When you replace some of the carbs and fat that you’re eating with protein, this can help you with weight loss by reducing the feeling of being hungry, increasing your energy and assisting with building lean muscle. You can source your protein from food, but it’s often difficult to get enough of it from diet alone. Luckily, there are a number of high-quality protein supplements that can help fill in those gaps. As a nutritionist and certified personal trainer, I’ve tried a few different protein supplements myself. I’ve used both whey and collagen varieties and want to share some key information with you.

Collagen and whey protein are two popular protein options, but how do you determine which one is right for your goals? Collagen comes with a lot of other health benefits such as improved gut health and less inflammation in your joints. Whey protein is optimal if you’re really focused on developing lean muscle and want to boost your metabolism. Let’s dive into these two protein options taking into account weight loss.

Narrowing it Down to Collagen vs Whey Protein

Many people narrow it down to Whey Protein and Collagen Powder simply because they both have protein in their formulas. The benefits of protein for females are so strong that every woman should make sure they get enough protein in their diets.

Both collagen powder and whey protein powder are easy to add coffee, baking recipes and much more. They also have been marketed as ways to start your weight loss journey, as taking supplements like collagen and whey protein can help you start exercising, eating healthier and paying attention to how much protein you're incorporating into your diet. 

Let's get into what each supplement is and then we'll cover the similarities, differences and which is better for weight loss.

Overview of Collagen Protein

collagen powder supplement

Did you know that collagen is not only a very abundant protein, but it’s also found in our skin, bones, muscles, tissues and cartilage? Made up from small chains of amino acids such as glycine, arginine and praline, there are actually 15 different types of protein. The most common forms are types I, II and III. In order to manufacture a collagen protein supplement, collagen is taken from an animal source and then broken down to make it easier to digest and absorb once consumed. Collagen protein is very versatile, because it generally doesn’t have any taste or odor. You simply mix it into anything that you’re eating or drinking for a quick boost of protein.

How Much Protein is in Collagen Peptides?

A lot of people don’t realize that collagen is a form of protein. It usually has about one gram of protein per gram of collagen, but this amount can vary based on the collagen source used and the quality of product that you’re taking.

Benefits of Using Collagen Protein

In addition to increasing your protein intake pretty substantially, collagen supplements also improve your body’s ability to build its own collagen. As we age, our natural ability to product collagen decreases. Collagen supplementation to lose weight is ideal, regardless of whether or not you’re trying to lose weight. Our diets these days very rarely include enough amino acids. When deficiencies are present, this can result in gut issues, fatigue, slow metabolism and inflammation. Benefits of regular collagen supplementation include:

Optimal Joint Health

The amino acids in collagen can reduce a lot of the inflammation that is present in your joints, making them a lot more comfortable. This supplement also helps to repair cartilage in your joints, allowing for a vaster range of motion. When your joints feel comfortable and healthy, this provides you with the opportunity to work out more efficiently (assisting with your weight loss goals). You should also experience better recovery time after your workouts, which means you can get right back to your exercises the next day.

Gut Health

Collagen protein plays a very important role in your gut health. Our gut is such an important part of our overall health. This is where much of our immune system is located, our gut helps to control our metabolism and our ability to absorb nutrients relies on good gut health. Inside the lining of our gut, you will find many of the amino acids that are found in collagen supplements. When used regularly, collagen protein can stimulate the renewal of your gut cells and the lining of your intestines while decreasing inflammation.

Increasing Muscle Mass

In addition to losing weight, building up your muscle composition can also help you look and feel better. A lot of people experience a loss of muscle mass as they get older, and it can be more and more difficult to build lean muscle as the years go by. Collagen protein can promote muscle protein synthesis as well as the development of creatine, both of which are very important for muscle growth during and after workouts.

Overview of Whey Protein

whey protein powder supplement

Whey protein can be naturally found in milk and dairy products. It’s been used with great success by many different athletes, nutritionists and personal trainers (like me) for decades. Not only does whey have a lot of protein inside of it, but it also has a really great nutritional composition. Along with amino acids, whey protein also contains calcium, B vitamins, magnesium and vitamin A. All of these nutrients and components can help strengthen your bones, speed up your recovery period after working out and regulate the hormones that affect weight loss.

How Much Protein is in Whey Protein?

The tricky thing about whey protein is that the manufacturing process really determines how much protein is in each serving. Your average whey protein concentrate supplement will contain about 80 percent protein. You usually get a little more protein from whey protein isolate (which undergoes more processing), which can consist of more than 90 percent protein.

