What is the best vegan protein powder
Vegans rely on plants for pretty much everything and that includes protein. Whilst there are many sources of plant based protein for the vegan diet, there are days when you need an extra boost. Maybe you want to build lean muscle, or maybe you’ve just got a busy day ahead. Either way, vegan protein powder is a great way to get those extra nutrients that you need.
Do vegans need protein powder?
In all honesty, you should not need a protein powder on a plant-based diet. You should be getting all you need from a broad variety of beans, lentils, legumes, nuts and even vegetables. But a vegan protein powder can be a helpful supplement to an already healthful diet.
Protein powders are popular post-workout to aid recovery, as a protein boost for an active physical lifestyle, or to supplement the diet on those days when it is less than optimal. And lets face it, it happens. Life does have its demands.
Is whey protein vegan?
Standard protein powders are made from whey. A by product of the cheesemaking industry, whey is what’s left when the curds are removed from milk. It has a complete amino acid profile.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. The body breaks down the protein and uses the amino acids for growth, maintenance and repair. Of eleven amino acids we need to get nine from our diet. The body can make the other two. A complete amino acid profile contains all nine.
Whey protein is low in fat and carbohydrates. It is also dairy. AKA not plant-based. Which is a nay-nay for a growing number of people. Whey protein isolate may be suitable for the lactose-intolerant but it still ain’t vegan.
What to look for in vegan protein powder
When looking to buy vegan protein powder it is more about what not to look for. Many are marketed as a blend, perhaps labelled as a protein shake. This may give you the benefits of a mixture of vegan proteins but it may also come with an extra portion of fillers, fluffers and flavours. And sugar, in one form or another. What do we love to tell you? ALWAYS READ THE LABEL!
The best vegan protein powder
The best vegan protein powder is the one that suits your requirements and fits your own personal protein needs.
How much vegan protein powder per day
This very much depends on your build, the amount and quality of protein in your current diet, and your activity levels.
As a general rule you need 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight. This requirement can double, depending on how physical your lifestyle. In percentages, protein should make up between 10 and 35% of daily calorie intake.
A 30g serving of vegan protein powder can contain between 15g and 25g protein.
Hemp protein vs pea protein
Two of the most popular sources of plant protein found in powders are hemp protein and pea protein. Let’s look at them in turn…
Hemp protein powder
Hemp protein powder is essentially ground hemp seeds. Considered a complete protein source, it may however be low in the amino acid lysine. Quinoa is an excellent source of lysine.
At 15g of protein per 30g serving the protein content is lower than pea protein, but it is a whole food not a protein isolate. It therefore comes with fibre and fatty acids as well as antioxidants and minerals.
A good source of fibre, hemp protein powder can provide a quarter of the daily fibre requirement in a 30g portion. Pea protein powder contains very little fibre.
A lot of the oils have been pressed out of hemp protein powder but it is still a good source of essential fatty acids, with a healthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3. Pea protein has little if no fat content.
Hemp contains powerful antioxidant compounds as well as minerals phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, and copper.
The flavour can vary but is considered to be fairly overpowering with earthy nutty tones. The texture is gritty.
Pea protein powder
Pea protein powder is also considered to be a complete protein, but may be low in the amino acid methionine. Brown rice is an excellent source of methionine. Have you ever tried brown rice stick noodles?
Pea protein is made from yellow split peas, not the green garden kind. It is rich in the branched chain amino acids (BCAA) leucine, isoleucine, valine and arginine. So it is good for blood flow and heart health as well as providing fuel for working muscles. Some studies show pea protein to be as effective as whey protein at building lean muscle.
A 30g serving of pea protein can contain 24g protein.
Pea protein is more easily absorbed than many other plant proteins. Rich in iron, it is best taken in conjunction with Vitamin C to aid absorption.
The texture of pea protein powder is smoother than hemp, with the slightly sweet vegetal flavour of raw beans.
Both of these protein sources have slightly varying nutrient profiles. Our recommendation would be to supplement your diet with both, in order to take advantage of all they have to offer.
How to use plant-based protein powder
Protein powder has so many uses. Both pea protein powder and hemp protein powder benefit from being used alongside other ingredients.
Make super healthy muffins, savoury or sweet.
Blend with fruit and almond milk for a mid morning smoothie. You can learn how to make your own almond milk right here.
Add to bright and beautiful bliss balls for a post workout snack.
There are so many ways to use vegan protein powder. Keep checking the site for more ideas.