11 Best Vegan Protein Supplements On The Market

These plant-based protein powders are top-notch!

The vegan lifestyle is more popular than ever and that means there are a lot more plant-based supplements on the market.

Protein is a must for any serious exercise regime because you simply won’t build muscle without plenty of this macronutrient. It’s also beneficial for fat loss and is necessary for many bodily functions including hormone production.

Now, many people may be skeptical about the completeness of plant-based protein sources. But you can rest assured; the products we’ve chosen contain complete protein sources.

If you follow the vegan lifestyle then your reasons for avoiding dairy-based whey protein are obvious. But you don’t even have to be vegan to opt for a plant protein. For many people, it’s better on the stomach and ideal for those with dairy sensitivities in general.

So, we’ll compare the two and show you our list of some of the best vegan protein powders on the market right now…

Vegan Protein Sources

The many different plant-based sources of protein all have something unique to offer regarding their nutrient profile. We’ve listed the more common protein sources you’ll find in most supplements. But, of course, there are even more that we will discuss under each product listed.

Pea

Made from yellow peas, this source of protein is one of the more common ones. One study found no statistical difference between pea and whey protein regarding the muscle and strength-building benefits. Therefore, pea is a very viable source of protein, although it contains 8 out of 9 essential amino acids. (1)

And another study showed a decrease in blood pressure for both rats and humans when taking pea protein supplements. (2)

Brown rice

One study compared rice protein and whey protein by giving 24 young, resistance-trained males 48g of either source for 8 weeks along with a training plan. (3)

Well, there were no differences whatsoever, and both forms of protein elicited the same results. So, brown rice is a powerful protein source, although, it’s still one amino acid (lysine) short of being complete.

Soy

Soy is the most commonly used source of plant-based protein which comes from the soybean. Now, not all plant-based proteins are complete sources. But soy actually contains all nine essential amino acids which are the building blocks of human tissue. (4)

So, that’s why many prefer to have a soy source, plus there is also heart health, obesity, and even menopause benefits from consuming soy. Popular soy food items for vegetarians and vegans include tofu and Tempeh but soy is also a viable plant-based meat alternative. (5)

It’s said that soy also has some effect on estrogen as well, but studies are yet conclusive on the full effects soy may have on hormones.  (4)

Sprouts (amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa)

Sprouts are highly nutritious, containing protein, vitamins, and minerals, plus many essential amino acids. These are popular protein sources used in plant-based protein supplements.

Chia seed

Chia seeds are the richest plant source of Omega 3 fatty acids which are necessary for heart health cell membrane health. However, chia seeds contain the plant-based fatty acids linoleic and alpha-linolenic (ALA) which are not sufficient alone. We need also need plenty of the fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). (6)

But you’d need to consume a whole lot of ALA due to the low conversion into EPA and DHA fatty acids. So, it’s highly recommended to supplement them.

Chia also has plenty of protein and fiber too, while containing all nine essential amino acids. But research also suggests chia seeds can stave off illness which is enough reason alone to include them in your diet. (7)

Pumpkin Seed

Pumpkin seeds are high in antioxidants while containing a good amount of protein and fats, plus many essential vitamins and minerals like folate (Important for cell growth and metabolism) and magnesium (Heart, nerve, and cell health). (89)

Hemp

Hemp contains less protein on average contains very little of the amino acid lysine and leucine; which means it’s not exactly a complete source of protein. However, hemp protein is good quality and makes a great addition to a complete protein blend. (10)

10 Vegan Protein Products

1. Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal Shake and Meal Replacement

Garden Of Life, Meal Raw Chocolate Organic, 17.9 Ounce

This vegan option contains a pretty impressive protein blend consisting of pea, brown rice, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, chia seed, adzuki bean, flaxseed, garbanzo bean, lentil, pumpkin seed, sesame seed, and sunflower seed.

 

There are 24 grams of protein per serving and it’s a low calorie, low fat, low carb, and low sugar option.

There’s also a nice fiber blend for digestive health with tapioca fiber. The product has natural flavors and sweeteners (organic cacao and Stevia), a fruit and vegetable blend, a greens blend, and 1.5 billion CFU of probiotics for gut health that supplies healthy live bacteria to the digestive system. (11)

14 servings per container

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2. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Plant-Based Protein

OPTIMUM NUTRITION GOLD STANDARD 100% Organic Plant Based Vegan Protein Powder, Vanilla, 1.51 Pound

 

Optimum Nutrition has been at the top of the sports supplement industry for many years now and they have a large variety of offerings.

Each serving has 24 grams of protein, 140 calories, 2.5g of fat, 6g of carbs, 2g fiber, and 1g sugar.

The protein sources are pea, brown rice, and sacha inchi protein which is a rainforest seed loaded with good protein and amino acids. And there’s a healthy amount of B12 (Cell health DNA health), iron (Hemoglobin health), and Vitamin C (Immune system health and antioxidant).

There are no artificial flavors or sweeteners.

