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  • Writer's pictureEthan Lazuk

Vegan Protein Powder: The Best Plant-Based Protein Powders for Shakes & More

Since vegans don't eat animal products, they have to get their protein from plant-based sources. Eating enough protein is important for health (repairing cells and making new ones) and for developing bodies. Protein powder is an easy way to supplement a person's daily protein intake. However, many protein powders contain whey or other protein sources that aren't vegan. Luckily, there are plenty of vegan protein powders on the market.

In this article, we'll explain what vegan protein powder is, list the different types of plant-based proteins available in protein powder, give recommendations for the best vegan protein powders for sale, and answer common questions about protein powder.

What is Vegan Protein Powder?

Protein powder is a water-soluble nutritional supplement commonly used in shakes. Protein powders are commonly used by bodybuilders and people who go to the gym, but protein powder can also be used by any person who needs more protein in their diet. Getting enough protein is particularly important for vegans who tend to eat a lot of low-protein fruits and vegetables. Protein powders are commonly made with whey or casein as protein sources, but neither of these ingredients is vegan. To be a vegan protein powder, the main protein source (and all other ingredients) must be plant based.

Types of Vegan Protein Powder

There are different types of plant-based proteins used in vegan protein powders. Below are some of the most common:

Soy Protein

Soy protein is isolated from soybeans. Soybean protein is considered a "complete protein" because it contains essential amino acids. Soy protein is one of the less expensive options for plant-based proteins. Therefore, soy-based protein powders tend to be more affordable than other options.

Pea Protein

Pea protein comes from yellow and green split peas, the protein-rich cousin of sweet peas. According to the National Library of Medicine, pea protein can be used as an alternative to whey-based protein products. Pea protein contains branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), including leucine, isoleucine, and valine, which help with muscle growth.

Hemp Protein

Hemp protein is derived from hemp seeds, which are actually a type of nut. Although hemp seeds come from the cannabis plant, hemp does not contain euphoric compounds and won't make you high. Hemp protein is not a complete protein like soy because hemp protein does not contain lysine, an essential amino acid.

Chia Protein

Chia protein is derived from chia seeds, which come from a plant in the mint family known as Salvia hispanica. In addition to being a source of protein, chia seeds are also a source of the B vitamins thiamin and niacin and are rich in dietary minerals like calcium, magnesium, and zinc.

Common Questions About Vegan Protein Powder

After knowing the types of vegan protein powder and popular brands to buy, you may still have questions about plant-based protein powders. Here are the most common questions answered.

What does a protein powder do for you?

According to MedicalNews Today, protein powder helps the body build muscle, repair tissue, and manufacture enzymes and hormones. Protein powder can also aid in toning muscles, promoting weight loss, and recovering after workouts. For vegans, plant-based protein powder can help them reach their recommended daily intake of protein.

Is it good to drink protein powder every day?

According to verywell fit, protein powder can be a tool for people who live busy lives and need help getting enough protein. However, protein powder should not be used as a replacement for naturally derived protein sources, as this can lead to deficiencies in nutrients over time. Rather than rely on a daily protein powder drink, vegans should look to incorporate protein-rich foods into their regular diet, such as chickpeas.

What are side effects of protein powder?

According to Harvard Medical School, protein powders have several risks, including protein powders are considered dietary supplements and not reviewed by the FDA, there is limited data on the long-term effects of using protein powders, protein powders may cause digestive distress (although this is less of a concern for plant-based protein powders than milk-based products), and some protein powders may be high in added sugars and calories.

How much protein do I need a day?

To calculate your recommended protein intake, you can use this calculator from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. According to Harvard Medical School, you can estimate your daily protein intake in grams by multiplying your body weight in pounds by 0.36.

(More information coming!)

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