Skip to content


Beef Protein vs Whey: Which Builds More Muscle?

Beef Protein vs Whey: Which Builds More Muscle?

Written By:
Expert Review By: Brandon Davies&

This Guide Provides Information On:

  • How beef and whey protein aid muscle building
  • The unique characteristics, benefits, and drawbacks of beef and whey protein
  • How to integrate beef and whey protein into your daily diet
  • Various research studies on how beef and whey protein support muscle building

With everyone in the fitness and sports industries looking to maximize the effectiveness of workouts, supplements such as beef and whey protein powders have become popular. Every supplement company tries to outclass its counterparts by providing high-quality protein powders for muscle building. When you walk into the gym and see a ripped bodybuilder using a particular supplement, won’t you be motivated to try it? Or better still, even if you are an expert in supplements, you would want to know which product is that effective to build more muscle. here shares the actual comparison between beef protein and whey protein to help you find the best protein supplement for muscle building.

Whey protein has faster absorption and a relatively higher-level amino acid profile rich in all the essential nutrients. However, the amino acids obtained from beef protein last longer in your bloodstream and are also better (if not equally good as whey) in muscle building. The point of comparison is post-workout. So, how does beef protein compare with whey? 

Defining Beef Protein

The two main ingredients in beef protein are hydrolyzed gelatin and beef protein isolate. Basically, the two ingredients are similar to collagen. You must understand that there are different procedures for making beef protein powders; the products are all different. So, if you see a significant price variation between two products, there is a reason why one is more expensive than the other. 

For example, the amino acids in high-quality beef protein powders resemble those found in real beef. Unlike cheap beef protein powders, high-quality beef protein powder does not contain spare beef products like ears, hides, ligaments, and hooves. Generally, the unwanted beef products are richer in collagen but have less protein content. 

An Overview of Whey Protein

Whey protein is prevalent among resistance training people. It is obtained by adding an acid like lemon to milk to form curds. The liquid that remains after you remove the curds contains whey protein which is highly nutritional due to its superior amino acids profile. The excellent amino acids profile and the high absorption rate make it a popular supplement among sportspersons. The rush of amino acids they get after an intense  workout boosts muscle protein synthesis, thus reducing muscle soreness.

Comparison of Beef Protein And Whey Protein For Muscle Building

Comparing the two protein powders shows that beef and whey protein has unique characteristics, advantages, and drawbacks. In this section, we analyze how beef and whey protein compare in terms of protein quality, amino acid profile & absorption, and availability & cost. 

Protein Quality

At this point, we all know that protein powders are excellent protein sources and are also popular for building muscle mass. The significant difference is, to what degree do the different protein sources (beef and whey protein) affect anabolism? The difference between beef and whey protein's quality is based on their origin. Whey is obtained from milk, and qualifying it as a bad and unreliable source is difficult. On the other hand, beef protein is derived from animal parts which sometimes can be poor quality meat sources.

Amino Acid Profile And Bioavailability

The amino acid profile of a protein powder supplement is the ultimate determinant of its effectiveness, especially the leucine composition. Leucine is responsible for stimulating muscle protein synthesis, thus making it a vital amino acid. So this means that even if you consume tonnes of protein but less leucine content, there won’t be much muscle mass gain. 

Whey protein has almost thrice the leucine content found in beef protein. This means that if you have to chose a more effective protein powder between the two in terms of muscle repair and growth, it would be whey protein.

Another drawback of beef protein is its bioavailability (protein absorption rate) is lower than whey protein. For instance, whey protein has a digestibility score of 1 compared to the 0.30 (average of gelatin (0) and collagen (0.92)) of beef protein. This means that when you consume beef protein powder, it takes longer before it is absorbed.

Cost and Availability

Price may not be the ultimate factor determining the type of protein powder you purchase, but it says a lot about its quality. Beef protein powders are relatively cheaper (especially the ones made from unwanted animal parts) compared to whey protein. As much as whey protein powders are easily accessible, you can also obtain beef protein from whole foods like meat. 

Research on Beef Protein And Whey Protein For Muscle Building

Unlike whey, beef protein is relatively new in the supplement industry; thus, there is limited research on its effectiveness in muscle building. Beef protein can be a good collagen source that supports tendon repair. However, whey protein is richer in the branched-chain amino acids (leucine) that promote muscle protein synthesis.

Several research studies suggest that whey protein highly integrates with your regular diet to maximize muscle mass building, especially if you participate in resistance training. The study further indicates that whey protein’s high bioavailability, amino acid profile, and digestibility make it superior to other protein sources. 

However, other experts suggest that meat (the parent source of beef protein) is a healthy protein source rich in all vital amino acid nutrients. A scientific study, in particular, suggests that athletes can significantly benefit from meat consumption since it provides the proteins required to build and maintain muscle mass.

