In the world of protein powder, consumers have a plethora of options to choose from. Not only are there an insane amount of companies and brands to choose from, but you’ll have to decide between the many different sources of protein — including whey, casein, pea, egg white, soy, rice, hemp, and much more.
Since each type of protein powder will come with its own set of pros and cons, understanding the differences will make your life much easier when shopping for the best product.
In this post, we’ll be highlighting one of the more prominent protein powders on the market today — soy protein. Let’s dive in!
What Is Soy Protein Powder?
As the name suggests, soy protein powder is made from soybeans. They’re known for being a high-protein, low-fat, and low-carb food source. This makes it an excellent source for a protein powder.
Many people have had their doubts about soy protein, and it typically boils down to two concerns.
First, they were concerned about the presence of phytates — also known as antinutrients. When found in soy protein, phytates will reduce the availability of iron and zinc. While this is a possible drawback, it will only cause adverse effects in those that rely on their soy protein powder for iron and zinc.
Both iron and zinc are commonly found in foods such as meat, dairy, eggs, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Since most people don’t depend on their protein shake to deliver their daily requirements of iron and zinc, the presence of antinutrients won’t be a deal-breaker.
Secondly, people have shown concern about the presence of isoflavones and phytoestrogens. Isoflavones act as goitrogens, which can complicate the hormone production process and thyroid function in the body. Meanwhile, phytoestrogens could affect the way estrogen is produced in the body.
Still, studies have failed to support the concept of soy protein having a negative effect on your body’s thyroid function. In addition to that, the soybeans used for powders are rinsed in water and alcohol, effectively eliminating a majority of phytoestrogen content.
While there have been several concerns surrounding soy protein, studies continue to prove those concerns wrong.
How nutritious is soy protein?
As we mentioned above, soy protein is highly nutritious and contains a lot of what you want — and eliminates the things you don’t want.
When looking at a 28-gram (one ounce) serving of soy protein powder, you’ll receive the following:
|Total Carbs||2.1 g||1%|
|Total Fat||0.9 g||1%|
|Vitamin B9||49 mcg||12%|
Shown in the table above, you’ll get a heaping amount of protein per serving. At the same time, you’ll avoid packing on the calories, carbs, and fats that are commonly found in the food we eat daily.
In addition to the large amounts of Iron, Phosphorus, Copper, and Manganese, soy protein powder will also contain small amounts of Calcium (5%), Magnesium (3%), and Zinc (8%).
Is soy protein a complete protein?
When searching for a soy protein powder, you want to ensure you find a complete protein. That’s right, not all protein powders are made equal, and some will provide more for your body than others.
A complete protein is one that includes all nine essential amino acids, which are the amino acids your body can’t produce on its own. If this is all new to you, the nine essential amino acids are as follows: Phenylalanine, Tryptophan, Valine, Leucine, Isoleucine, Threonine, Methionine, Lysine, and Histidine.
Unlike most plant-based protein powders, soy protein will contain all of these amino acids — though there will be low amounts of certain ones. Let’s take a more in-depth look of the amino acid content in soy protein powder (including the non-essential ones):
|Amino Acid||Percentage of Total AA||mg/100-gram serving|
|Aspartic Acid||11.5%||7,249 mg|
|Glutamic Acid||19.1%||12,013 mg|
What are the benefits of soy protein powders?
We’ve talked about the nutritious benefits with soy protein, but we haven’t really explained what those benefits will do for your health. Before we get into that, let’s recap what we’ve learned about soy protein thus far.
Soy protein is a plant-based, complete protein. It’s high in protein while remaining low in calories, fat, carbs, and cholesterol. It will also contain high amounts of iron, phosphorus, copper, and manganese.
Due to the presence of BCAAs, soy protein powders are known to be the best plant-based protein for muscle growth and repair. This is a category largely dominated by whey and casein protein, which are both animal-based proteins.
In other words, soy protein gives you animal-based benefits from a plant-based source.
Studies also suggest soy protein to be as effective as animal-based proteins in terms of weight loss. This further confirms soy’s dominance in the plant-based industry.
How To Choose The Best Soy Protein Powder
There will be plenty of factors that come into play when choosing the best soy protein powder for you. If you aren’t careful, your daily protein shakes could have negative effects on your body.
Among the many factors will be taste, nutrition facts, price, dietary restrictions, and whether it’s combined with other types of protein. We’ll go into more detail on each of these factors below.
