- 1 The Hype Over Vegan Protein Powder
- 2 Vegan Protein Powders
- 3 Review Of The Best Vegan Protein Powder 2019
- 4 Top-Rated Vegan Protein Powders Comparison Chart
- 5 Protein Powder FAQs
People have been on the search for the best vegan protein powder, and honestly, there are a lot of opinions on the huge collection of vegan protein powders on the market.
In this article, we would like to introduce the basics of protein powders, especially vegan, as well as famous brands to choose from (of course, with ratings as well).
The Hype Over Vegan Protein Powder
Role of Protein
We know that proteins are a crucial macronutrient in our diets. They are broken down into amino acids that build muscles in our body, keeping our abs and triceps visible.
However, little do most people know, there are 22 different amino acids, all of the same importance. Among them, 13 are produced by our bodies. The remaining 9 can only be obtained through specific food sources.
Therefore, in order to get all the important amino acids, it is advisable to follow diets that include different sources of proteins.
As simple as it may sound, it can be challenging to many people, especially those on diets with strict restrictions of certain foods that happen to be rich in the crucial amino acids.
That’s where protein powders come into play.
Types of protein powders
Most protein powders are extracted from animals, milk or plants. Here’s the list:
- Whey Protein
- Casein Protein
- Hemp Protein
- Pea Protein
- Egg Protein
- Brown Rice Protein
- Plant-based Protein
With inconvenient access to different sources, most manufacturers use only one source of complete protein, which has both its ups and downs. We’ll have this discussion in the FAQs section below.
Uses of protein powders
As a rule of thumb, it’s important to try to get nutrients from real food, vegetables, and meat, whenever possible. They are as nutritious and taste even better than protein powders.
That is why we do not recommend replacing real foods with protein powder. If you have access to a healthy diet, that would be so great for your body.
However, for people with specific needs and conditions, things can be a bit different:
Bodybuilders, athletes, or those who wish to build a stronger body with more muscles and less fat demand a diet extra-rich in protein. When three meals a day doesn’t meet the protein demand, protein shakes are a go-to option.
Being considerate of your weight proves that you care about your own health, which is commendable. The key to losing fat is to be aware of your calorie consumption.
So, if you decide to eat less to reduce calorie intake and are afraid of not having an adequate amount of nutrients, drinking protein shakes in between your meals may be helpful.
Some have been excluding meat from their diet for many reasons, and that is honorable. However, meat of all kinds is important for humans as they contain the whole spectrum of essential amino acids. To get these amino acids from a vegan diet, one must include as many sources of protein as possible, and this is difficult.
For this reason, most vegans or vegetarians lack crucial amino acids due to their non-diverse diets, but they don’t have to. Thanks to plant-based protein powders, this is still completely correctable.
Vegan Protein Powders
Vegan, or plant-based protein powders, are made up of either one (pea, hemp, brown rice, etc.) or more plants to provide various types of amino acids. They are less common in comparison to whey or milk-based protein powders, but are gaining popularity for the following reasons:
They Suit Those With Lactose Or Casein Intolerance Or Sensitivity
Lactose (a type of sugar) and casein (a type of protein) are often found in milk. The duo can separately or simultaneously cause reactions among those sensitive to them, which include from mild irritations on your skin or lips, to serious conditions such as shortness of breath. .
With neither lactose nor casein, vegan protein powders are the safest bet for those with intolerance.
They Don’t Contribute To Greenhouse Gas Emission
Whey and casein protein powders are extracted from cow milk, which increases the need to raise dairy cows, hence contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. Dairy farms are responsible for up to 18% of greenhouse gas, which contributes to global warming.
Meanwhile, plants don’t fart. On the contrary, they even create oxygen for breathing, and the right plants can provide just as many amino acids as a piece of meat.
Review Of The Best Vegan Protein Powder 2019
Because understanding your different needs when looking for a protein powder is important, we categorized our selections to make your decision easier.
Here’s our picks for the Best Vegan Protein Powders.
