It used to be nearly impossible for vegans to find a high-quality protein powder that was allowed by their diet restriction, but nowadays more and more vegans are opting to use protein powder for their various needs.
Whey protein is made from cow’s milk, and it is the most common source of protein powder available, but there are now many different vegan protein powders available that are genuinely great products whether you are vegan or not.
Many individuals who suffer from milk allergies or extreme lactose intolerance are turning to these new options, as well as many people who simply want to test out the results they can get by using a different formula.
We’ve looked into the best vegan protein powders that are currently n the market and compiled a list for you of the top vegan protein powders on the market.
Promix Vegan Complete is made from proteins that are derived from peas and sprouted brown rice. It contains 200 percent of the daily recommended dose of vitamin B12, but without the other vitamins in the B complex, it’s just a topping ingredient that doesn’t offer as many benefits as it could.
MRM provides a straightforward protein powder that contains pea and rice proteins without many added extras. There are a few natural ingredients for flavoring like monk fruit extract and stevia, but that’s about it.
The only thing that this product offers that you can’t get anywhere else is the inclusion of Digest-All, an MRM proprietary enzyme that is designed to improve absorption of protein from the formula. It’s an odd inclusion though because the body usually doesn’t need any assistance absorbing the protein found in protein powders.
This product goes through very little processing and in alkaline, meaning that it has a pH balance that is higher than 7. Its main ingredients are pea protein paired with vanilla to add flavor and thaumatin, which is a fruit protein that is used as a sweetener.
VeganSmart is the most diverse and eclectic protein powder you will find on this list. It sources its protein from chlorella, potato, chia, peas, and hemp, and it also includes a blend of vitamins and minerals. VeganSmart isn’t for everyone and it isn’t low-carb or paleo-friendly, as it contains about 14 grams of carbohydrates and 5 grams of sugar. If this isn’t a problem for you, it’s a good option.
Now Sports is probably the simplest vegan protein powder on the market, and it only has one ingredient. It comes in the form of yellow pea protein isolate, which is non-GMO and is currently the purest concentrated protein on the market. If you want a straightforward product with literally no added extras, this is it.
Orgain sources the protein for their product from hemp, chia seeds, peas, and rice. This gives it the ability to provide a vigorous set of amino acids. Orgain uses sugar alcohols to sweeten their protein powder instead of fructose or sucrose, so it has fairly low carbohydrate content as well.
There aren’t many other ingredients, so what you see is what you get with this protein powder. If you’re looking for a protein source that is flavored well and has a creamy consistency, this one is a good choice.
BulkSupplements is known for their simple and straightforward approach to supplementation, and their protein powder is no different. It contains pea protein and nothing else, so you won’t find any artificial flavoring, fillers, or other additives here.
The downside to this is that there isn’t anything to make this product taste good, but if that isn’t an issue for you and you’re a purist at heart, you’ll love this Pure Pea Protein Powder.
If you want a protein powder that gives you a little extra bang for your buck, the Vega All-In-One-Shake definitely fits the bill. It’s made with help and pea proteins and also contains a mixture of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and fruit concentrates that provide an antioxidant effect. It’s sweetened using stevia, so it also tastes better than many of the minimalist options.
Garden of Life is known for providing great products, most of which include their proprietary blend of veggies and greens, and Garden of Life Raw Protein and Greens is no different. This product contains protein from protein from chia, peas, and brown rice alongside these hallmark green goodies.
There aren’t many people out there who don’t need to have more vegetables in their diet. Many users find this to be a simple way of upping their daily dose while getting the benefits of a quality protein powder as well.
Naked Pea Protein is uniquely positioned to boast of independent laboratory testing to ensure that it is pure and free of heavy metals and other contaminants. It’s not the only pure pea protein powder on the market, but it might be the only one that is lab tested, is raised on North American farms, and is purely non-GMO.
Vegan protein powder isn’t just for vegans anymore, which can be clearly seen by the variety of new options that have only recently come to the market. Many non-vegan protein powder users prefer these products because they offer a different amino acid profile than whey protein.
That being said, the primary reason for the existence of vegan protein powder is pretty obvious, and this makes it important that these products do not contain any animal products, and are healthy, eco-friendly, and ethically created.
In addition to being free of common protein ingredients like casein and whey, vegan protein powder also doesn’t contain any dairy allergens and is completely free of lactose. It’s true that most people who are lactose intolerant can easily handle the small amounts that are found in whey protein, there are some people who are extremely sensitive to lactose or are allergic to milk for other reasons.
