Protein powder and other similar supplements are great ways to make sure we are getting enough of this key macronutrient. People who are focused on fitness, athletes, and even people who are simply paying attention to their health are taking protein powder for one reason or another. For some people, there is a real desire to pay attention to protein intake without consuming protein that is derived from animals. This is why we now have vegan protein powder.
Vegan protein powder is simply a protein supplement that is plant-based rather than derived from meat or other animal products. Vegans, vegetarians, and people who want to reduce their impact on the natural world are switching to vegan protein powder.
Some claim vegan protein powder is the healthiest option, while others simply stick with vegan protein powder for dietary reasons. In any case, vegan protein powder is a perfectly reasonable option when considering ways to supplement your protein intake.
What is vegan protein powder? What is the importance of vegan protein powder for vegans? And what are some good options for vegan protein powder? This guide will introduce you to the benefits of vegan protein powder.
What Is Vegan Protein Powder?
Vegan protein powder is made entirely from plant-based proteins. These are sources such as nuts, grains, seeds, and beans. In the past, vegan protein sources were almost solely soy products. The producers of vegan protein powders have begun to include proteins from multiple plant sources since this provides the best mix of amino acids for maximum health benefits.
Vegan protein powders are distinguished from other protein powders that use protein sources like whey and other animal products. While these types of protein powders are certainly healthy and are great sources of protein for fitness and general health, people who have made conscious decisions to avoid consuming animal-based food and other products cannot eat these kinds of protein powders. Vegan protein powder provides an excellent source of protein without the use of any animal products.
Importance of Protein for Vegans
Because the vegan diet necessarily means excluding not just meat but any foods derived from animals, it is almost by definition lacking protein. Vegans need to pay close attention to the types of foods that make up their diet in order to get protein from plant-based sources.
Vegans have generally relied on traditional plant-based food sources like beans, nuts and seeds, and other legumes. Foods like seitan and tofu that are made from soybeans are also great sources of plant-based protein.
Vegans may still need to take extra measures to make sure they are getting enough protein to remain healthy. This is why plant-based protein powders are so important. These kinds of supplements are specially designed to provide as much protein and as many amino acids as necessary to maintain a diet that includes all necessary proteins.
Vegan Protein Benefits and why it is good for you
The obvious benefit of vegan protein powder is that it is a great way to supplement your protein intake and keep yourself in good health. The fact is, your body will absorb protein from plant-based sources as readily as it does from animal-based sources. Vegan protein powder offers proteins and a wide range of essential amino acids to build muscle, build strength, and stay physically fit. Other benefits of vegan protein powder include:
To keep your body in top physical shape you need to obtain a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Plant-based vegan protein powders tend to have high levels of phytonutrients.
Phytonutrients are the nutrients that help build and maintain the immune system of plants. When we eat foods that contain high levels of phytonutrients, we get a boost to our immune system. Research shows that eating a healthy amount of phytonutrients can protect against many chronic diseases, including things like cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.
Enhanced muscle repair
The process of building muscle actually involves breaking muscle down and allowing it to repair stronger than before. This involves muscle protein synthesis, and this is how you end up with bigger stronger muscles. In order to make this metabolic process work correctly, you need to provide your body with the amino acids that form muscle protein.
By eating the added protein that comes with vegan protein powder, you get a boost of the amino acids that enhance muscle repair from exercise and increase muscle mass. Plant-based vegan protein powders, especially those fortified with branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) have been shown to be just as effective in building muscle as other types of protein powder like those derived from whey.
More effective weight loss
Plant-based vegan protein powder can help you lose weight. The simple equation for weight loss is to eat fewer calories than you burn. This gives you the desired calorie deficit that will lead to losing weight.
Vegan protein powders tend to have fewer calories than other types of protein powders. This means you get the nutrition you need without extra calories. You also get the benefits of protein as a natural appetite suppressant that helps you feel full for longer.
More easily accessible to the body
The plant-based proteins in vegan protein powder are much easier for your body to break down, and this makes them much more accessible to your body to stimulate muscle protein synthesis and other important metabolic functions.
Vegan protein powders are more bioavailable. This means your metabolism does not need to work as hard to break down and access the proteins and amino acids you need. One of the distinct advantages of vegan protein powder over other types of protein powder is that it makes proteins and amino acids immediately accessible to your body.
Great source of healthy fats
Vegan protein powders are often a great source of healthy fats. While we tend to get the message that we should remove fat from our diet, the fact is, we need certain healthy fats.
The saturated fats that are in vegan protein powder are great ways to help regulate your appetite, and therefore your weight. And these healthy fats help control healthy hormone levels and can reduce blood sugar levels.
