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Qualities of a Good Vegan Protein Powder
With a lot of companies getting into the business of producing vegan protein powders, it can be difficult to sort the good from the bad. Here are a few things to think about the next time you’re out shopping for a vegan protein powder.
It’s important that you’re getting your money’s worth here. Some companies will try to trick you and claim that while the label says there’s 20 grams of protein per serving, one serving is two scoops as opposed to only one scoop. Therefore, the amount of servings you thought you had immediately decreases by half.
Don’t let cheap tricks like this happen to you. Make sure that the product you plan on buying has somewhere between 15-21 grams of protein per serving as a good rule of thumb. Even if the serving is two scoops, at least make sure you’re aware of the cost you’re paying per serving of protein. Compare this with other similar products and see what gives you the best value for your money.
Make sure that the source of protein you’re getting is from a single, isolated source. These include sources like soy, pea, or hemp isolate. Although this doesn’t necessarily fall into the guidelines of proper complementary protein pairing, it will make it easier to pair complementary proteins at other meals. They don’t all need to happen at one meal. Rather, they can be spread out throughout the day.
Do your best to stick with all-natural sweeteners, like stevia or monk fruit. Artificial sweeteners such as sucralose and sugar alcohols like xylitol are notorious for causing symptoms of gastrointestinal distress such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea .
Be on the lookout for cheap fibers such as chicory root and guar gum. These, along with artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols, can cause gastrointestinal upset . Instead, look for higher quality sources of fiber such as flax seed and prebiotics.
Types of Vegan Protein Powders (blend, pea, etc)
Differences between the different types of plant proteins
While the term “vegan” protein means that the protein is free from animal-based sources of protein and that it is plant-based, that’s really all the name tells us. But there are various sources of proteins that can constitute a vegan protein powder. Some products even blend particular plant-based sources of protein together so that you have an optimal complementary pairing of proteins; similar to the amino acid diversity you’d see in an animal-based protein such as whey.
The primary difference between vegan and animal sources of protein lies in the amounts and types of amino acids that they contain. While each amino acid plays important roles in the body, there are nine that are considered “essential”, meaning that the body can’t produce them on its own. It must obtain them through diet or supplementation. These amino acids are:
Each plant-based protein source contains differing amounts of these amino acids, but they rarely contain all of them. For instance, you’ll commonly see soy protein in vegan protein powders since it has a very high amount of leucine compared to other plant-based sources of protein. Leucine is the most potent activator of a process called muscle protein synthesis, which is vital for muscle growth and recovery.
Another example of this is shown with oats, which are a good source of tryptophan. This amino acid is vital for humans, as it acts as a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is well-known for its effects on mood and emotion .
This is why it’s important to pair complementary proteins together! It’s essentially (no pun intended) taking the best qualities from each different source of protein. This is also why vegan protein powder blends are also becoming widely more popular, as it does the work for you in a sense, already pairing the proteins for you. Pretty cool, I’d say.
Plant Protein vs Other Types of Protein
The primary difference between plant proteins and other sources of protein are that plant proteins often don’t contain all nine essential amino acids, while sources of animal-based proteins do contain all of the essential amino acids. Because of this, it’s necessary for vegans and those following a plant-based diet to pair complementary proteins together so that they receive not only a similar amount of amino acid diversity, but also enough of the nine essential amino acids. This is vital for both achieving one’s body composition and fitness goals, as well as optimal health and wellness.
For example, phenylalanine is responsible for manufacturing tyrosine, which in turn, leads to a cascade that results in the production of dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. Hindering the production of these neurotransmitters could produce serious consequences. In this instance, the reduction of these neurotransmitters (these three are known collectively as catecholamines) such as motor impairment and major depressive mood disorder .
Vegan Protein Powder FAQ
These are some of the most commonly asked questions about vegan protein powders.
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Contents of this Article
- Qualities of a Good Vegan Protein Powder
- Types of Vegan Protein Powders (blend, pea, etc)
- Vegan Protein Powder FAQ
- What are vegan protein powders?
- How do I know if a vegan protein powder is actually vegan?
- What are the benefits of vegan protein powder?
- Why should I take a vegan protein powder?
- Who should take a vegan protein powder?
- Is vegan protein powder as good as whey?
- Is vegan protein powder healthier than whey?
- Is vegan protein powder easy to digest?
- Can vegan protein powders fix a poor diet?
- Are vegan protein powders a waste of money?
- Is it good to drink a vegan protein shake every day?
- What are the realistic expectations of a vegan protein powder?
- Do doctors recommend vegan protein powders?
- Should I take vegan protein powders if I don’t work out?
- Should I take vegan protein powders if I don’t diet properly?
- Can I and should I replace a meal with a vegan protein shake?
- What can make vegan protein powders less effective?
- Can I take vegan protein powders on an empty stomach?
- When is the best time to take a vegan protein powder?
- Should I take vegan protein powders on days I don’t work out?
- Is it okay to take vegan protein powders before bed?
- For how long should I take vegan protein powders?
- Should I take a break from vegan protein powders?
- Can you take too much of a vegan protein powder?
- Are vegan protein powders safe to take?
- Are there any side effects of vegan protein powders?
- Do vegan protein powders cause damage to the kidneys and liver or any other organ?
- Why does vegan protein powder make me gassy?
- Does vegan protein powder cause bloating?
- Can I take a vegan protein powder with other supplements?
- What are some other supplements I should take alongside a vegan protein powder?
- Do vegan protein powders boost the immune system?
- Do vegan protein powders increase testosterone?
- Can you build muscle with vegan protein powder?
- Do vegan protein powders give you more endurance?
- Do vegan protein powders give you energy?
- Do vegan protein powders help burn fat?
- Is vegan protein powder good for weight loss?
- Can vegan protein powders make you stronger?
About the Author
Zachary MacDonald is a fitness professional with a Master’s Degree from The University of Tampa in Exercise & Nutrition Science. He is a certified personal trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), as well as an amateur bodybuilder in the National Physique Committee, the world’s largest amateur organization of bodybuilding! Email Zachary.