The 5 Best Vegan Protein Powders (Our 2019 Review)
Protein is one of the most essential parts of our diet, and animal products like meat, eggs, and dairy are the most common sources of this essential nutrient.
However, a lot of people avoid eating animal products because they have been associated with a number of health risks, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Others opt for vegan protein sources because of their special dietary needs (e.g., lactose intolerance or sensitivity to dairy).
No matter what your reasoning is behind refraining from consuming animal products, if you add vegan protein powders to your diet, you won't miss out on the protein that your body needs.
These plant-based powders can be easily mixed into smoothies and pancakes, or could be used as your meal replacement. If you’re working out, the adequate amount of protein in a plant-based meal-replacement shake can help you gain muscle. Further, these protein powders can also be used to assist with your weight-loss goals.
You might be wondering, what are the sources of vegan protein powders? The most popular plant sources are:
The protein isolate from brown rice is high in the amino acid methionine. Most users find that protein powder from brown rice does not dissolve easily in water, and it possesses a grainy texture that makes it less attractive for consumption.
The protein in hemp contains the complete amino acids that our bodies need. Hemp is also a good source of heart-friendly omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Users usually comment on the vegetable-like aftertaste of hemp protein powder.
Legumes (such as peas) contain more amino acids than rice. Peas are commonly the main ingredient in plant-based protein powders. They are rich in soluble fiber, which is why pea-based powders thicken with the addition of water.
Protein powders made from pumpkin are usually the best tasting variety. The powder easily mixes and dissolves in water. Aside from being high in protein, it is a rich source of essential minerals such as zinc. Users also comment on its unique aftertaste.
In this post, we’ve reviewed the five best vegan protein powders, categorized according to needs.
First off, let’s discuss the benefits you’ll get from using vegan protein powders in your diet.
Don't have time to read the entire review?
If you're a busy person who doesn't have time to read this entire review, we've simplified everything. Here is a table to show you a quick rating of the best vegan protein powders to supplement your diet.
What Are the Health Benefits of Vegan Protein Powders?
The reasons for turning to vegan protein powder may vary, but a lot of the benefits remain the same across the board for all of these products. First, it provides your body with essential vitamins and minerals to supplement your daily intake from other food sources.
Vegan protein powder is an excellent source of calcium, iron, potassium, heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber. Fiber, in particular, helps keep your digestion tract moving at a healthy pace and prevents you from developing diverticulosis.
Fiber can also reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer. Because fiber is digested so slowly, it can also help you curb your mid-afternoon cravings because it will help you feel satiated between meals.
Vegan protein powders can also help improve your body composition and exercise performance as much as an animal-based whey protein. This means that they can help you obtain a body with the ideal percentages of fat, water, and muscle.
Part of this is due to the fact that vegan protein powders, and especially pea-based proteins, promote muscle development. Unlike fatty meats, vegan protein powder helps you build lean muscle mass, which in turn helps you burn more calories.
Plant-based diets are also becoming increasingly popular due to their ability to reduce the risk of heart disease and lower high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. This is especially the case if you are just beginning to swap animal-based proteins for plant proteins. In fact, even if you just replace a few of your animal proteins a week with plant proteins, you can reap these health benefits.
Finally, using vegan protein powder can reduce the risk of prostate and breast cancers and fight liver disease. The body of research linking the use of vegan protein powder with a reduced risk of cancer is rapidly growing and continues to look promising. Further, studies show that drinking vegan protein powder can reduce oxidative liver stress that can lead to chronic liver disease.
Now that you know the benefits of using vegan protein powder, how do you know which one is best for you?
How Do You Choose the Best Vegan Protein Powder?
You want to buy an organic protein powder rather than one that has been harvested using chemicals that could harm your health. This way, you avoid ingesting pesticides and other harmful substances that could have been used during the farming process.
Pesticides are known to lead to endocrine disruption, encourage tumor growth, and weaken the functioning of the immune system. Organic plant protein is also healthier than non-organic because organic food tends to have more nutritional content.
Has a great flavor.
Every protein powder has its own unique taste, depending on the protein source and the ingredients. Companies often use fillers or additional flavors to create flavors aside from the standard vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. Finding a flavor that you love is especially important because you will likely be consuming your protein powder every day.
You don't want to get something that you will quickly get tired of drinking. Some vegan powders have a very pronounced flavor or aftertaste, so make sure that you choose something that you would love to consume on a regular basis. These protein powders may seem expensive up front, so you want to make sure that you know you will use the whole container when you invest in one.
Goes well with other ingredients.
Sometimes you will use your protein powder for culinary dishes or smoothies. Make sure that its flavor goes well with the other ingredients that you may be using it with. This way, your protein will be more versatile. This will also help you to not get tired of the taste.
Check to see if your protein powder contains vitamins and minerals that take care of your daily requirements. Look for extras like probiotics that promote a healthy digestive system.
Protein powders that have amino acids and essential fatty acids in them can easily become a well-balanced meal that could take the place of superfoods. Your body needs vitamins and minerals to work at an optimal level along with the protein, so make sure your product isn't lacking in this department.
Your body uses 20 amino acids to build proteins. Out of those 20 amino acids, 9 are essential. You have to have all 9 of these amino acids in order to form a complete protein.
Some plant-based powders do not contain a complete protein, which is leaving your body deprived of nutrients that it needs. Make sure that the product you choose offers a complete protein. Look for products that get their protein from multiple sources, such as peas, sunflowers, chia seeds, and hemp.
