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

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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.



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





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



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





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



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





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

1 Comment

  • Erin Baker Ulrich

    This is nonsense, There is no need for protein powders on a vegan diet. Humans need 6% of their calories from protein. When the research was done they added two standard deviations which made the recommended daily intake aproximately 9% of calories consumed. This level is easily met on a vegan diet. Here is a paragraph from an article about protein on the PCRM website;
    “The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein for the average adult is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight.2 To find out your average individual need, simply perform the following calculation: Body weight (in pounds) x 0.36 = recommended protein intake (in grams) However, even this value has a large margin of safety, and the body’s true need may be lower for most people. Protein needs are increased for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. In addition, needs are also higher for very active persons. As these groups require additional calories, increased protein needs can easily be met through larger intake of food consumed daily. An extra serving of legumes, tofu, meat substitutes, or other high protein sources can help meet needs that go beyond the current RDA.” What people need is a balanced whole food plant based diet, not more processed “foods”. Processed food are the problem not the solution.

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