- Designer Protein Organic Pro 30 – Best Vegan Protein Supply For Bodybuilders
- Garden Of Life Sport Vegan Protein – Runner-Up Protein Powder For Bodybuilders
- Garden Of Life Meal Replacement – Vegan Protein Best For Nutritional Values
- Vega One Organic All-in-One Shake – Vegan Protein Powder For Nutritional Values
- NuZest Clean Lean Protein – Best Vegan Protein Powder In Flavor Diversity
- Golden Source Proteins – Runner-Up Vegan Protein Powder In Flavor Diversity
- NAKED nutrition Pea Protein – Best Vegan Protein Powder With Single Protein Source
- NAKED nutrition Brown Rice Protein – Runner-Up Vegan With Single Protein Source
Top-Rated Vegan Protein Powders Comparison Chart
A quick overview on the vegan protein powders in this section:
|Vegan Protein Powder||Protein per Serving||Micronutrients||Flavors||Sizes||Amino Acids|
|Designer Protein Organic Pro 30|
|Garden Of Life Sport||30||8 minerals||2||2||9|
|Garden Of Life Meal Replacement||20||13 vitamins|
|Vega One Organic All-in-one Shake||20||12 vitamins|
|NuZest Clean Lean Protein||21||7 minerals||13||7||9|
|Golden Source Proteins||14||1 vitamins|
|NAKED nutrition Pea Protein||27||4 minerals||4||2||9|
|NAKED nutrition Brown Rice Protein||25||4 minerals||1||2||9|
Best Protein Supply for Bodybuilders
Bodybuilders have a higher demand in terms of protein intake. Also, since their bodies get bigger over time, other micronutrients are needed in increased amounts as well.
Here are our two picks that satisfy both criteria:
1. Designer Protein Organic Pro 30 Organic Performance Protein – Best Vegan Protein Supply For Bodybuilders
Designer Protein’s base lies in southern California, a sunny beachside community. Founded in 1993, they aim to provide products at the highest quality possible, for customers pursuing a healthy and active lifestyle.
Although the company has come up with many kinds of protein powders, the team and I find Designer Protein Organic Pro 30 to stand out among the rest, with its richness in proteins and calories (30g proteins and 170 calories per serving).
As a protein supply aimed at athletes, it is not common to see one containing micronutrients. This, however, is different. It is a plus to the Organic Pro 30 for having adequate amounts of vitamins A, C, B2, B3, B12 and minerals such as Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, and Phosphorus.
In terms of flavors, there are only two available: Vanilla and Chocolate. Personally, we prefer Chocolate, and it seems to be favored as well.
2. Garden Of Life Sport Vegan Protein – Runner-Up Vegan Protein Powder For Bodybuilders
If the product info isn’t convincing enough, and you need a trusty brand, Garden Of Life is just the right choice.
For starters, this Sport Organic Plant-Based Protein gives 30 grams of protein per serving, with all 9 crucial amino acids and 8 important minerals. Thus, along with other products, the ingredients are organic (approved by USDA).
And, since you’re looking for a vegan protein powder, I’ll take a wild guess that protecting the environment is also of your interest. If so, this product might be perfect for you.
All products from Garden Of Life are certified by Green-e Energy organization, which means is by purchasing products from Garden Of Life, you are contributing to making the Earth a greener planet.
In terms of sizes and flavors, it comes in two for each, more than Designer Protein Organic Pro 30. However, we decided to place it second for it having less micronutrients.
If your first try with the product goes smoothly, subscription for product delivery every 1, 2, 3, 4… months is available.
Vegan Protein Powders with the Best Nutrient Supply
If a bulky physique isn’t your aim, but a healthier and leaner body is, a protein shake with 9 amino acids and necessary micronutrients at the required amounts is perfect.
3. Garden Of Life Meal Replacement protein powder – Best Vegan Protein Powder For Nutrition Values
While the previous product for athletes and bodybuilders, Garden Of Life also has a more wholesome protein shake: the Meal Replacement – Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder.
Similar to most other protein powders, it contains 20 grams of protein per serving and only a small amount of different carbs and fats.
What makes it so special is that the protein powder was extracted from 44 different kinds of vegetables! With such diversity, it offers 50% of the daily recommended value of 13 crucial vitamins and adequate amounts of 8 important minerals.