What Else Should I Consider When Choosing Plant-Based Protein Powders?
Depending on your personal needs, there may be some other things that you will want to keep an eye on when looking for a vegan protein powder. For example, people with irritable bowel syndrome or those who are lactose intolerant should use powders that don’t contain sugars derived from milk, artificial sweeteners, or dextrins/maltodextrins.
Similarly, if you are sensitive to gluten, don’t buy a powder that contains gluten. Some people are also sensitive to soy, which may be present in vegan protein powders.
If you have other health problems, such as hypertension, kidney problems, or heart disease, you may want to avoid pea-based protein powders. These products are usually high in sodium, and might disrupt some people's health.
Lastly, if you get drug tested for work or any other reason, you may want to avoid proteins that are hemp-based. Drug-testing issues can happen with the consumption of hemp-based protein powders because of the presence of THC metabolites.
Keep your personal health issues in mind when shopping for a protein powder, and make sure to read the ingredients on the label before you purchase or consume a product.
Now, let's look at the healthiest plant-based protein powder products on the market today. Read each vegan protein powder review to see which one might be right for you.
The 5 Best Vegan Protein Powders to Supplement Your Plant-Based Diet
This protein powder is a very versatile product. It is the best option for nutrition on the go, for supplementing protein in shakes, and for using in culinary dishes. Everything in this protein powder is organic.
The first and main ingredient in this product is the protein blend, which is made up of pea, brown rice, chia seed, and hemp proteins. This means it offers a complete protein without soy, which some people choose to avoid in their diets.
Two scoops of this powder makes up one serving, which contains 150 calories. In that, there are 21 grams of protein, 3.5 grams of fat, and 15 grams of carbohydrates. It offers a creamy, nutty taste that users enjoy, even when it is only mixed with water. And even though there are no additives in this powder to increase the mixability, it still mixes with liquid, leaving behind little or no clumps.
This option also contains iron and calcium, which are two minerals that can be tough to get enough of when following a vegan diet.
This is the best overall option for anyone who wants a healthy meal—from professional athletes to weekend warriors to stay-at-home parents, office employees, and students. It has a high nutritional value, including 44 superfoods and a host of vitamins and minerals.
This protein powder is non-GMO, meaning it has no genetically modified organisms. It contains less than one gram of sugar per serving, and it is low in sodium, fat, and carbs. It also contains 1.5 billion CFU of probiotics and enzymes, which helps boost digestion and immunity.
The five grams of fiber offered in this protein powder amounts to 20% of the recommended daily value. This helps to slow down digestion, meaning it will keep you full between meals. It also contains 7 vitamins and 14 minerals that range from 6% to 50% of the recommended daily values for optimal health.
People generally like the taste of this powder, although some find it takes some getting used to. Also, it is great for people who suffer from allergies because it is free from gluten, lactose, soy, tree nuts, fillers, and artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives.
This is the best option if you are looking for nutritional supplementation and you are trying to lose weight. It does not offer as much protein as other options, with just 20 grams per shake, so it might not be right for you if you are trying to build muscle, but it has a lot of healthy ingredients that will cover your bases for overall nutrition. For example, it has a fiber and omega blend, medium-chain triglycerides for energy, a digestive enzyme blend, and prebiotics.
VeganSmart is on the lower end of the price scale, which makes it more accessible to people. It is also very easy to mix with liquids, and doesn't turn out to be too chalky (like some other protein powders) after it is incorporated with your liquid of choice.
People generally enjoy the taste of this protein powder, but some report a slight aftertaste. However, the smooth texture of this powder after it is mixed improves the likability of the taste for everyone.
This is the best option when it comes to flavor. It is especially ideal for those who love chocolate. The protein blend is made up of a variety of proteins, including pea, flax seed, quinoa, pumpkin seed, and chia. It does not contain soy or rice proteins. Many users report that, unlike some other protein powders, this one doesn't upset their stomachs.
This product also includes a digestive enzyme blend, as well as vitamins and minerals. Some vitamins that are especially high include 45% of the daily recommended dose of vitamin A, 60% vitamin C, 40% iron, and 50% vitamin D. There are a lot of other vitamins and minerals included, but they are in lower dosages.
The flavor is especially delicious, and it mixes pretty easily. However, it does settle with time, leaving some sediment at the bottom of your drink. It does keep people satiated between meals, making this a great option for people who are trying to reduce their snacking during the day. Users also find that their soreness following workouts greatly decreases when using this product.
This is the best product for bodybuilding, muscle development, and recovery. Vega Sport had the needs of athletes in mind when developing this plant-based protein powder. This powder offers a complete, multisource, plant-based protein blend that will help people meet their fitness goals.
This protein powder is comprised of pea, saviseed, sprouted whole-grain rice, and alfalfa proteins. By using multiple sources of plant-based protein, this product offers a full profile of amino acids.
Each serving has 131 calories, 2 grams of fat, and 4.5 grams of carbohydrates. The three main benefits to this protein supplement include 30 grams of plant-based protein, 6 grams of BCAAs, and one billion CFU of probiotics.
All the vegan protein powders reviewed today are the top choices when it comes to the best plant-based protein powders.
But the top product for today is Garden of Life Meal Replacement – Organic Raw Plant-Based Protein Powder in Chocolate, for the quality ingredients and high nutritional value.