Vegan Protein Powder: 4 Best Plant Proteins & How to Use Them

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Vegan Protein Powder: 4 Best Plant Proteins & How to Use Them

Rachel Link, MS, RD via Dr. Josh Axe — Food is Medicine
Sep 4, 2018

Whey protein may still dominate the supplement industry as one of the most well-known and widely available forms of protein powder, but with more and more people turning to a plant-based lifestyle in recent years, the selection of vegan protein powder products on the shelves has steadily started to increase.

[Food is Medicine] Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see professional bodybuilders and athletes alike following a vegan or vegetarian diet and getting their protein fix from plant-based supplements. Vegan protein powders from sources like hemp, peas and brown rice make it easy and effective to kick up protein intake, improve body composition and reap the many rewards that these plant-based protein foods have to offer. (Photo Credit: Dr. Josh Axe/ Food is Medicine)

What Is Vegan Protein Powder?

Protein powders are a type of supplement that contain a concentrated amount of protein, typically from either animal or plant-based sources. They are often used to increase protein intake, promote muscle growth and repair, enhance exercise performance, or boost caloric intake for healthy weight gain.

Protein powders come in many different forms based on the way that they are processed and the macronutrients that they provide. A few of the most common types of protein powder include:

  • Protein concentrates: These are produced by extracting protein from whole food sources. Protein concentrates generally contain between 60 percent to 80 percent of calories from protein and 20 percent to 40 percent of calories from fat and carbohydrates.
  • Protein isolates: This form of protein powder filters out much of the fat and carbohydrates to create a product with a higher concentration of protein. Although it can vary between brands, protein isolates usually contain about 90 percent to 95 percent of calories from protein and just 5 percent to 10 percent from fat or carbohydrates.
  • Protein hydrolysates: In this type of protein powder, the bonds between amino acids are broken to create a highly concentrated protein supplement that is easier for your body to use and absorb.

Some of the most popular forms of protein powder are sourced from whey, casein and bone broth, all of which are favored for their rich protein content, widespread availability and well-researched health benefits.

However, if you’re following a vegan diet, there are plenty of plant-based, dairy-free protein powder options available as well. And not only do these vegan protein powders supply a good amount of protein in each and every serving to help you meet your needs, but many also boast other benefits as well, including enhanced heart health, a rich fiber content and improved blood sugar.

So which supplements should you start stocking up on to increase your protein intake? Let’s take a look at a few of the top plant protein powder products out there to determine which one is right for you.

4 Best Vegan Protein Powder Options

  1. Hemp Protein Powder
  2. Pea Protein Powder
  3. Brown Rice Protein Powder
  4. Mixed Plant Proteins
  1. Hemp Protein Powder

Hemp protein powder is produced from Cannabis sativa, also known as hemp, a type of flowering plant native to eastern Asia. Unlike other plants belonging to the Cannabaceae family, though, hemp contains little to no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the cannaboid responsible for the psychoactive properties of drugs like marijuana.

Research shows that this vegan protein powder is easily digestible to ensure you’re really optimizing your protein intake and getting the most nutritional bang for your buck. (1) Hemp protein powder also stands out as one of the best plant-based protein powder options available because it contains a hearty dose of fiber to optimize digestive health and keep blood sugar under control. (2) Plus, it’s also high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation, protect against neurodegenerative disorders and aid in weight management. (3)

  1. Pea Protein Powder

Pea protein powder has skyrocketed in popularity and is often dubbed the best vegan protein powder for bodybuilding thanks to its impressive nutrient profile. This powerful plant-based protein powder is made from the yellow split pea and is considered a complete protein, meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids that your body needs to function and thrive.

According to one study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports NutritionSubscribe for free to Amazing Health Advances here.

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