The benefit of protein goes beyond your bodybuilding efforts. It is said that protein is the main building block of life. That being said, getting enough protein is very important if you are to live well, as you can very sick from a severe lack of protein.
There are two main sources from where we can get protein: animals and plants. As you can already tell, there is an intense debate between animal-based and plant-based protein. Which is a better source of protein? Which is healthier?
Well, for this guide, we are going to focus on what you should know about plant-based protein. Whether you are already following a plant-based diet, trying things out, or you’re simply adding variations to your existing diet, this guide will introduce you to the basics of plant-based protein. Not only that, though, we’ll also give you the 3 best plant-based protein powder options so you can find the one that’s right for you!
If you’re up-to-date on your plant-based protein knowledge and would rather skip right to our best picks, feel free to scroll to the bottom of this guide. If you’re ready to learn more, though, let’s get started!
What Is Plant-Based Protein Powder?
Plant-based protein powder (or just plant-based protein) is a protein that is simply derived from plants. The key here is protein, so what is protein?
Protein is an organic compound that is made up of amino acids. The amino acids of protein are responsible for many of protein’s benefits and functions, such as building, maintaining, and replacing body tissues. The vital parts of your body – muscles, tissues, organs, skin, and even your immune system are mostly made up or composed mostly of protein.
Protein is also considered a macronutrient, alongside carbs and fats. As a macronutrient, protein is essential to keep your body functioning properly.
Are Plant-Based Protein Powders Better?
The answer to this question is pretty subjective. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, then the answer is easy – yes! Of course, plant-based protein powders are more beneficial for you. Reaching for an organic pea protein powder, a blend of pea protein, or even a pea protein isolate might be best for you.
On the other hand, you may find that proteins that include brown rice protein or hemp protein may be best for you.
On the other hand, if you are not on a restrictive diet, then it all depends on what your personal preferences are. You may find that whey-based proteins are best for meeting your fitness goals, or a collagen powder might be most fitting for you if you are trying to support specific bodily functions.
Interesting Benefits Of Plant-Based Protein Powder
We already know some of the benefits of protein: it helps build and maintain muscles, helps in controlling your cravings, helps in burning fat and weight loss, and it can improve your energy levels for the day. There are many different ingredients used in these powders ranging from hemp protein to organic protein powder to brown rice, pumpkin seeds, and seed protein.
It’s also useful to look for a powder that includes grams of fiber per serving to help your body digest the supplement as well. This will also help digest any carbohydrates that are used in things like pea protein powders.
As a protein, vegan protein powder will essentially give you those same benefits. But do you know that there are more benefits that you can get from a vegan supplement? If you don’t know, let’s take a look at them!
1) Rich In Vitamins And Minerals
In a plant-based protein powder, you won’t just get protein, but vitamins and minerals as well!
After all, your protein is sourced from plants, and plants are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Therefore, it is said that plant protein powders are naturally rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients.
But if you want to put your vitamin and mineral intake to the next level, consider adding actual fruits and vegetables to your protein powder! Just not too much as way too many vitamins and minerals is bad.
2) No Unwanted Hormones
Hormonal imbalance is one of the main but subtle causes behind many of our health problems, ranging from weight gain, troubled sleep, mood swings, low sex drive, etc. Therefore, it is necessary to keep our hormones in check to avoid hormonal imbalance.
Vegan protein powder is great because they almost have no hormones and other additives compared to animal-based protein. The explanation here is very simple: animals are often treated with growth hormones. Once you get protein from animals, you will mostly get the hormones, too.
With a vegan supplement, you will mostly not have any problem with unwanted hormones. However, do watch out for plants treated with pesticides. To this, simply buy organic plant-based protein powder, and you’re good to go!
3) Rich In Fiber
A while ago, we mentioned that plant protein powders are rich in vitamins and minerals. That’s great and all, but if that’s not enough, plants have one more thing for you: fiber!
Many plants are rich in fiber, so many vegan powders are naturally rich in fiber, too.
Fiber is made up of two types: soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber keeps us feeling full, whereas insoluble fiber helps in ensuring that our digestive system runs smoothly and doesn’t cause any “toilet emergencies.” That being said, we would get the best of fiber from vegan protein powders – feeling full and having a smooth digestive system!
4) Mostly Free Of Allergens
Whey protein is praised for its effectiveness in building muscles. Indeed, whey protein is very effective when it comes to building muscles! However, due to allergic reasons, whey protein won’t work well with everybody.
With vegan powders, you will mostly have no problems with allergens – that is, unless you have an allergy to a certain plant.
5) Boosts Metabolism
While we know that protein is great at boosting our metabolism, plant-based powders take it to the next gear.
Protein itself can boost metabolism because it takes some time before your body can fully digest it. With a vegan powder, you’ll also have fiber, which also takes time to digest!
When your body is busy digesting down protein and fiber, and with regular exercise, you can effectively burn your excess fats.
What Is The Healthiest Protein Powder?
