Love it, Like it, Hate it: Vegan Protein Powders for a Plant-Based Diet

May 20, 2015 | Updated: 10:46 a.m., May 20, 2015

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Protein powder can be an easy way to get more protein, but if you follow a vegan diet, or you’re looking to incorporate more plant-based foods, or you have food sensitivities, you may be looking for alternatives to the common whey protein.

 

In today’s Love it, Like it, Hate it, we’re Getting the Skinny with Molly on her top picks – and worst bets –when it comes to vegan, plant-based protein powders.

 

Amino Acid 101:

  • Proteins are made of just 20 different amino acids; there are 8 essential amino acids that the body doesn’t make: isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptohphan, valine.
  • All of the following plant-based protein powders contain all of the essential amino acids
  • Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) Isoleucine, leucine, & valine make up large part of body’s muscle protein, speed recovery, reduce muscle fatigue, reduce muscle breakdown. Protein powders with additional BCAA’s may help to improve post-workout recovery even more effectively.

 

 

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How to incorporate protein powders:

  • Protein shakes
  • Stirred into a little milk/almond milk and poured over cereal or into oatmeal
  • In baked goods (can use in place of some of the flour)
  • In cooking (e.g. sauces, soups)
  • FYI: 20 grams protein is the equivalent of approximately 3 ounces of lean meat

 

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LOVE IT!

The following vegan protein powders are low in carbs + sugar and rich in protein, plus dairy-, gluten- and soy-free, with significant amounts of BCAA’s

 

Vega Sport Performance Protein

  • Per 1-scoop serving: 130 calories – 26 grams protein – 4.5 grams carbs – 0.5 grams fiber – 2.8 grams sugar
  • Sprouted grain + enzyme blend; plus 5300 mg glutamine + 5.3 grams BCAA’s

 

Garden of Life RAW Protein

  • Per 1-scoop serving: 90 calories – 17 grams protein - 4 grams carb – 3 grams fiber - <1 gram sugar
  • Sprouted grain protein blend + probiotic + enzyme blend; 3.8 grams BCAA’s

 

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Sun Warrior Blend

  • Per 1-scoop serving: 100 calories – 17 grams protein – 3 grams carb – 2 grams fiber – 0 sugar
  • Used in Smoothie King’s Vegan Smoothies like Nutty Super Grain & Mango Kale

 

 

LIKE IT!

 

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The following have a lower protein:carb ratio but are still very nutrient-dense and low in sugars:

 

Vega One Nutritional Shake

  • Per 1-scoop serving: 160 calories – 20 grams protein – 9 grams carbs – 6 grams fiber - <1 gram sugar
  • Protein from cracked grains + seeds + fruit/vegetable blends

 

GNC PUREDGE Complete Vegan Protein

  • Per 2-scoop serving: 140 calories – 20 grams protein – 13 grams carbs – 5 grams fiber – 2 gram sugar
  • Whole grain protein blend; 6,000 mg glutamine + 4 grams BCAA’s for muscle recovery

 

 

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BodyLogix Vegan Protein

  • Per 1-scoop serving: 140 calories – 25 grams protein – 10 grams carbs – 5 grams fiber – 0 sugar
  • Protein from: Pea, potato, chia seed, hemp seed, sprouted brown rice, and quinoa

 

 

 

HATE IT!

Protein powders with nearly as much carbs and/or sugar as protein

 

Genisoy Soy Protein Powder

  • Per scoop: 120 calories – 14 grams protein – 17 grams carb – 2 grams fiber – 15 grams sugar

 

Spirutein High Protein Energy Meal

  • Per scoop: 99 calories – 14 grams protein – 11 grams carbs – 1 gram fiber – 8 grams sugar
  • Fructose (sugar) is 2nd ingredient after the protein blend