What’s even better is that it comes in more flavors and sizes to choose from than the others: 4 flavors and 3 sizes.
4. Vega One Organic All-in-One Shake vegan protein powder – Runner-up Vegan Protein Powder For Nutrient Values
Garden of Life is a famous brand in the food supplement market, so it is understandable that sometimes the product is out of stock. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Here’s why Vega belongs to one of our selections:
- Their ingredients are organic, certified by the USDA.
- They care about plastic waste, air pollution, and poor people.
Here’s why their products should be chosen:
- Packed with nutrients, not just proteins.
- Gluten free, grain free, non-GMO, vegan, preservatives and artificial sweetener free.
- Available in different flavors.
- Made from pea, hemp, flax seeds, and many more.
There are complete and incomplete protein foods. Complete protein foods provide all 9 crucial amino acids, while incomplete protein foods can’t.
Pea, hemp, flax seeds, etc., are considered to be complete protein sources, although not in adequate required amounts. Put together in Vega One Organic All-in-One Shake, they provide adequate daily value of amino acids for one serving in a meal.
As a plus, it also provides 50% DV of 12 vitamins and 6 minerals in a single serving. It is a nice substitution to Garden Of Life Meal Replacement,
And, as an extra feature, the product contains 2 billion CFUs bacillus coagulans. These bacteria are known to “improve the vaginal flora, improve abdominal pain and bloating in irritable bowel syndrome patients, and increase immune response to viral challenges”, according to healthline.
With The Most Flavors
To those who are concerned with having a healthy lifestyle but are picky about taste, here are the most nutritious protein powders that come in many flavors:
5. NuZest Clean Lean Protein powder – Best Vegan Protein Powder In Flavor Diversity
Not just a protein powder producer, NuZest also has other nutritious products that are mostly plant-based. People have been going crazy for their Just Fruit & Veg product line, both for the taste and the nutritional values.
Of course, their Clean Lean Protein still deserves better attention for good reasons.
The Clean Lean Protein has its proteins from organic split peas, a complete protein source. The product promises to contain all 9 necessary amino acids for the human body, in good amounts as well (21 grams of proteins in 1 serving).
And here’s the most important reason: there are up to 13 flavors and 7 sizes. The flavors and sweeteners are to be natural and contain no added sugar.
6. Golden Source vegan Proteins powder – Runner-Up Vegan Protein Powder In Flavor Diversity
Although not as big as other producers of protein powders, Golden Source claims to have their protein powders made with organic ingredients only.
And as being listed, their Organic Plant-Based Protein Mix contains all 9 crucial amino acids from split pea and brown rice – 2 superfoods and almost complete protein sources.
Hence, the addition of 12 organic fruits assures that it won’t have the typical protein flavor
Despite the 12 flavors it comes in, their nutrition profile isn’t the strongest: 14 grams of proteins, small amounts of Vitamin D and 3 minerals per serving.
Therefore, it’s better to be consumed as a beverage, rather than a meal replacement for diets.
Subscription is available on Amazon.
One-ingredient protein powders
When it comes to single-ingredient protein powder, NAKED Nutrition is proud to present their product line, made using the “purest ingredients” with no additives.
What’s best about NAKED Nutrition is that they take into account what goes in their protein powder jars and make sure the name speaks its content. Hence the name “NAKED”.
Among their vegan protein shakes, brown rice and pea protein stand out as the most nutritious on their own:
7. NAKED Nutrition Pea Protein powder – Best Vegan Protein Powder With Single Protein Source
Pea protein powder is different from ground dried peas; the product is mostly free of starch and fiber and contains all 9 crucial amino acids along with the micronutrients that split peas have.
Also, the split peas used for making this protein powder are carefully selected from non-GMO and completely organic farms in the US and Canada.
Its taste is a different story. Since the taste of plain pea could be unappealing to some, NAKED Nutrition Pea Protein comes in additional 3 other flavors.
