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.
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)
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 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 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 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). (8, 9)
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
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
2. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Plant-Based Protein
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
3. Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein
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.
The powder is sweetened with erythritol and Stevia.
20 servings per container
4. MyVegan (MyProtein) Soy Protein Isolate
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
5. Bulksupplements Soy Protein Isolate Powder
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
6. Vega Sport Premium Protein
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.
20 servings per container
7. KOS Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder
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
8. MRM Smoothe Veggie Elite Performance Protein Powder
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
9. Purely Inspired Organic Protein Powder
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
10. SUNWARRIOR Protein Warrior Blend
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
11. Staunch Vegan Protein
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
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!
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