At this point, we have already established some of the great benefits of a plant-based powder.
Vitamins and minerals? Check! Fiber? Check! Is it healthy? Yes, check! Like plants? Check!
Well, nowadays, as long as it is plant-based, it will mostly be advertised as healthy, and for a good many reasons. However, before buying your vegan powder, be sure to check its label because the supplement you plan to buy probably has a dark secret.
Much plant-based protein powder that is supposedly healthy and natural is processed using hexane. I’m sure that the name of the chemical already sounds an alarm on your “anti-artificial” radar, but what is the deal with this hexane?
Hexane is a petroleum-based neurotoxin. Oops! But why put this chemical into a supposedly natural plant protein powder? It’s because it’s easier to separate protein from the plant by using the chemical.
So, the next time you’re shopping for a plant powder, look for the product that is “enzymatically sprouted,” and cold processed. In simple terms, this process is natural, and no chemicals are used in separating protein from the plant.
How To Choose A Plant-Based Protein Powder
When it comes to choosing a plant protein powder, it’s important to decide what the goal of the protein is. Do you want to increase muscle mass? Or do you simply want to increase your protein intake? Or do you love the taste of flavored vegan protein powders?
Depending on your goals, it might be useful to reach for a pea protein powder instead of a general vegan protein powder. It’s also helpful to determine how much protein per serving you are looking for. Do you need 20 grams of protein per serving, or are you looking for a bit less? Below we are going to dive into a few of the most popular types of vegan protein powders on the market.
Best Plant-Based Protein Powder
Speaking of shopping, if you are looking for vegan protein powders and you don’t know which to buy or try out, consider one of the brands we recommend you here.
1) Sprout Living Epic Protein
Sprout Living is a popular protein powder producer in the health and wellness industry. Sprout Living Epic Protein is a careful blend of organic plant blend, superfoods, and prebiotics. This means that aside from getting protein, you will also get prebiotics, a special fiber that your gut bacteria (probiotics) eat for nourishment.
Sprout Living’s supplement contains 26 grams of protein per serving, and it has a smooth texture and real flavors. It’s also extremely low in sugar and carbohydrates, making it a great option for those that are watching their macronutrients.
The ingredients are minimal but powerful, including their base (Yellow Pea, Sunflower Seed, Pumpkin Seed, Sacha Inchi, Cranberry Seed), and Jerusalem Artichoke. Sprout Living also offers Epic Protein Chocolate Maca if you’re looking for some additional flavor!GET THE BEST PRICE ON SPROUT LIVING EPIC PROTEIN
2) Garden of Life Organic Sport Plant-Based Protein Powder
Garden of Life Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder is a certified USDA organic and non-GMO project verified powder that works well for athletic and fitness purposes such as post-workout recovery. It is also great for supporting your immune system.
This is one of the most popular supplements in this field, with their vanilla flavor being quite the hit. This NSF Certified for Sport vegan powder includes 30 grams of protein per serving. The container lists all the health information you need on the side, as well as the macronutrient breakdown as well. Low in carbohydrates as well as sugar, this is a great option for anyone that is looking for a clean, vegan powder.
This is a moderate price at $40 for a container. This price may seem high, but you can get around 19 servings in one container.GET THE BEST PRICE ON GARDEN OF LIFE ORGANIC SPORT PLANT-BASED PROTEIN POWDER
3) KOS Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder
KOS Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder does not only act as a protein powder but as a multivitamin as well! It contains vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, calcium, and iron.
KOS Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder is vegan, soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, and it is certified USDA organic. Its main protein blend is made with pumpkin seeds, brown rice protein, organic pea protein, flaxseed, and quinoa. This organic powder is a great option for anyone who is looking to up their protein source but also improves their nutrition. It includes 20 g of protein per serving.
KOS protein has a price similar to Garden of Life at $45 for a container. The only difference is this one comes with 30 servings making the price a lot more attractive.GET THE BEST PRICE ON KOS ORGANIC PLANT-BASED PROTEIN POWDER
Some other choices worth checking out include Biochem Plant Protein, Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein, and Aloha Organic Protein Powder. The grams of protein per serving range in these powders as well.
There are many protein supplements on the market, but these three options are great for most users. We recommend doing a little research, then picking one to test. If you try it for two-three weeks and don’t see any positive changes in your nutrition, then try a different one!
Should You Try A Plant-Based Protein Powder?
If you are thinking about giving plant-based protein powders a try, now is a great time. There are so many different brands to choose from on the market, and most are high-quality ones at that. Whether you want pea protein, soy protein, hemp protein, or even pumpkin seed protein, there are countless brands to chose from.
If you are trying to eat fewer animal products, following a vegan or vegetarian diet, or just want to increase plant proteins, trying out a plant-based powder can be a great addition to your day. Many of the protein powders use things like monk fruit extract, Stevia, or other sugar substitutes to sweeten.
So what do you think? Are you going to give one of the best plant-based protein powders a try?