Whey Protein vs Beef Protein Powder

By Xwerks Nutrition

For a lot of us, beef is a large part of our diet, it's packed full of protein, healthy fats, vitamins and gets you all #gainzy. In recent years, beef protein powder has gained popularity with the rise of the Paleo Diet. It seems it would only make sense to turn it into a protein powder so we can get all that nutrition in a convenient shake. 

Sounds great right? Powdered beef loaded with protein! 

What you think you're getting

The Truth

The primary ingredients where beef protein powder is sourced from is gelatin. What is gelatin? - Cattle bones, hooves, ligaments, hides, ears, and other byproducts from the beef and leather industries . All these parts are treated with heat and prepared by different curing, acid, and alkali processes which are employed to extract the dried collagen hydrolysate - according the Wikipedia article on Gelatin.

Where beef protein powder is really from

Even Worse

While the source of beef protein isolate is quite disgusting, what's worse is the lack of nutrition, specifically amino acids (the building blocks of protein), found in beef protein powder:

Highlighted are essential amino acids, these are amino acids your body can not produce and can only be acquired from food. These amino acids are critical for muscle development and repair, immune system strength, nervous system health and more. 

Another critical factor is bioavailability. Bioavailability is a scale used to rate the amount of protein our body can absorb, the higher the number the better. 

Below is a list of common proteins and their bioavailability:

Protein Source Bio-Availability Index
Whey Protein Isolate Blends 100-159
Whey Concentrate 104
Whole Egg 100
Cow's Milk 91
Egg White 88
Fish 83
Beef 80
Chicken 79
Casein 77
Rice 74
Soy 59
Wheat 54
Beans 49
Peanuts 43

 

Whey protein isolate has the highest bioavailability of any protein source. This basically means you are actually absorbing all, or close to all, the protein you are consuming. 

Final Thoughts

As of now, you have no way of knowing exactly what 'parts' of a cow you are consuming when you have a beef protein shake. These shakes also lack amino acids and the bioavailability to make it a practical protein supplement.

Quite frankly, there is no substitute for whey protein when supplementing with a protein powder.