8. NAKED nutrition Brown Rice Protein powder – Runner-Up With Single Protein Source
Similar to the pea protein powder, NAKED nutrition Brown Rice Protein is made from organic plants, sprouted brown rice to be exact, which provides nothing but good amounts of amino acids and micronutrients.
In response to concerns regarding the lack of diversity in flavor, the manufacturer claims to put no additives in their products as a commitment to the brand NAKED Nutrition.
For both products, there are 25 – 27 grams of proteins and only 120 calories. It is perfect to consume as a workout supplement.
All two products are subscribable.
Protein Powder FAQs
Can we mix it in smoothies or juice?
Smoothies are just delicious, to most people and to me. So, its taste and texture can enhance the flavor of your protein shake.
Although, some others prefer mixing the powder with water only, and I have to say, that’s not quite my cup of tea. Then again, mixing your protein powder with either water or smoothies depends on you.
When it comes to smoothies or juice, some people are concerned about which fruits to choose. Juice from fruits like pineapple dissolves meat, and some people fear that proteins are destroyed and unusable in this manner.
This is because pineapple juice contains a protein-dissolving enzyme that breaks proteins down into amino acids. Therefore, it might be even better to add pineapple in your smoothie.
How often should we replace our meals with protein shakes?
Although we previously mentioned it is not good to replace all meals with protein shakes, some diets, specifically to lose fat, may require several meal replacements throughout the week.
By replacing meals with protein shakes, carbs and fats are greatly reduced from your diet while protein intake is increased.
The point of having more proteins is to build up the muscles in your body, thus allowing you to burn more calories as everyday activities take place.
Some people are concerned about looking bulkier and heavier once lots of proteins are taken. In fact, one kilogram of muscles have less volume than a kilogram of fat. Gaining muscles makes you look leaner, not bigger.
However, this isn’t an excuse to replace every single meal of the day with protein shakes.
Carbohydrates and fats are just as essential to the human body as proteins are, so a lack of these can cause severe health consequences.
Therefore, it is better to replace only one meal of the day with a protein shake. If you exercise regularly as well, do consider when to take protein shakes.
When to take protein shakes?
It depends on your purpose.
If your aim is to build muscle, drinking your shake within 2 hours after working out would be the most appropriate time frame. It’s the time when our bodies promote protein metabolism
If your aim is to lose weight, it is better to consume protein powder as a snack in between meals to satiate yourself, making it easier to eat less.
Meal replacements vs protein powders
Just as the name implies, meal replacements could be seen as food turned into powder, substitutable for meals.
Protein powders, on the other hand, usually contain a high amount of proteins, and typically low of other nutrients, in their ingredients.
So, to put it simply, protein powders contain more proteins, whereas meal replacements are rich overall in both macro and micro nutrients.
But that’s not all. Meal replacements contain more carbs and fats than protein powders, because it was originally meant to be fulfilling once consumed.
Therefore, it is advisable not to mistakenly substitute all meals with protein shakes. If you wish to have quick meals, meal replacement is more appropriate.
Which is better? One-ingredient or Multi-plant protein powder?
First, it’s important to say that both exist for good reasons, because they have their very own characteristics.
A good multi-plant protein powder gets its proteins from different plants and hence, contains all the 9 crucial amino acids and important micronutrients.
A one-ingredient protein powder, as the name implies, is made of a single plant that is also a “complete protein”, such as brown rice or split peas. A complete protein is a kind of food that contains lots of nutrients. Therefore, protein powders made of which guarantee to provide all 9 crucial amino acids.
Some might say that multi-plant protein powders are obviously the superior option to the other. However, one-ingredient protein powders are still chosen for three good reasons.
The first reason is that the name on the ingredient list is readable and relatable. Somehow, familiarity wins.
The second reason is that you don’t have to worry whether or not you’re allergic to any of the ingredients or not, since… there is only one of them.
Plus, being made of one ingredient, the flavor should be pure rather than a mixed concoction. If you do enjoy the taste of peas or brown rice, you’re in luck.
That being said, your decision is ultimately made by your preference. I still prefer multi-plant protein powder mix with my strawberry smoothies, while my sister enjoys her brown rice protein powder mix with warm water.