How to Incorporate Beef Protein And Whey Protein Into a Muscle-Building Diet

You can try incorporating protein powders into your diet by:

  • Integrating beef or whey protein powder supplements into your daily meals.
  • Combining beef and other protein sources like whey to optimize muscle mass building.
  • You can try various cooking methods and ingredients for beef protein to find the perfect fit.
  • Experimenting with different whey protein flavors and brands to gauge their effectiveness.

Potential Side Effects And Considerations

Some studies suggest that too much meat (the primary source of beef protein) may cause health complications such as cancers, digestive issues, heart disease, and kidney problems.

On the other hand, scientific study shows that whey protein is generally safe for consumption as long as you don’t exceed the recommended servings. The study further suggests that you may experience side effects such as acne, bowel movements, bloating, and nausea.

The takeaway from the potential side effects is that unless you have any sensitivities, you should be fine if you consume beef and whey protein appropriately.


The common ground between all protein powders is that they all support muscle growth. However, the variance lies in their amino acid profiles and the extent to which they stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Nonetheless, you should find a protein powder supplement that works best for you, and if you experience any allergies, discontinue the usage and consult a healthcare professional.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I use beef and whey protein for muscle building?

    Yes, you can use both beef and whey protein for muscle building, as they are both high-quality sources of protein with essential amino acids that support muscle growth and recovery. Combining these two types of protein can offer several benefits:

    1. Diversify amino acid profile: While both beef and whey protein contain all the essential amino acids required for muscle building, their amino acid profiles are slightly different. Combining the two proteins ensures a more diverse and balanced intake of amino acids, which may enhance muscle protein synthesis and growth.
    2. Different absorption rates: Whey protein is known for its fast absorption, making it an ideal choice for post-workout recovery when muscles require immediate nutrients. In contrast, beef protein is absorbed more slowly, providing a sustained release of amino acids over time. Combining the two can offer a more consistent supply of amino acids to support muscle growth throughout the day.
    3. Nutrient variety: Beef protein provides additional nutrients not found in whey protein, such as heme iron, creatine, and collagen. These nutrients can further support athletic performance, muscle growth, and overall health.

    To effectively use both beef and whey protein for muscle building, you can:

    1. Consume whey protein post-workout to quickly deliver essential amino acids to your muscles and support recovery.
    2. Use beef protein at other times of the day, such as between meals or before bed, to provide a slower-releasing source of amino acids and promote muscle growth during periods of rest or inactivity.

  • Is beef protein more effective for muscle building than whey protein?

    Whey protein contains a lot of BCAAs, particularly leucine, necessary for muscle growth and repair. So some might say it is better than beef protein based on its muscle-building characteristics. But overall, It is difficult to definitively say whether beef protein is more effective for muscle building than whey protein, as both are high-quality sources of protein with essential amino acids that support muscle growth and recovery. The effectiveness of each protein source can depend on individual preferences, dietary restrictions, and specific needs.

  • How do the amino acid profiles of beef protein and whey protein compare in terms of muscle-building potential?

    Both beef and whey protein contain all the essential amino acids required for muscle growth. However, whey protein has a higher concentration of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), particularly leucine, which is known to stimulate muscle protein synthesis more effectively. This may give whey protein a slight edge in promoting muscle growth compared to beef protein.

  • Do absorption rates of beef protein and whey protein affect muscle-building efficiency?

    The absorption rates of beef and whey protein differ, with whey protein being rapidly absorbed and beef protein absorbed more slowly. Whey protein's fast absorption rate can be advantageous for post-workout recovery, while beef protein's slower absorption rate provides a sustained release of amino acids over time. Both absorption rates have their benefits for muscle-building, depending on individual needs and workout schedules.

  • Are there additional nutrients in beef protein and whey protein that can impact muscle growth?

    Beef protein contains nutrients such as heme iron, creatine, and collagen, which can support athletic performance, muscle growth, and overall health. Whey protein lacks these additional nutrients but has a higher concentration of BCAAs, which play a crucial role in muscle protein synthesis. The presence of these nutrients may impact muscle growth depending on individual needs and preferences.

  • How do dietary restrictions or allergies influence the choice between beef protein and whey protein for muscle building?

    Individuals with dairy allergies or intolerances may not tolerate whey protein well, making beef protein a more suitable option for muscle building. It's essential to consider individual dietary restrictions and allergies when choosing the most effective protein source for muscle growth.

  • Can combining beef protein and whey protein enhance muscle-building results?

    Combining beef protein and whey protein can offer a more diverse amino acid profile and complementary absorption rates, potentially optimizing muscle growth and recovery. By incorporating both protein sources into a balanced diet, individuals can take advantage of the unique benefits each protein offers and enhance muscle-building results.

Back to blog