Types of Vegan Protein Powders and what to look for
Unlike animal-based protein powders, vegan protein powders are made from a variety of sources because different vegetables contain varying levels of proteins and amino acids. Some of the types of vegan protein powders include:
Pea protein powder does not come from common sweet peas. It is derived from the yellow split peas because of their higher protein content. A quarter cup (28 grams) of pea protein powder contains about 21 grams of protein and 100 calories. While this is a solid protein content, pea protein powder is low in one essential amino acid.
Still, pea protein powder has a high concentration of branched-chain amino acids or BCAAs. These include leucine, isoleucine, and valine which are great for providing fuel for muscle and for helping to build muscle protein in the body. Studies have shown that one ounce of pea protein powder taken twice a day after weight training can lead to a 20 percent increase in muscle thickness.
These same studies showed that muscle gains with pea protein powder are equal to those measured with whey protein powder. Other studies suggest pea protein powder can also help with the feeling of fullness and may help lower blood pressure.
This type of protein powder is not made from the same type of cannabis plant that generates the euphoric compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It will not make you high. Hemp protein powder is made from a variety of hemp plant that is bred specifically for the purpose of generating hemp protein.
A quarter-cup (28-gram) serving of hemp protein powder contains about 12 grams of protein and 108 calories. Some brands vary higher or lower. In addition to providing protein, hemp protein powder is an excellent source of fiber, iron, zinc, magnesium, and alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), which is a plant-based form of omega-3 fat.
On its own, hemp protein powder does not provide a complete protein because it lacks the essential amino acid lysine. However, if hemp protein powder is taken with something like legumes or quinoa, it becomes a complete protein.
Pumpkin seed protein
Whole pumpkin seeds are high in protein on their own. As a protein powder, a quarter-cup (28 grams) of pumpkin seed protein powder contains 18 grams of protein and 103 calories. Pumpkin seed protein powder is low in the essential amino acids threonine and lysine and is not a complete protein.
Pumpkin seeds protein powder is extremely nutritious. It contains high levels of magnesium, zinc, iron, and other minerals. Some research has shown that pumpkin seed powder can provide antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.
Brown rice protein
One of the distinct advantages of brown rice protein powder is that it is inexpensive and easy to find. One quarter-cup of brown rice protein powder contains 22 grams of protein and 107 calories. It is low in lysine but is a great source of BCAAs for building muscle. Studies show that brown rice protein powder is comparable to whey protein for building muscle.
Plant-Based Protein vs Whey Protein Pros and Cons
The keys to building muscle are the combination of strength training and consuming enough protein that contains all essential amino acids and BCAAs.
Whey protein is considered to be the best protein supplement powder for muscle growth. It contains complete proteins and high levels of BCAAs, including the important amino acid leucine.
However, plant-based proteins can make complete proteins and also contain high levels of leucine. What is more, plant-based protein powders are broken down easier and become accessible to muscles much faster and easier than whey protein.
You will need to complement plant-based protein powders with other things to get complete proteins for muscle growth.
In the final analysis, both whey protein powder and plant-based protein powders are considered equally effective for promoting muscle growth. As long as you take care to obtain the same amount of complete proteins, essential amino acids, and BCAAs, both protein powders are equally effective.
Vegan Protein Powder Dosage
A general rule for protein powder is to choose one that contains at least 20-30 grams of protein, 5-12 grams of BCAAs, and 3 grams of leucine per 28-gram serving. This is the case for vegan protein powder and whey protein powders.
Vegan Protein Calculator
To calculate how much protein you need, there is a formula that takes into consideration a wide range of data to pinpoint exactly how much you should eat. The variables include things like sex, age, physical activity, etc. there is no set equation for calculating your protein needs.
Vegans and vegetarians need to be especially careful about calculating their protein needs since they do not consume meat or animal products which are generally the main sources of protein. There are some simple apps you can use that will make it easy to calculate your vegan protein needs. These include:
- My FitnessPal
- Protein Tracker
- Muscle Gainer
- MyNetDiary PRO
- Fitocracy Macros
- MyPlate Calorie Tracker
Best Vegan Protein Powder
To get the most out of vegan protein powder you need to make certain you are getting the best product available. NF Sports Plant Protein is made from plant-based proteins. It contains no dairy and is soy and gluten-free. NF Sports Plant Protein provides complete protein and amino acids for building muscle.
NF Sports Plant Protein also contains Tart Cherry extract and turmeric for added performance and recovery. This is the plant-based protein powder that athletes use for the best results.
Protein powder has been a staple of fitness and athletic training for a long time. People understand that protein powders provide the added proteins and amino acids necessary to build muscle and achieve superior results from strength training.
Until relatively recently, the only sources of protein used in protein powders were derived from animal products. As people have made conscious decisions to stop consuming animal products for all kinds of reasons, plant-based protein powders have come on the market.
Research shows that you can obtain the same results with plant-based and vegan protein powders as you can from things like whey protein. All the protein, amino acids, and BCAAs can be found in vegan protein powders if you are careful about which you use. For the best results, NF Sports Plant Protein will provide everything you need to build muscle and strength.