If I talk about What is the BEST Vegan Protein Powder around here,
And I feel that I haven’t yet justifiably cover protein discussion for my wonderful folks that aren’t as privy to animal consumption.
For the sake of helping as many people as I can,
It’s only right that I do my best to provide objective information on plant-based supplements.
But I do want to preface this article with the disclaimer that I personally have no experience with vegan supplements.
Because of this,
I will be relying quite heavily on external research and other protein-based information.
With that in mind,
Let’s talk about the best vegan-based protein powders.
Soy vs Rice vs Pea What is Best Vegan Protein Powder
First, let’s cover what exactly we need in a good protein supplement.
Other than simply the total protein per serving,
There are two factors often considered as crucial to a protein supplement’s effectiveness:
It’s biological value and its amino acid profile.
In short, biological value is the measurement of a protein’s value based on its level of absorbability.
This is commonly measured through nitrogen balance.
Now, the entire essence of biological values and nitrogen balance is quite complicated (and this is, at best, a very very big simplification).
But the most important thing to understand here is that the more our body can absorb a protein, the more it can be used to make bodily proteins.
Amino acid profile
This factor is more straightforward.
It’s simply a protein’s composition of amino acids, aka the body’s building blocks.
Our interest is to consume proteins that contain amino acids that our body itself cannot make.
These are known as ESSENTIAL amino acids.
Protein sources that contain all essential amino acids are known as a complete protein.
For fitness goals,
We probably want more of the essential amino acids that help build muscle is known as branched-chain amino acids, aka BCAAs.
The BCAA leucine is of greatest paramount for its role in muscle protein synthesis.
Now, taking these things into consideration, What would then be the best vegan protein supplement?
In all honesty,
The three most popular vegan supplements, soy, pea, and rice proteins, all can be very effective.
Based on the current scientific literature, all have shown to increase markers of muscle growth quite effectively, at times even as great as the arguably best protein supplement known as dairy whey protein.
There is a caveat though.
When studies do pit these plant-based protein powders against whey protein, it always has to be a large serving.
This is due to its relatively lower leucine content, that muscle-building BCAA we talked about.
Whey protein is far and away much more leucine-dense.
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Some studies show that one needs as much as 50 grams of plant-based protein versus half that in whey in order to reach similar leucine thresholds.
But if we disregard its comparison to whey, how do these vegan powders stack up to one another?
When considering the biological value and amino acid profile, out of the three most studied plant-based powders, SOY is perhaps the best option.
Soy has the highest digestibility rate out of all plant proteins and also a decent amount of all essential amino acids, although only middle-of-the-road in terms of leucine content.
The only area it might be lacking is in the essential amino acid methionine.
Its robust profile and absorbability make it stand slightly above its other plant-based counterparts.
This is only in terms of protein sources in ISOLATION.
Things change a bit when we introduce protein BLENDS to the argument.
In this matter, the mixture of 70% pea plus 30% rice protein is the best option.
With this blend, you’re once again getting all the essential amino acids but with leucine yields greater than soy in isolation.
More importantly, pea and rice make up for each other in places they each lack.
Pea is poor in methionine like soy but high in the amino acid lysine.
Rice, on the other hand, is low in lysine but have moderate amounts of methionine.
70/30 pea to rice mix yields perhaps the best amino acid profile one can get from plant-based proteins which arguably makes it the BEST protein powder supplement for vegans.
To be frank, any of these vegan supplement powders CAN work fine, as long as you’re treating them as to how they’re supposed to be treated – as supplements.
The goal is still to aim at getting most of your protein and nutrients from whole food sources.
And only if there are gaps to fill, then any of these protein powders should work just fine.
Perhaps other factors like flavouring, allergies, and GMO sentiments would dictate your choice more so than the subtle differences in the “completeness” of each protein.
Ultimately, you should enjoy the one that you… enjoy!
And also, let me know what that is in the comments.
Are you a single plant-protein kind of person or do you appreciate a blend?
Let me know!
If you enjoyed this article, please give it an amino thumbs up and share it with your vegan-loving friends.
As always, thank you for make it till the end and…
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