Benefits of Using Whey Protein

There are a lot of benefits associated with whey protein that will help with your weight loss journey. Not only can it help to decrease your unhealthy cravings, but it can boost your metabolism, increase muscle mass and speed up your recovery time. Interested in other benefits of whey protein? Here are some important ones to take note of:

Antioxidant Consumption

Antioxidants like glutathione (found in whey protein) are incredibly important if you want to protect your cells and strengthen your immune system in a way that protects your body. You can increase your glutathione with the regular use of whey protein, lowering inflammation in the body.

Blood Sugar Benefits

Carbohydrates serve an important role in weight loss and fitness. As a nutritionist as well as a personal trainer, I often tell women and men that they shouldn’t completely avoid carbs. However, including whey protein into a high carb meal can help avoid that energy crash that so many people experience shortly after they eat. That’s because whey protein can stabilize your blood sugar to reduce spikes.

Development of Lean Muscle

The amino acid leucine is found in whey protein and has an important impact on muscle and protein synthesis. Without this component in a weight loss plan, you’ll have difficulty building lean muscle as well as recovering your muscles quickly.

Metabolism for Weight Loss

Metabolism refers to the chemical reactions that occur in the body's cells that change food into energy. If this process isn’t efficient, it can result in unwanted weight gain. Whey protein provides your body with enough protein to activate a healthy metabolism response while also promoting fat burning.

Similarities between Collagen and Whey Protein to Lose Weight

While whey protein has been used much longer than collagen protein, both of these supplements have some key similarities. For starters, they both come from animal sources. They both have very rich amino acid profiles and come in powder form. These are versatile products that can be used in a number of ways to increase your protein intake while also boosting your ability to lose weight. You can choose between using whey protein or collagen protein as part of your weight loss routine, but don’t be afraid to utilize them both for maximum results. They’ll both keep your body energized, functioning efficiently and recovering quickly so you can get back to your workouts in a shorter amount of time.

Main Differences of Whey Protein and Collagen for Weight Loss

The benefits of whey protein and collagen are where the differences really exist. Whey protein tends to be used more frequently by people who want to develop lean muscle and develop more connective tissue in the body. Collagen also functions to repair connective tissue, but it’s not necessarily going to be the best option if muscle gains are what you’re looking for.

Collagen tends to increase your satiety a lot better than whey does. It’s something you may want to use if hunger is something that’s slowing you down. You want to make sure that you’re getting the appropriate amount of nutrients in each of your meals, but you don’t want to overeat or indulge in unhealthy food cravings. Make the most of your meals with the use of collagen protein.

Which Is Better for Weight Loss: Collagen or Whey Protein?

Collagen is likely the protein option you’re going to select if dairy is something your body doesn’t tolerate or it’s something that you try to avoid. The beauty boosting benefits of collagen is an added bonus, but it also includes enough beneficial properties that it can aid in weight loss.

Opt for whey protein if you’re an athlete, body builder or something that’s working on their physique in addition to losing weight. There are a ton of beneficial nutrients in whey protein, and it’s always nice to fill in any nutritional gaps that you have going on.

If you’re able to tolerate dairy and a vegan lifestyle isn’t something that you follow, then there’s no reason why you can’t utilize both whey protein and collagen protein. You can alternate their use, utilize both each day or just decide which one you’re going to consume based on how you’re feeling and how your weight loss program is going. As a nutritionist and personal trainer, I can say that I keep both of these products around at all times.

The Bottom Line

Once you’ve determined which protein option you want to use for weight loss, there are some key factors to take into consideration when shopping for a supplement. Here’s what I recommend watching out for:

Quality of Ingredients

It’s a good idea to source your whey or collagen protein from high quality sources that are free of contaminants. Shop organic whenever possible. Stay away from additives and artificial ingredients.


A reputable brand will always use some sort of third-party testing to confirm the purity and safety of their products. This information should be shared with consumers for full transparency.


Consider how you plan on using your protein. If you’re going to mix it with other ingredients, you probably want something that is flavorless. However, flavored products are available if you’re going to consume the protein on its own. Just watch out for artificial flavorings and sweeteners.

Protein Per Serving

Determine how much protein you need to add to your diet, and make sure you're getting a good value per serving.

About the Author
Tami Smith, CPT, Nutritionist

Tami Smith is a certified Macro Coach, Nutritionist and an ACE certified fitness trainer, specializing in pre and post-natal fitness. She studied business and earned her bachelor's degree in Business Economics. Tami is a mom of two and women's health advocate. Her passion is to help people live a fit, healthy life through proper nutrition and exercise!

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