Protein is a macronutrient which means our bodies need ample amounts for many bodily functions.
Many people choose to get their daily intake through meats and dairy products. And others prefer to get their protein from plant-based food sources.
But supplements are also a very convenient way to meet your daily requirements.
Now, you’ll notice that most health food stores are stocked up with mostly whey protein powders. And they work really well to supply your body with quality protein… however, they’re animal-based.
But fret not… the supplement industry has stepped it up with the plant-based options. There are many amazing vegan protein powders which are just as effective as whey, and they also taste good!
But keep in mind that if you go from whey to plant-based, it takes a little getting used to for most folks. However, making the switch over is a life-changing experience for many people as well. And that goes for the vegan diet in general…
Best Vegan Protein Powders of 2020
Try Our Editor’s Pick: Plant Vital Plant-Based Complete Protein
Plant Vital protein was our number 1 pick of the bunch due to the protein blend, amino acid profile, and amount of superfoods included. The addition of spirulina makes this mix very nutritious and it’s a product made with gut health in mind (Probiotics).
There are no added sugars or Stevia as the product is naturally sweetened with healthy, nutritious ingredients.
Each serving of plant vital contains 24g of protein from a blend of pea, brown rice, pumpkin seed, and chia seed. Plus, there’s a decent supply of amino acids, B12, antioxidants and the powder contains 18 superfoods.
Other beneficial ingredients include spirulina (Very nutritious green algae), rice hull, and an organic fruit/vegetable blend.
And there’s 1 billion CFU of probiotics for creating and restoring healthy gut bacteria.
Plant Vital contains no sugar, and there are no additives whatsoever!
Orgain Organic Protein
Orgain is a long-term player in the vegan protein powder game. And they make affordable products which are easy on the taste buds as well.
Every ingredient in this product is organic, and the protein (21g per serving) is made from pea, brown rice, and chia.
Orgain uses natural flavoring and Stevia as a sweetener.
Pure Food Plant-Based Protein Powder
Another completely organic powder, Pure Food chooses only quality ingredients for their protein. And there are 20 grams of protein per serving, which is made from pea, brown rice, and hemp.
Organic Lucuma powder is used as a low glycemic sweetener but it also has lots of antioxidants, beta-carotene, iron, zinc, calcium, and B3. But Organic Stevia is also added to sweeten up the powder, alongside organic vanilla extract.
But we can’t forget the organic mesquite powder which has a sweet, caramel-like flavor.
Probiotics are added for gut health as well.
KOS Organic Plant-Based Protein
Each serving of KOS contains 20g of protein made from organic pea protein, organic flaxseed, organic quinoa, organic pumpkin seed, and organic chia.
The powder gets its flavor and sweetness from organic coconut milk, organic Himalayan pink salt, organic Stevia, and organic monk fruit for the flavoring and sweetness. Plus, there’s a fruit and vegetable blend for additional flavoring.
Peak Performance Grain-Free Complete Plant Protein
Peak Performance grain-free protein has no grain or rice protein. But rather, the protein blend used consists of all organic sources like pea, hemp, sacha inchi (Super seed from a rainforest), pumpkin, white chia, and moringa (SouthAsian plant).
Each serving has 18g of protein and is loaded with amino acids. There’s also healthy Omega-3s for heart health and fiber for digestive health.
But with less than a gram of sugar, no added sweeteners, and all-natural ingredients; it’s hard to go wrong with this quality protein from Peak Performance!
Thorne MediPro Vegan All-In-One-Shake
Thorne Research pumps out the highest quality products possible and the price is a good indicator as well (Although not always the case).
A serving provides 22g of high-quality protein from pea, chlorella, and chia.
And there is a decent dose of fiber (6g), fruits, veggies, digestive enzymes, and probiotics. Plus, this vegan all-in-one shake is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals to support a healthy lifestyle.
What Is A Vegan Protein Powder Made From?
Vegan protein powders are made from plant-based ingredients.
Now, a vegan cannot have any meat, dairy, byproducts, or ingredients derived from animals. This means no eggs, milk, or even honey. (1)
But there are many quality forms of protein which are used in these products. And this varies based on what each protein supplement is trying to achieve with the ingredient profile.
Some companies believe certain protein sources are superior and others opt for a protein blend. But, all have their benefits as explained below.
Common vegan protein sources include:
- Pea – contains all 9 essential amino acids and branched-chain amino acids (Building blocks of protein). Also rich in iron and heart-healthy.
- Brown rice – Healthy source of complex carbs and fiber.
- Soy – Heart healthy protein naturally low in saturated fats and cholesterol. Good source of B vitamins, iron, zinc, and calcium, plus omega-3. (2)
- Hemp – Rich in fatty acids like Omega-3 (Alpha-linoleic) and Omega-6 (Linoleic acid) which are beneficial for heart health.
- Chia seed – Rich in minerals like calcium, iron, and zinc, plus antioxidants.
- Pumpkin seed – Healthy fats, magnesium, zinc, potassium, fiber, folate and antioxidants.
- Sunflower seed – Three common types are linoleic, high oleic, and sunflower oil. They have a healthy amount of fats and are loaded with protein.
- Quinoa –Grain rich in protein, fiber, and B vitamins.
Plant-Based Protein Benefits
According to the American Dietetic Association
“appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.”
A plant-based diet can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even many cancers.
Vegans tend to consume less cholesterol and less saturated fats on average. And they also tend to eat more green plants which contain healthy “plant chemicals,” which also supply a lot of vitamins and minerals. (3)
This lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol, blood pressure, and reduces BMI (Body mass index).
Vegan nutrition is clearly beneficial for health, although we can’t say it’s better than a non-vegan diet in all regards. However, veganism is a lifestyle rather than just a diet and it’s a personal choice too.
Nutrients to Supplement as a Vegan
Most vegan protein powders have sufficient amounts of added nutrients that would be hard to get in a vegan diet. If your diet doesn’t supply enough of these nutrients, make sure you’re getting them through supplementation.
As a vegan, it’s important to supplement with B12 as you can become deficient since this vitamin is almost exclusive to animal-based foods. B12 is important for the health of body cells and is not something you want to be low in. (4)
Vitamin D is also important for bone growth, immune function and human development. So make sure you’re getting food choices fortified with it or use a supplement.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3s are also a concern because the plant-based linoleic acid (ALA) converts into a very small amount of both eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). (5)
These essential fatty acids are very important and can be obtained from fish sources and supplementation.
But, you can meet your Omega-3 needs by consuming a lot of foods rich in ALA.
Vegan Protein vs. Animal Protein
We know that whey protein made from animal milk is an effective and complete source of protein (Contains all 9 essential amino acids). (6)
But when it comes to plant-based proteins, the question of whether it’s nutritionally complete arises.
Well, a recent study compared pea protein to whey protein, and it was concluded that both produce similar results in muscle composition and force production. (7)
But, a concern is the amino acid profile which most plant-based proteins lack one or more essential amino acids. However, a combination of proteins can remedy this and give similar results to whey powder. (6)
So, a nutritionally complete blend of plant-based protein is the best way to go.
If you’re picky about protein (Especially vegan protein) because few seem to fit the bill for what you’re looking for; then give either of our selections a try!
The quality is top-notch and the prices are even better.
Plant-based protein supplementation is a large part of the active vegan lifestyle and it’s worth it to invest in a good product.
These vegan protein powders are complete and will benefit you greatly when it comes to supplying your muscles with quality nutrients.