19 servings per container

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3. Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein

Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein Powder, Creamy Chocolate Fudge - Vegan, Low Net Carbs, Non Dairy, Gluten Free, Lactose Free, No Sugar Added, Soy Free, Kosher, Non-GMO, 2.03 Pound

 

A serving of Orgain protein contains 21 grams of protein from pea, brown rice, and chia seeds. There are 150 calories, 4g of fat, 15g of carbs, 7g of healthy fiber, and 0g of sugar.

One effective ingredient is the organic inulin which actually has probiotic properties. A serving also contains 10% calcium for bone health and nerve health, plus 20% iron.

The powder is sweetened with erythritol and Stevia.

20 servings per container

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4. MyVegan (MyProtein) Soy Protein Isolate

MyProtein Soy Protein Isolate Vanilla 1000g

 

MyProtein has some pretty awesome products overall and their plant-based powders are great quality. A serving contains 27 grams of soy protein isolate which goes through an additional straining process to cut down on the fat and carbohydrates which results in a product that contains over 90% protein.

There are 110 calories, 0g of fat, 0g of carbs, and 0g of sugar. Plus, you get 20% of iron and calcium.

33 servings per container

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5. Bulksupplements Soy Protein Isolate Powder

Bulksupplemets Soy Protein Isolate Powder (1 Kilogram)

 

Bulksupplements are known for their quality products at a very reasonable price point. A serving has 27 grams of protein, 112 calories, <1 of fat with 25% calcium and there are no preservatives or additives.

There aren’t a lot of special ingredients in the powder but it serves the intended purpose as an effective soy protein isolate powder.

33 servings per container

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6. Vega Sport Premium Protein

Vega Sport Premium Protein, Vanilla, 20 Servings, 29.2 Ounce, Plant-Based Vegan Protein Powder, BCAAs, Amino Acid, tart cherry, Non Whey, Gluten Free, Non GMO (Packaging May Vary)

 

Vega is a leader in vegan sports performance protein supplements.

A serving 30 grams of protein, 160 calories, 3g of fat, 4g of carbs, 1g of sugar.

The protein sources are pea protein, pumpkin seeds, sunflower protein, and alfalfa protein.

The Tart cherry included reduces oxidative stress, acting as an antioxidant, and it has positive effects on inflammation according to research. (12)

Additional ingredients include probiotics, bromelain, turmeric, and black pepper extract which all have anti-inflammatory properties. (13)

20 servings per container

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7. KOS Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder

KOS Organic Plant Based Protein Powder - Raw Organic Vegan Protein Blend, 2.6 Pound, 30 Servings (Chocolate)

 

KOS plant-based protein is preferred by many due to its delicious taste and all-natural, organic ingredients. Each serving has are 20 grams of protein (Flax, quinoa, pumpkin seed, chia seed) with 170 calories, 6g of fat, 9g of carbs, and 1g of sugar.

But the other special ingredients are organic Peruvian cacao, organic Himalayan sea salt, organic coconut milk, Stevia, and organic monk fruit. You also get a healthy dose of important vitamins and minerals.

30 servings per container

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8. MRM Smoothe Veggie Elite Performance Protein Powder

Mrm Veggie Elite Dietary Supplement, Chocolate Mocha, 39.2 Ounce

 

Made from pea and brown rice, Veggie Elite is loaded with branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) like Leucine, isoleucine, and valine which are the building blocks of protein.

One scoop contains 25 grams of protein, 130 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 4 grams of carbs, 0 sugar, and 2g of fiber. A serving also has a whopping 46% of iron.

No artificial flavors or sweeteners.

30 servings per container

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9. Purely Inspired Organic Protein Powder

Purely Inspired Organic Protein Shake Powder, 100% Plant Based with Pea & Brown Rice Protein (Non-GMO, Gluten Free, Vegan Friendly), French Vanilla, 1.5lbs

 

Purely Inspired claims their plant-based protein is the number 1 selling organic protein.

All of the ingredients in this product are organic, with cane sugar and Stevia used as sweeteners. Plus, each serving contains a veggie blend with greens, and probiotics to promote healthy gut bacteria.

A serving has 20 grams of protein (pea and brown rice), 150 calories, 4g of fat, 11g of carbs, 1g of sugar, and 7g of fiber.

There are no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners.

17 servings per container

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10. SUNWARRIOR Protein Warrior Blend

Sunwarrior - Warrior Blend, Plant Based, Raw Vegan Protein Powder with Peas & Hemp, Chocolate, 30 Servings

 

SUNWARRIOR uses all organic ingredients which include a proprietary protein blend of pea, hemp, and Goji berry.

Goji berries contain 8 essential amino acids which also makes them an appealing source of plant-based protein. They’re high in Vitamin A which is important for eye health, development, and immune system function. And they also contain plenty of Vitamin C, plus some zinc and fiber as well. (14)

There are 25 grams of protein, 100 calories, 2.5g of fat, 3g of carbs, and 0g of sugar, plus 6g of BCAAs and medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) from coconut. The powder is sweetened with Stevia.

