks’ of muscle, and it is needed by the body for creating new muscle (a process known as protein synthesis).

Protein supplements are probably the most popular form of gym supplement for people hitting the gym and looking to build and maintain muscle.

They provide a convenient and often great-tasting way to up your protein intake to support your body goals.

Whey protein is a mixture of proteins isolated from Whey, which is the liquid part of Cow’s Milk that separates during Cheese production.

After being separated during Cheese production, Whey goes through a number of processing steps to become what is commonly referred to as Whey Protein or Whey Protein powder.

Plant based protein vs Whey
(Photo: Adobe Stock)

This powder is then added to Protein Shakes, Meal Replacement Shakes and other products such as Protein Bars.

Most people choose to take protein supplements after hitting the gym to help with muscle growth and recovery after a heavy training session.

That being said, some people also take them at other times during the day, as they are a good way to top up your overall protein intake.

So, the bottom line here is that Whey Protein is a type of supplement that is made from Cow’s Milk.

It’s a heavily processed form of protein and it is used by many gym goers and athletes to help build and maintain muscle.

Is Whey Protein Vegan Friendly?

So, is Whey Protein Vegan Friendly? The short answer is no.

As you know, Vegan diets do not contain animal products of any source, and that includes things such as Cow’s Milk.

As we have already mentioned above, Whey Protein is made form the liquid part of Cow’s Milk that separates during Cheese production.

Because it comes from Cow’s Milk, Whey Protein is NOT suitable for Vegans.

However, fortunately, there are a lot of other alternative protein supplements which are suitable for Vegans.

And they have become a lot more popular in recent years as more people choose to switch to Vegan diets.

They include protein powders that are made from plant-based sources such as soy, hemp, pea, rice, and peanut.

Vegan protein powders are typically a little bit more expensive than Whey protein powders, and they also usually contain a little less protein per serving.

Many people choose to use Vegan Protein powders because they may be easier to digest for some.

For example, if you are lactose intolerant, a Vegan Protein powder may be a better option for you because it will likely not contain Lactose (which is a milk sugar only found in the milk of mammals).

You can read more about the difference between Plant Based Protein and Whey Protein in our separate article.

To summarize, Whey Protein is not suitable for Vegans. However, there are a lot of other plant-based protein supplement alternatives out there, such as soy, hemp, pea and rice.

So, with the Vegan base covered, let’s now move on and take a close look at whether Whey Protein is suitable for Vegetarians or not.

Protein Supplement
(Photo: Adobe Stock)

Is Whey Protein Vegetarian Friendly?

So, you may now be wondering whether Whey Protein is Vegetarian Friendly or not. The short answer is yes.

On it’s own, Whey is a 100 per cent vegetarian source as it comes only from Cow’s Milk. Therefore, Whey Protein by default is Vegetarian Friendly.

That being said, there are a couple of things to look out for if you are a vegetarian when it comes to protein supplements.

Many Whey Protein supplements have a lot of other ingredients added to them. For the most part, they will be things such as Vitamins and Minerals, and are likely to be Vegetarian friendly.

But some manufacturers may also add ingredients that are not suitable for Vegetarians. So, the only way to be truly 100 per cent sure if your protein supplement is suitable for Vegetarians or not is to carefully check the ingredients label.

Generally speaking, most Whey Protein Powder supplements are advertised as being Vegetarian Friendly, but you should check the label of the supplement to be 100 per cent sure.

To summarize, pure Whey Protein is suitable for Vegetarians because it only comes from Cow’s Milk. That being said, some supplements have other ingredients added which are not Vegetarian friendly. Check the label of the supplement to be sure.

Anything Else To Consider?

Supplements can be a great way to boost your overall protein intake to help with muscle maintenance and growth.

However, as we always like to remind our readers, there is no substitute for a good diet and training regime.

You should always make sure that you’re training hard, eating right and getting plenty of rest before thinking about taking any new supplements for the first time.

Yes, supplements such as Whey Protein can help to support your goals, but they cannot do the hard work for you.

It is much more important to get the basics right first before thinking about taking any Protein supplements – or any other supplements for that matter.

We also strongly recommend that you speak to a certified medical professional before taking any new supplements for the first time.

Wrapping Things Up – Our Final Thoughts

So, that brings us to the end of our look at Whey Protein and whether it is Vegan and Vegetarian friendly.

To summarize, Whey Protein is not Vegan Friendly, but is suitable for Vegetarians.

However, there are some instances when Whey Protein may not be suitable for Vegetarians either. This is usually when the supplement manufacturer chooses to add in other ingredients that are not Vegetarian friendly.

When it comes to your own Whey Protein supplement, the only way to be 100 per cent sure about whether it is Vegetarian friendly or not is to carefully check the ingredients label.