The taste of soybean won’t be for everyone, but you don’t have to like the taste of soybean to enjoy a soy protein shake. Many brands will make their powders available in various flavors to help mask the unwanted taste.
While chocolate and vanilla are two of the most popular flavors, some brands get creative and unique with their options. At the same time, they’ll typically offer a natural flavor for those that do enjoy the taste of soy.
Either way, you’ll want to make sure you choose a company that offers what you like.
We’ve talked a lot about the nutritional benefits of soy, but some companies will ruin their powder by adding unnecessary and potentially harmful ingredients. The nutrition facts we listed above didn’t include any of these added ingredients, so don’t assume all soy protein powders are the same.
The three main things you’ll want in a soy protein powder are a lot of protein, limited-to-no carbs or fat, and a solid combination of vitamins and minerals.
You can find soy protein powder listed at anywhere from $10 to $50 and up. Like most products, you’ll end up getting what you pay for. At the same time, not everyone will be looking for the same strength or protein content.
Before shopping for a soy protein powder, know what your goals are and how much nutrients you’re looking for. How much you end up spending will largely depend on that.
Soy protein powder is an excellent option for those that are lactose intolerant, allergic to dairy, vegans, and vegetarians. Still, it’s possible to be allergic to soy products, and it shouldn’t be consumed in that case.
You’ll also want to double-check the ingredient label before purchasing. Like we mentioned above, many brands will add ingredients to their powders. When this happens, it could compromise it being vegan-friendly or dairy-free.
Is It Combined With Other Protein?
You’ll rarely see whey and casein protein mixed with other types of protein. They’re already complete proteins that don’t need the extra boost. When it comes to plant-based protein powders, things are a little different.
While soy protein is a complete protein, it’s often combined with other proteins like rice, hemp, and pea. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you’ll want to double-check the label if you’re looking for one that’s exclusively soy protein.
Best Soy Protein Powders
Now that we’ve discussed all there is to know about soy protein powders, it’s time to start looking for one that works for you.
To help make your search a little easier, we’re going to share with you four of our favorite soy protein powders available today.
Let’s see which brands fall on our list — and why!
Soy Protein Powder by Bob’s Red Mill
We’ll start off with the cheapest option, which will also provide the least amount of protein. Still, this is a great product for anyone looking at a small, yet effective nutritious boost. Each serving is only 20 grams and will provide 17 grams of protein — with just 80 calories.
A bag with 20 servings will cost under $10, but you can also find 25-pound bags for $171 if you want a huge supply (probably enough for over a year).GET THE BEST PRICE ON BOB’S RED MILL SOY PROTEIN POWDER
Soy Protein Isolate Powder by Puritan’s Pride
Puritan’s Pride offers a soy protein isolate that will pack more punch in each protein shake. You’ll get 24 grams of protein and 110 calories in each 28-gram serving. It also contains healthy amounts of iron and phosphorus.
Available in a natural, vanilla, and chocolate flavor, each tub will provide roughly 32 servings. Although it normally runs for $37, they have a 50% off promotion running right now that caps it at under $20 — a great steal for a powerful protein powder.GET THE BEST PRICE ON PURITAN’S PRIDE SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE POWDER
Soy Protein Isolate by MyVegan
This is probably my favorite soy protein powder on this list. It’s got a larger serving — about 30 grams — and will contain slightly more protein than Puritan’s Pride — 25 grams per serving. It provides 110 calories, as well as more than 20%DV in both calcium and iron.
MyVegan will offer their soy protein in chocolate, vanilla, and unflavored. Each bag will contain about 33 servings and will run you $40 normally. They also have a 50% off promotion right now, bringing it down to $20.GET THE BEST PRICE ON MYVEGAN SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE
Soy Protein Isolate by NOW Sports
We’ve saved this one for last because it has the highest amount of calories and a respectable amount of protein, making it a great option for those that exercise often. Each serving is roughly 45 grams, so be prepared for a heavy shake.
Each serving contains 25 grams of protein and 160 calories. There are high amounts of iron and BCAAs to help with muscle growth and recovery. A 2-pound tub with roughly 40 servings will cost just under $36 for their chocolate and vanilla options. Their unflavored option is cheaper but contains fewer calories and protein.GET THE BEST PRICE ON NOW SPORTS SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE