The Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) contained in this protein powder help speed up recovery post-workout. Provides a whopping 30g protein per scoop. Gluten-free and contains no added sugar. Easy to make while on the go.
Some users don't like the taste of stevia in this product.
Not only is it organic, it's also gluten-free, soy-free, non-GMO, and free from artificial coloring, flavoring, and preservatives. We love that it's smooth, flavorful, and not at all gritty. Contains no artificial sweeteners.
At 21g per serving, it has a lower protein content than some alternatives.
Provides 24g protein per serving, plus 100% of your RDA of vitamin C and a good amount of B12. Contains a complete amino acid profile, which helps with muscle recovery. Easy to mix and tends to come out lump-free.
Not thick enough for some users.
Features a blend of vitamins and minerals in addition to the protein, plus 6g dietary fiber per serving. Organic formula with natural flavor. With its smooth texture and tasty vanilla flavor, this makes a highly palatable protein shake.
Some users would prefer more than 20g protein per serving.
Stands out for its organic formula containing a mixture of pea protein isolate, sprouted brown rice protein and artichoke protein isolate. Boosts immune system while encouraging weight loss. Variety of flavors available including an unflavored option.
Too sweet for some.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Whether your goal is to build muscle, quell your appetite, or simply make sure you’re getting enough protein each day, a plant-based protein powder can help.
If you're new to the world of protein powders or have always just opted for whichever kind you can find at your local store, choosing a plant-based protein powder can seem daunting. First, you have to decide which type of plant-based protein is right for you. Does it have the nutritional supplementation you need? Is it palatable? Are there any additives in the powder that you wish to embrace or avoid?
At BestReviews, we focused our research on plant-based protein powders and put together this in-depth guide to help you find the perfect plant-based protein powder for your needs.
If you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, you've probably heard the question, "Where do you get your protein?" Well, if you're worried about your protein intake, a plant-based protein powder will help you out.
Even if you're not vegan or vegetarian, however, you can benefit from this type of supplement. Plant-based proteins are effective at building muscle, and they're more environmentally friendly than foods that contain animal products.
Plant-based protein powders use various vegan sources of protein. Some of the most common sources are soy, peas, brown rice, and hemp, though these are by no means the only types available.
Soy protein powder
Soy protein isolate is an extremely common protein source for plant-based protein powders. It consists of 90% protein, from which much of the fat, carbohydrates, and other non-protein ingredients have been removed. As a result, soy protein has a neutral flavor that blends well with many other ingredients.
Pea protein powder
Containing plenty of soluble fiber and branched chain amino acids, pea protein powder is another excellent protein source for plant-based protein powders. Although it's slightly less protein-rich than soy, it's ideal for people who are allergic to soy or grains or who choose to avoid them.
Brown rice protein powder
While rice is naturally high in carbs and not especially high in protein, brown rice protein powder is created by removing about 80% of the starch from brown rice. Consequently, brown rice protein powder is high in protein and free of most allergens. Although brown rice protein powder contains an essential amino acid called methionine, it lacks other amino acids, so if you opt for it, make sure you eat a variety of other proteins as well.
Hemp protein powder
One of the few plant-based sources that contains 20 amino acids, including all nine essential amino acids, hemp protein powder is undoubtedly good for you. It also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. On the downside, it has quite a strong taste that can be difficult to mask with other flavors.
Mixed protein powder
Many plant-based protein powders contain multiple protein sources rather than just one. Blending different types of protein gives you a more complete nutrient and amino acid profile, and it can improve the texture of a protein shake.
Some people choose to avoid foods that contain genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Fortunately, there are some GMO-free protein powders available on today’s market that are plant based.
If you’re allergic to or intolerant of dairy products, a plant-based protein powder provides a viable alternative to consuming dairy and whey protein powder.
While you can find unflavored plant-based protein powders, most come pre-flavored. Vanilla and chocolate are perhaps the two most common protein powder flavors, but there are a wide range of other options as well, from peanut butter to fruity flavors.
If you only intend to make simple shakes with non-dairy milk or water, just choose the flavor that most appeals to you. However, if you'll be adding your protein powder to smoothies, consider the flavor profile you're going for. For instance, chocolate protein powder might be nice in a smoothie with banana and nut butter, but it would taste out of place in a green smoothie.
Since the whole point of protein powder is to consume more protein, you’ll of course want to consider the protein content of your chosen brand. Ideally, you should choose a brand that offers at least 20 grams of protein per serving. If you're trying to build a lot of muscle, however, you may wish to investigate options that have 30 grams of protein or more per serving. Also look at the serving size, as some brands may seem to have more protein than others while, in truth, the label is depicting a larger serving size.
Although not as packed with protein as some alternatives, Orgain Organic Vegan Protein Powder still contains a respectable 21g of protein per serving, which isn't to be sniffed at. Not only does this option work out to be very affordable, it's also made with organic ingredients, which is a bonus for many buyers.
It's rare for plant-based protein powders to contain refined sugar, but flavored options usually contain some kind of sweetener. These usually fall into one of two categories: natural sugars and artificial sweeteners.
Natural sugars such as coconut sugar, maple syrup, molasses, fructose, and monk fruit may be slightly healthier than refined white sugar, but they are still essentially sugar, albeit in different forms.
Artificial sweeteners such as xylitol and aspartame are sweet, but they don't contain sugar or add calories. However, many people prefer to avoid artificial sweeteners due to the taste and/or the unknown impact of artificial sweeteners on human health.
Stevia is a natural sweetener made from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. It bridges the gap between natural sugars and artificial sweeteners, as it's completely natural but doesn't contain calories or affect blood sugar.
Plant-based protein powders aren't 100% protein. They should also contain nutrients such as fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Check the nutritional information to see what you're getting from your protein powder. You may also want to check the calorie count.
Do you prefer to consume foods that have not been treated with pesticides? If so, you can find a range of organic plant-based protein powders.
A small handful of plant-based protein powders contain honey as a sweetener, making them unsuitable for vegans.
Since plant-based protein powders come in a variety of sizes, look at the price by weight to figure out if you're getting a good deal. The most affordable options work out to be less than $10 per pound, whereas the most expensive options can cost up to $30 per pound.
Look for plant-based protein powders that contain branched chain amino acids. These help to speed up post-workout recovery.
Consider whether your chosen plant-based protein powder is sustainably sourced. If you choose to eat a plant-based diet for environmental reasons, this might be important to you.
Decide whether you want an all-natural option. You can find various all-natural and even raw plant-based protein powders, which is great if you try to avoid artificial additives.
Q. How much protein powder should I consume each day?
A. The average person should probably only consume one serving of plant-based protein powder each day. However, if you exercise heavily or are looking to gain muscle as part of a workout routine, you may wish to consume two or three servings per day to help meet your protein requirements. Serving sizes vary between brands, so check the packaging to find out the appropriate amount to drink in each shake.
Q. Can I replace meals with plant-based protein powder shakes?
A. Protein powders are designed to be drunk in addition to a regular, healthy diet, particularly before or after workouts, to help meet the additional protein requirements for building muscle. You shouldn't replace full meals with protein powder alone because it doesn't contain the proper balance of nutrients (such as fiber, carbohydrates, and vitamins) to sustain your body. However, it's a fairly common practice to drink a smoothie for breakfast with a scoop or two of protein powder added in. If your plant-based protein powder is blended with fruits and/or veggies, you'll get enough nutrients to see you through to your next meal.
Q. Can you buy grain-free protein powder?
A. The vast majority of protein powders are grain free. Simply avoid brown rice protein, and your choice will most likely be free of any grains.
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