4 Best Vegan Protein Powders
“Vegan protein powders can be a great way to meet your daily protein needs, especially if you struggle to consume enough protein when following a plant-based vegan diet,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDCES. “These powders can also provide a good source of on-the-go nutrition as many are fortified with additional vitamins, minerals, and nutrients beyond protein alone.”
If you’re looking for a vegan protein there are many options on the market to fit your individual needs. These options include proteins derived from pea, hemp, pumpkin seed, brown rice, soy, chia, and flax, among other plant-based sources.
“Adequate protein intake is necessary for building muscle, so vegan protein powders can be a great addition for vegan athletes, given that it can be challenging to get enough protein on a vegan diet,” says Andrea Paul, MD, medical advisor to Illuminate Labs. “Another health benefit of vegan protein powders is they may have higher micronutrient levels than animal-based protein powders, given their sourcing”.
It's important to note that there are many plant-based protein powders, but not all of these are vegan. All vegan protein powders are made from plants; however, some plant-based proteins may contain animal-derived products such as honey.
Raise your hand if you're a vegan who's sick of people asking you how you get enough protein. Everyone knows by now that there are *plenty* of ways to get protein on a plant-based diet. That said, a vegan protein powder can help you meet your needs in a pinch. And, yes, dietitians say they're legit.
“Some misconceptions about vegan protein powders are that they don't provide enough protein and that they won’t keep you full,” says New York City-based nutritionist Carolyn Brown, RD. However, today's vegan protein powders do both.
First of all, many vegan powders contain 20 to 30 grams of protein per serving, which is totally on par with most popular whey protein powders, Brown says. (Whey protein is made from dairy, btw, so it's totally not vegan.) Plus, many plant-based powders also provide some fiber, which helps them keep you fuller, longer—and boosts their nutritional value, adds nutritionist Priya Khorana, RD.
Oh, and about that flavour issue: While vegan proteins long had a rep for tasting pretty revolting, times have changed. You'll find newer plant proteins in flavours like salted caramel, coconut, or even chai.
When hunting for vegan protein powder, consider these three major factors: protein content, types of proteins used, and sweeteners. First, look for at least 15 to 20 grams of protein per serving, suggests nutritionist Charlotte Martin, RDN, CPT.
Then, since most plant-based protein sources are “incomplete” (meaning they don’t contain all of—or enough of—all nine essential amino acids), opt for a protein powder made out of multiple sources, she says. Soy is the lone “complete” option, so you'll find lots of combos made out of hemp, brown rice, and pea protein to ensure your powder provides all of the aminos your body needs.
Finally, limit any added sugar to five grams per serving, max. “I steer clear of artificial sweeteners since some research suggests they may have negative effects on metabolism, gut bacteria, and appetite,” says Martin. Instead, opt for natural, zero-calorie sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit. Whether you're spiking your smoothies, iced coffee or pancake mix, today's vegan protein powders are better than ever—and totally worth your while, whether you're a carnivore or not.
What Are Vegan Protein Powders?
You can buy plant-based protein powders online at vegan protein supplements, or in your local health food store. Vegan protein powders can be used in smoothies, soups, and as a protein-packed snack. However, you need to select the best vegan protein powder for your health.
You should never mix together different protein powders that do not contain animal-based products. One ingredient, protein, should always be at the top of your shopping list when it comes to choosing the best vegan protein powder.
The process of making vegan protein powder is quite simple. In fact, most of them contain only plant-based ingredients: soy, pea, hemp, rice, and even pea-based proteins. But there are vegan products with animal-based ingredients too. These are typically the kinds of protein powders made with whey protein. Vegan protein powders often use ingredients such as dried mango, dates, or cashews, which are all sources of fibres. When combined with water or other liquid, these fibres can bind together to form protein clusters.
The Benefits Of Vegan Protein
Many people are looking for new protein sources now that soy, casein, whey, and even pea protein supplements are a thing of the past, Khorana says. In fact, those ingredients “just don't have the right amount of amino acids, which is the basis of building muscle, repairing muscles, and powering the brain,” she explains. “That's where plant-based proteins come in because they have the right balance of amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and minerals.”
They're also lower in carbohydrates and more readily digestible, so you don't have to compensate with a sweeter, starchy load like whey protein powder. “Because of their lower water content, plant-based proteins are also easy on your skin and hair, so they'll retain their bounce”, Khorana says.
Many people have different health concerns they face that cause them to turn to vegan protein powders. Vegan protein powders are free of artificial flavourings. One of the biggest concerns with vegan protein powders is artificial flavouring. Although this may sound harmless, many people do not want to eat artificial products in their food. Vegan protein powders are as natural as possible, which is good news for people who are eating plant-based diets.
Vegan protein powders are naturally vegan. Because vegan protein powders are made from plant-based ingredients, there is nothing artificial in them. When eating a plant-based diet, it is very important to find natural products.
Whether you're trying to lose weight or build muscle, protein is necessary for overall good health. Research has shown that protein plays an important role in satiety and control of hunger, and it helps stimulate muscle growth and recovery. After weight loss, protein is often the key to maintaining your new body weight.
