The 10 Types Of Vegan Protein Powders
Author : Amal Rahiman
During the early days of veganism, one of the main issues faced by many was to ensure proper protein intake.
Proteins are the building blocks of our body necessary for cell repair and growth. Our bodies cannot store protein like how it stores fat, and thus we need to make sure we consume the required amount of protein daily.
The choices of high protein foods for vegans include quinoa, hemp seeds, buckwheat, soy, and chia seeds. These foods contain all 9 essential amino acids that our body needs, and hence are called complete proteins.
Although a diet rich in lentils, beans, legumes, pulses, nuts, seeds, and mixed veggies can provide your daily protein intake, it may be difficult at times to reach your protein goals on busy days, or you may just have a high protein goal to achieve, which may be possible only through supplements.
Thus began the demand for vegan protein powders.
Regular protein powders contain whey or casein – both come from dairy. They may also contain egg whites – a favourite among non-vegans due to their high protein content, or carmine – an ingredient taken from insects.
But vegan protein powders are made from nuts, seeds, and even algae – making it absolutely animal-friendly! Although these protein powders were mostly made from soy protein before, now there’s a wide variety of options to choose from. You can use just one or mix 2 or 3 powders according to your taste and protein goals.
For best results, make sure to buy powders that are natural, with no added sugar or additives.
Let’s have a look at the protein powder options we have available.
1. Soy Protein: Made from soybean meal, it is the most common source of protein available to vegans. Its high protein content is the only one that comes the closest to the profile of animal protein. With a whopping 81g of protein in each 100g of soy powder, it is the market leader in supplemental protein for vegans.
2. Pea Protein: The runner-up to soy protein but may just overtake soy in popularity in the near future. It is the closest alternative to whey protein, as they both contain the most important amino acids that we need. 80% of its composition is just protein, thus making it a protein-rich ingredient.
3. Hemp Protein: Made from hemp seeds, hemp protein has a similar profile to that of eggwhites, making it a protein rich source all on its own. It has a lower protein content per serving when compared with soy and pea, but that can be easily corrected by increasing the serving size or mixing it with other protein powders. It is also a perfect choice for those with lower protein goals.
4. Brown Rice Protein: Although it is not a complete protein – it does not contain all of the essential amino acids- it is still a good source of protein when mixed with other powders. A study conducted in 2020 found that rice protein is a good aid to supporting muscle growth, similar to what whey protein does.
5. Quinoa Protein: A protein taken from the quinoa seed. It is considered to be a complete protein like that of pea protein, but only when consumed as whole quinoa. During the protein isolation process, quinoa loses some of its nutrients, which is why it is usually mixed with other protein powders, and not taken as an isolate. If taken as whole quinoa, the nutrients will not be affected.
6. Sunflower Seed Protein: With a protein content of 45g per 100g of powder, it is not as protein-heavy as the most common vegan protein powders, but it does give a good dose of fiber, biotin, and vitamin E. This is a good choice for those who are looking for lower protein content but would like to make use of the other nutrients present in sunflower seeds.
7. Pumpkin Seed Protein: Although not a complete protein, it does contain high doses of antioxidants, zinc, and iron. It is best to be combined with other protein powderssince it has a minimal amount of lysine – an essential amino acid. But due to its high nutritional content, it is a common ingredient in many vegan protein powders.
8. Chickpea Protein: With 19g of protein per 100g of powder, it is not protein-rich, nor is it a complete protein, but it aids in muscle strength, and weight loss. It is rich in nutrients, particularly in manganese and vitamin B9, and thus would be a good powder to mix with other complete proteins and reap its nutritional benefits.
9. Sacha Inchi Protein (Inca nut, Mountain peanut): Another great option for a complete protein. It provides 26g of protein per 100g of powder, higher than most nuts or seeds. This superfood is also super high in fatty acids like omega-3s, along with omega-6s, and omega-9s. It is a nutrient-dense food (and hence the term superfood), aiding in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, improving muscle growth, and a myriad of other health benefits.
10. Spirulina: Algae, blue-green algae, cyanobacteria – spirulina has many names, but the most important point is that it is neither a plant nor an animal. It is a bacterium and thus is vegan-friendly. It is high in protein, with at least 55% of its composition being protein. It is also high in micronutrients, and it is a complete protein.
As you can see, giving up on whey protein is not really much of a loss, as the options among plant-based proteins are many, and they can also be combined to your liking to hit your daily protein goals.
Disclaimer: The content provided in this article is provided for information purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice and consultation, including professional medical advice and consultation; it is provided with the understanding that HerbivoPvt. Ltd. is not engaged in the provision or rendering of medical advice or services. The opinions and content included in the article are the views of the author only, and Herbivo does not endorse or recommend any such content or information, or any product or service mentioned in the article. You understand and agree that Herbivo shall not be liable for any claim, loss, or damage arising out of the use of, or reliance upon any content or information in the article.