30 servings per container

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11. Staunch Vegan Protein

Staunch Vegan Protein (2 lbs) Vanilla - 30 Servings

 

This protein powder developed by Calum von Moger’s supplement company Staunch offers some great tasting, quality vegan protein. Offering 24g of protein per scoop, as well as 3g net carbs and 2g of fat, Staunch Vegan Protein is definitely a vegan protein that you’ll want to add to your supplement stack.

30 servings per container

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Vegan Protein vs Whey Protein

Research has been pretty clear on evidence which suggests certain plant-based protein sources are equivalent to animal protein. But like mentioned previously, pea and brown rice protein studies showed similar results to whey regarding body composition and strength benefits. And even more protein sources would be equivalent.

Another study mentioned that plant-based protein may not offer any advantages over animal-based protein. However, research suggests there are no disadvantages either (Good news for vegans). (15)

And plant-based proteins also seem to be more beneficial for reducing the risk of developing chronic disease. So, it’s advantageous in this regard. (15)

But one nutrient to be mindful of is B12 which is an essential vitamin for cell and DNA health. Plant-based diets often lack sufficient amounts so B12 fortified products are always recommended. Otherwise, supplementation is important if you cannot get enough through plant sources.

Plant-based protein Taste

Now, plant-based proteins may take a little getting used for many people who are used to milk-based protein powders. But there are many vegan options which tastes pretty good; however, everyone will have a different opinion.

But the products listed should at least be palatable for most and remember that you can mix other ingredients in your shakes to make them even tastier.

Try These Quality Vegan Options!

It doesn’t get much better than these quality vegan protein powders made by reputable companies. Our list includes products with complete protein blends and other nutritious, effective ingredients.

And according to many studies, plant-based proteins are as effective as animal protein products regarding performance and changes in body composition.  Now, some plant sources may not be complete but an effective protein blend will take care of this issue, especially with added amino acids.

So, choose a protein that you think would best match with your goals… you have nothing to lose and possibly a lot to gain!

References:

1-Babault, Nicolas; Païzis, Christos; Deley, Gaëlle; Guérin-Deremaux, Laetitia; Saniez, Marie-Hélène; Lefranc-Millot, Catherine; Allaert, François A. (2015). “Pea proteins oral supplementation promotes muscle thickness gains during resistance training: a double-blind, randomized, Placebo-controlled clinical trial vs. Whey protein”. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 12 (1): 3. doi:10.1186/s12970-014-0064-5. ISSN 1550-2783. PMC 4307635. PMID 25628520.

2-Li, Huan; Prairie, Natalie; Udenigwe, Chibuike C.; Adebiyi, Abayomi P.; Tappia, Paramjit S.; Aukema, Harold M.; Jones, Peter J. H.; Aluko, Rotimi E. (September 28, 2011). “Blood pressure lowering effect of a pea protein hydrolysate in hypertensive rats and humans”. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 59 (18): 9854–9860. doi:10.1021/jf201911p. ISSN 1520-5118. PMID 21854068.

3-Joy, Jordan M; Lowery, Ryan P; Wilson, Jacob M; Purpura, Martin; De Souza, Eduardo O; Wilson, Stephanie MC; Kalman, Douglas S; Dudeck, Joshua E; Jäger, Ralf (June 20, 2013). “The effects of 8 weeks of whey or rice protein supplementation on body composition and exercise performance”. Nutrition Journal. 12: 86. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-86. ISSN 1475-2891. PMC 3698202. PMID 23782948.

4-Boston, 677 Huntington Avenue; Ma 02115 +1495‑1000 (August 6, 2018). “Straight Talk About Soy”. The Nutrition Source. Retrieved August 18, 2019.

5-Montgomery, Kristen S. (2003). “Soy Protein”. The Journal of Perinatal Education. 12 (3): 42–45. doi:10.1624/105812403X106946. ISSN 1058-1243. PMC 1595159. PMID 17273351.

6-“Essential Fatty Acids”. Linus Pauling Institute. April 28, 2014.

7-Boston, 677 Huntington Avenue; Ma 02115 +1495‑1000 (March 19, 2018). “Chia Seeds”. The Nutrition Source.

8-“Folic Acid for Good Health”. WebMD.

9-“Office of Dietary Supplements – Magnesium”. ods.od.nih.gov.

10-“Health Topics A-Z”. PeaceHealth.

11-“Probiotics: In Depth”. NCCIH. November 21, 2011.

12-Kelley, Darshan S.; Adkins, Yuriko; Laugero, Kevin D. (March 17, 2018). “A Review of the Health Benefits of Cherries”. Nutrients. 10 (3). doi:10.3390/nu10030368. ISSN 2072-6643. PMC 5872786. PMID 29562604.

13-“Bromelain: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning”. www.webmd.com.

14-“Goji Berries a Surprisingly Good Source of Protein (Infographic)”. Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic. November 3, 2015.

15-Lynch, Heidi; Johnston, Carol; Wharton, Christopher (December 1, 2018). “Plant-Based Diets: Considerations for Environmental Impact, Protein Quality, and Exercise Performance”. Nutrients. 10 (12). doi:10.3390/nu10121841. ISSN 2072-6643. PMC 6316289. PMID 30513704.

 

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