Research shows that if you replace just 1% of the recommended dietary protein with a plant-based source, it can help you lose 1-2 lbs per week, even more, if you can use it to replace other foods that are high in protein, such as dairy. However, whether you are vegetarian or vegan, one thing is for certain: You need protein. That's because your body cannot convert carbohydrates or fat into protein.
The Benefits Of Vegan Protein Powder
For one thing, plant-based proteins are a great way to add in protein without adding too much fat to your meal, Khorana says. And that's important to hear because some people think vegan protein powders are inherently low in fat—but in fact, if you aren't consuming any animal products, your intake of saturated fat is about zero, Brown says.
Plus, adding in plant proteins is also great for your gut health, which is so important for the digestive tract, insulin sensitivity, and even weight management. “And most importantly, plant proteins are not digested as quickly as animal proteins, so they're packed with nutrients from the start,” Khorana says.
The vegan protein powder industry is booming. While the primary benefit of using a protein powder is muscle recovery, it's also important to note that a vegan protein powder does not break down during digestion like meat products, so the protein will last longer in your body. Plus, some researchers believe a vegan diet can help manage type-2 diabetes.
However, the same researchers also reported that, while following a vegan diet may be beneficial for type-2 diabetes, those without the condition should consult a doctor before changing their diet. While most nutritionists and athletes agree that protein supplementation is important for muscle recovery and sports performance, a veggie-based protein powder may not be the best choice if you're following a vegan diet.
Vegan protein powders can help your body rebuild after a hard workout. They also boost muscle growth and support overall recovery. Vegan protein powders also contain many different minerals and vitamins. For example, vegan protein powders tend to have more minerals and vitamins than human-derived proteins.
Vegan protein powders tend to be more expensive than other protein powders, but there are some lower-cost brands available. Vegan protein powders are also vegan. This means that they do not contain any animal products at any stage of the process. For example, no animal products are used in the manufacturing of whey protein.
How Vegan Protein Powders Are Better Than Whey Protein
All plant-based proteins have good trace amounts of nutrients, as long as they're in adequate amounts, Khorana says. For instance, some may have six to eight grams of fiber or protein per serving. And because many don't contain any dairy, they're free of allergenic proteins. “They can help with protein loss or gain, they've got the amino acid profile that is the same, they're easier to digest,” Khorana says.
There's also research suggesting that plant-based proteins may have benefits that outweigh any weaknesses, like boosting recovery after exercise. The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, followed more than 1,200 cyclists over 18 months, measuring them for blood lipids, inflammation, and other biomarkers.
C20 Vegan Protein + Whey – If you're looking for a good vegan protein powder, you've likely seen C20 on the news. It's one of the first protein powders to be certified vegan by the Vegan Society. This protein powder is made with bananas, almonds, hemp hearts, cinnamon, and papaya. It contains 17 grams of plant-based protein in each serving, as well as high-quality vitamins and minerals.
C20 Vegan Protein + Casein – C20's other vegan protein option has been on the market for several years. It's made with hemp hearts, hemp hearts, almonds, cashews, wheatgrass, cinnamon, and ginger. The hemp hearts provide the protein content; the cashews give the shake a rich, nutty taste.
There are many reasons why you should consider getting a vegan protein powder, including:
- Better body composition: Vegan protein powders are better for losing weight, gaining muscle, or building lean muscle mass because the dietary fiber and high concentrations of plant proteins can encourage satiety, maintain stable blood glucose levels, and potentially lower cravings and appetite. A study showed that vegan protein powders are similar to whey in most respects except for a small difference in the amino acid sequence of leucine.
- Better quality of protein: Protein powders typically contain a variety of protein sources such as soy, pea, algae, pea, soy, algae, soy, pea, etc. These protein sources provide a complete protein that is ideal for the body.
What To Look For In A Vegan Protein Powder
There are several factors you need to take into consideration when buying a vegan protein powder, Khorana says, like how much protein is in each serving, how many calories and grams of protein are in each serving, and, of course, how much time you need to spend mixing and blending it in order to be sure your body doesn't reject it. It's also important to note that the long-term health benefits of high protein consumption are still up for debate.
Generally, though, the Institute of Medicine recommends that adults get about 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight, and women ages 19 to 50, and men ages 19 to 50, need about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, Khorana says. Some vegan protein powders provide a lot more than 0.8 grams for women and 1 gram for men.
Protein powders are available in two main varieties: powder and liquid. Powders are concentrated forms of protein and can be used alone or mixed with water, fruit, or milk to make a smoothie or shake. Some powders are vegan, and some are not. Vegan protein powders that are vegan and all plant-based contain at least five grams of protein per serving.
Remember, protein powders are nothing more than a plant-based source of protein, so there is no guarantee that they contain all the essential amino acids. Some manufacturers use whey protein isolate or chia protein powder as sources of protein. Although whey protein isolate and chia protein powder are generally vegan, it's important to look for the phrase “all plant-based” in the ingredient list.
