If you’re looking for the best plant protein powders to buy this year, then you’ve come to the right place.
You can also get more info by jumping to our Plant Protein Powders Guide.
Top 10 Plant Protein Powders
|#1||Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein Powder||More Info|
|#2||Sunwarrior – Warrior Blend||More Info|
|#3||PlantFusion Complete, 100% Plant Based Protein Powder||More Info|
|#4||Vega Protein & Greens||More Info|
|#5||Garden of Life Organic Greens and Protein Powder||More Info|
|#6||Naturade Vegansmart All-in-one Nutritional Shake||More Info|
|#7||Jarrow Formulas Optimal Plant Proteins||More Info|
|#8||Nutiva Organic Plant Protein Superfood||More Info|
|#9||Purely Inspired Organic Protein Shake||More Info|
|#10||Now Foods Plant Protein Complex||More Info|
There are plenty of people who assume that plant based protein powders are only meant for vegans, but that is not the case. In reality, they have a lot to offer to most athletes. The key to putting them to good use is to understand the traits that make them different from other protein powders, and to use them in a way that takes advantage of those unique qualities.
What is Plant Based Protein Powder?
Plant based protein powder includes any protein supplement that comes from a plant, rather than those that are made from animal products, such as whey or eggs. There are a huge number of plants that can be used to make the powder. Peas are a common choice, as are legumes such as lentils and peanuts.
Manufacturers love to use them because they naturally have a very high concentration of protein. Rice, hemp, and even pumpkin are also used by many manufacturers. Each ingredient brings a different blend of nutrients to the powder, and it can also have a big impact on its taste and texture.
In many cases, manufacturers prefer to use a mix of ingredients rather than a single type. They do so because many individual plants are low in one or two amino acids. A blend that includes plants with different strengths ensures that the powder provides an adequate supply of every amino acid. In some cases, it can also help to produce a superior flavor or texture for the blend.
Benefits of Plant Based Protein Powder
Plant based powders offer a variety of benefits. Some of them are entirely nutritional, but the powders also offer benefits to people who want to protect the environment or help animals.
Allergic reactions to animal based powders are surprisingly common. Whey is the most common culprit, since many people who are sensitive to lactose have an adverse reaction to it. Egg allergies are also a concern for many people. Plant based powders provide an alternative choice, since the wide variety of options ensures that most people can find a powder that does not provoke a reaction.
Plant powders also provide some nutrients that other powders tend to lack. In particular, plant based powders usually contain significantly more fiber than the alternatives. Fiber can help to improve digestive health, reduce cholesterol levels, and even help to maintain a healthy weight for some individuals. Most people don’t get nearly as much fiber as they should, so choosing a supplement that can provide it along with a dose of protein can be a great way to improve a diet without any extra work.
The environmental benefits are also significant. Cattle farming consumes a huge amount of water and generates a large part of the world’s greenhouse cases. It’s terrible for the environment, but it continues to exist because of the huge demand for animal products. Anything that reduces that demand will reduce the industry’s impact on the environment. Protein powder makes up a relatively small part of the demand for animal products, but it still has an impact. Every little bit helps when it comes to the environment.
In contrast, agriculture that focuses on plants has a much smaller impact on the environment. Plants can produce just as much protein as animals, but they do it with fewer energy inputs and while using only a fraction of the water that animals use. They also remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as part of their normal metabolic function instead of releasing more greenhouse gases.
All of that means that the environmental impact of a plant based protein powder is massively lower than the impact of a powder that uses animal ingredients, so all environmentalists should strive to use plant based powders whenever they can.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Side effects are rare, but they do happen from time to time. In most cases, people only suffer side effects if they have an unusual sensitivity to one of the ingredients in the powder, or if they take an excessive amount at once. The precise side effects vary from one ingredient to the next.
Some people experience digestive problems from consuming soy in large quantities. Since soy is a legume, it’s a fairly common ingredient in many plant based protein powders. People who know that they are sensitive to soy have two options for dealing with this side effect. The easiest is to simply choose a powder that does not include any soy. That needs to be done with care, since most blends do include it, but it isn’t particularly difficult to find a good one that does not.
Alternatively, consuming the powder in smaller doses can also resolve the problem. This is a great option for people who are only mildly sensitive to soy, but people with a more severe sensitivity will usually find that they need to avoid it altogether.
Contamination is a concern in a small number of powders, especially those that include rice. The most common problem is contamination with traces of heavy metals, which are absorbed by the rice while they grow. Fortunately, the problem is usually restricted to cheap, low-quality powders.
Rice that comes from areas with strict agricultural regulations will almost never include heavy metals, but it does cost a little bit more than unregulated rice. Cheaper powders use the unregulated rice, while even intermediate powders usually use the safer, regulated rice supply. Simply choosing a quality powder will avoid this problem.
How to Take Plant Based Protein Powder
Plant based protein powders can be used in the same way as other powders. Most people take them immediately after the workout to help get through the recovery period and maximize their gains.
Preparing the powder is fairly easy. Some people like to bake with them to boost the protein in bread, but most people mix them with a vegan milk substitute and drink them. Many of these substitutes, such as soy milk, are made from the same ingredients as the powder.
People who use a powder that is missing one or two amino acids can often supplement it by mixing it with a milk substitute that does contain that amino acid. Most plant powders have fairly neutral flavors, so people who buy unflavored powders often include some fruit or another flavoring in their drink to make it more palatable. Those who do so need to make sure that they choose a healthy flavoring to make sure they don’t counteract the benefits of their workout.
What to Look for in a Good Plant Based Protein Powder
The most important factor in any powder blend is the nutritional content. In most cases, it’s best to look for one that offers a complete protein. Some pure powders can do so, but that usually means picking a protein powder that comes from a blend of several different plants.
Fiber content is not quite as important as protein, but it is still important, so most people will want to find a mix that offers as much fiber as possible without sacrificing any protein. Some blends will also offer other nutrients, such as vitamins, but those are less important because most people can get them from other foods.
Quality is also a concern, since inferior powders are prone to side effects. The best way to identify a quality powder is to look for reviews, but that isn’t the only option. Look for powders that have been on the market for a long time and offer clear nutritional information.
Avoid any powders that look significantly cheaper than their competitors, since that usually indicates a company that is willing to sacrifice quality to cut costs. While these strategies are not substitute for thorough, they will help to avoid the worst powders and narrow down the choices.