Looking for a Vegan Protein Shake? Try These 5 Types
Finding the best vegan protein shake may seem intimidating at first glance. There are so many options, from soy and hemp protein to brown rice and even pea protein! Before you buy a vegan protein shake, read up on the different types of protein powders for plant-based diets, to make sure you buy one that supports your specific goals.
Types of Vegan Protein Powder
1. Pea Protein
Yes, pea protein comes from peas — but not the green ones from your garden. Instead, pea protein comes from drying and grinding yellow peas. It doesn’t include common allergens like milk or soy, making it a favorite among those with dietary restrictions or common allergies. It also provides branched-chain amino acids — especially important for your muscles.
When compared to placebo in a 2015 study, pea protein helped yield bigger biceps gains. However, whey provides all nine essential amino acids in adequate amounts, whereas pea protein has them but not in adequate amounts.
2. Soy Protein
Soy protein comes from dried and ground soybeans.
Soy protein is slower to digest than whey or pea protein, and whey came out on top in a 2009 study looking at muscle protein synthesis.
3. Hemp Protein
Hemp protein comes from hemp seeds. While it contains omega-3 fatty acids, hemp protein does not have all nine essential amino acids in adequate amounts.
It’s usually well-digested, but there’s not a lot of research out there yet on hemp protein and muscle building.
4. Brown Rice Protein
Brown rice protein is another plant-based protein. Like pea protein, it does not include common allergens, like milk or soy, and easy to digest. Also, it does not have all nine essential amino acids in adequate amounts.
Brown rice protein held its own against whey in a 2013 study comparing the two. The college-age men who consumed brown rice protein powder after strength training saw similar gains in power, strength, and lean body mass as those who consumed whey protein.
5. Mixed Plant Protein
Many brands blend several types of plants into one protein powder or shake. This is usually to boost protein content or to create a more complete source of protein. Compare the labels and read the ingredients list to see which plants made the cut.
Best Type of Protein Powder for Muscle Gains
Consuming protein after a workout stimulates muscle protein synthesis (which increases after you exercise!). If you consume dairy, whey protein isolate is both easily digestible and fast-releasing to support lean muscle growth and repair.
However, if you’re on a plant-based diet or don’t consume dairy, pea protein is a great alternative to help you get gains. Pea protein may provide similar results to whey protein in helping you build muscle — when it’s part of your nutrition and workout plans.
Best Type of Protein Powder for Weight Management
When it comes to maintaining your weight, don’t overlook protein: A 2015 study found that in the last two decades, diets that are higher in protein have consistently helped support weight management.
Proteins, including plant-based sources like pea protein, can help you feel full. That can keep you within your ideal calorie range for weight management.