It should be obvious that the standard set of benefits that you receive from any protein source will also be true of protein powder, so you can expect vegan protein powder to help you improve bone strength, protect lean muscle mass, lose fat, and gain muscle.
Above and beyond the basic benefits that you can get from nearly any protein source, there are also some benefits which are specific to vegan protein powder. The main reason for this is that they have a unique amino acid profile that isn’t found in other protein powders.
Amino acids are the primary building blocks that the body uses the synthesize protein in your body’s cells. The food sources you eat contain different sources of protein, so their amino acids have a different ratio. Some of the amino acids you need are considered essential amino acids. This means that you can’t function without them but your body can’t produce them on its own. Out of the 20 different amino acids that your body uses to create protein, nine of them are essential amino acids.
Any vegan protein powder that is worth its salt will contain all nine of these essential acids, and pea, hemp, and chia proteins all fit this description. They contain different amounts of each one, but if you have a product that combines multiple ingredients you should be able to get a good amount of each one.
If you were to objectively ask what the best source of protein was, animal sources are simply superior to the proteins you will find in vegetables. A study completed in 2004 asserted this after they researched the benefits of different protein sources in equal doses, and they recommended proteins derived from casein as the best possible source. Luckily for those who prefer vegan proteins powder, a formula that combines different plant-based sources can be blended to match the quality and benefits that casein provides.
There is a metric called the protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score which grades the quality of these proteins based on which ones a better for human use. Each protein source is ranked as a numerical value, and 1.0 is the value that represents cow’s milk and the absorption level it can have in the body.
When it comes to vegan proteins, the most highly rated source is soy protein at 1.0. Other protein that scores highly is pea protein isolate at 0.89, and hemp and rice proteins both scored above 0.5. Chia seed protein scores pretty low on this scale. This means that when you are selecting your vegan protein powder, you should make sure that it contains either pea protein or soy protein.
Protein is a macronutrient, so side effects aren’t really as much of an issue in this case as it can be with other products. When it comes to vegan protein powder, these do an even better job of avoiding processing contamination than whey protein does.
Many users of vegan protein powder are selecting these products because they want to avoid allergens like dairy and wheat, so most of the companies that manufacture them work hard to ensure there is no cross-contamination in play. However, those who are allergic to soy may have to keep a keen eye out.
If a product is labeled soy-free or gluten-free, this should mean that it is held to higher standards of purity than many other products. If allergens are something you are trying to avoid, you should look out for packaging that state the product is processed in a facility that also works with dairy, eggs, gluten, etc. anywhere on the label. If it does, then the company likely uses the same machinery to process those products and you may not be safe from cross-contamination.
Some products that contain added ingredients for color or flavoring may carry additional side effects. One such ingredient is sugar alcohols, which is known to have possible gastrointestinal side effect is you take too high of a dose. You’re usually safe from these issues as long as you aren’t overly sensitive to these ingredients and you don’t overuse the product.
Protein is one of the most important parts of your diet and has been studied exhaustively, so the recommended dosage has been identified pretty effectively. If you are an athlete or want to build muscle mass, then you should be getting 1.3 grams to 1.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of your body weight each day. This should ideally be divided up into 3 meals that are eaten throughout the day.
If you are restricting yourself to a lower intake in your diet to help you lose weight, then you may want to increase this dosage to 2 grams per kilo a day. This will help you to protect your lean muscle mass while you are losing fat.
If you have a more sedentary lifestyle or you are an endurance athlete, you don’t need quite as many proteins and can get by on 1 gram per kilo of body weight per day.
It’s important to keep in mind that even the purest of protein powders will never be 100 percent protein. The purest products are usually 80 percent to 90 percent protein. If the product you are using has flavoring agents added, super food additions, or other nutrients then you may find the protein content to be lower. Because of this, it’s important that you know the exact amount of pure protein per serving if you want to get your dosage right.
You should also remember that your regular diet with also provide sources of protein and you won’t be getting every bit of it from protein powder alone. This means that you will need to account for the protein in your diet when you are deciding how much protein powder you will need to take.
Regardless of your reasons for choosing to use vegan protein powder, it’s important to note that you don’t have to accept lower quality or sub-standard results simply because you aren’t using animal protein.
When you select a product that is high-quality, has a well-rounded amino acid profile, and is easily digestible, then there is no reason you can’t see the same benefits from vegan protein powder as you might get from casein or whey protein.
The best source soy protein for vegans are soy and pea proteins, so you should ensure that whichever product you settle on contain one of the two. As long as you are careful to make sure you are taking the right amount of protein powder and the supplement you choose is the right one for you, there is no reason be vegan should get n the way of your personal fitness or health goals.