A vegan protein powder is one that's made without meat, milk or milk products. Don't make assumptions. According to an online grocery delivery service, Instacart, most vegan protein powders contain whey protein or soy protein as the main protein ingredients. This is fine, but not all vegans require all proteins.
For instance, some vegans will use almond or peanut milk as a protein source. Be sure to read the label of your vegan protein powder to make sure you're getting the proper amount of protein for your needs. According to an online grocery delivery service, Instacart, most vegan protein powders contain whey protein or soy protein as the main protein ingredients.
How To Choose The Right Plant-Based Powder
The most important thing to know about protein powders is that there are so many different types and ways to consume them. Therefore, rather than choosing an entire product based on its nutrient content, it is best to find a good source of protein that aligns with your goals, like getting stronger, losing weight, or building muscle.
After weighing up what kind of protein you may need and looking at the nutritional information, you should look at the overall ingredients list. Following this, look for natural, non-sensory ingredients, like extra vitamins and minerals, and try to avoid processed ingredients.
Is the protein powder suitable for vegans? There are protein powders that are suitable for vegans that contain soy or almond milk. For example, Vega is soy and almond-based protein powder and soy has been used in many vegan diets. Some vegan protein powders contain whey proteins, which can be supplemented to your diet, along with hemp protein and pea protein.
Is the protein powder suitable for vegetarians? Vegetarians and vegans may want to consider using a protein powder from a plant-based brand because there are certain plant-based powders that contain animal-derived ingredients. For example, you can expect to find casein (whey protein) and milk in some vegan protein powders.
Garden Of Life Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder
Great for: When you need that scoop of protein, but don't want to bring a protein powder with you to the gym. This organic protein powder tastes like actual spinach, says Khorana, which gives you a good dose of fiber. “While some plant proteins have more fat than protein, this is one of the better ones that doesn't have any,” she adds. The drink is made with green peas and peas, along with soy protein isolate. At first glance, this vegan protein powder looks like a powdery version of chocolate, which probably isn't the best flavour for everyone.
KOS Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder
This rich, smooth powder, which comes in three varieties, combines several nutrients, including beta-glucan and algae-derived protein, with just a touch of sweet rice flour and pea protein. “This plant-based protein blends well in smoothies, or even in smoothie bowls or shakes,” says Meghan Conroy, MS, RD, founder of Nutrition By Me. It has 17 grams of protein per serving, and even more healthy nutrients, like 10 grams of fiber, 12 grams of minerals, and no carbs. “It's delicious and very filling!”
Orgain Simple Organic Plant Protein Powder
If you're looking for a vegan protein powder with lots of protein and non-allergenic flavour, then you can't go wrong with this one. It offers 25 grams of protein per serving, plus 6 grams of fiber, and no added sugars. Best of all, it's free from dairy, soy, gluten, and corn. Optimum Nutrition Power Blend, Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder – This vegan protein powder from Optimum Nutrition is made with three plant proteins: pea, quinoa, and sorghum.
Each serving has 18 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. For a bit of extra protein with your go-to workout shake, Nutiva Plant Protein Shakes are another great choice. These plant proteins are designed for smoothies, shakes, and some protein bars, but there's no need to limit your protein shakes to those items, Brown says.
Vega Sport Premium Protein
The Vega Sport Protein is made from pea protein, l-glutamine, and lactose, as well as essential amino acids and minerals. The Vega Sport Protein's protein formula is designed to deliver optimum absorption into the body, without any of the lactose, sugars, and fats found in many protein powders. This helps to ensure that you don't lose any of your muscle glycogen, fat, and protein during exercise, which can result in muscle damage.
Each of the Vega Sport Protein's products is categorized by specific benefits, including a BCAAs formula for post-workout recovery, whey protein for building lean muscle, and an organic protein to support healthy joints and recovery. There are additional versions of each product that are specially designed to be easy to use, delicious, and sustainable.
Is Vegan Protein Powder Worth It?
Yes! Even though most protein powders are plant-based, all of them still offer a lot of benefits. Being a protein power-packed supplement, protein powders not only help build muscle and maintain a healthy weight but also decrease the risk of many diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
Protein powders are an extremely popular supplement because they offer a wide variety of options for everyone. However, the type of protein powders that are available may vary depending on which vegan protein powder brand you choose. If you want to find the best vegan protein powders, then you will have to do some research.
Vegans are not prohibited from eating or using products made from animals. Using soy products in your meal plan does not mean that you are vegan, so there is no reason to be concerned. Chocolate chips are considered a dairy product so they are not vegan. Instead, reach for non-dairy chocolate chips such as Enjoy Life. Although, even Enjoy Life soy-based chocolate chips are not vegan.
Vegan protein powders can have an amazing impact on your health and fitness. People looking to shed some pounds, build muscle, or even recover from an injury should consider adding a vegan protein powder to their diet. It's also important to note that, when looking for the best vegan protein powders, it's best to select a brand that specializes in helping people incorporate a vegan diet into their lives.
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