Vegan protein powder can be used by body builders to help increase muscle mass. These powders are not usually needed for daily protein consumption in the vegan diet because as long as a vegan eats a varied and balanced diet, he will consume the required amount of protein each day. Some people use protein powders to supplement the protein intake or occasionally substitute a protein shake for a meal.
These powders can be created from a variety of protein sources; you have to decide which works best for you and your body-building routine.
Types of Vegan Protein Powders
In general, protein powders can be made from egg, whey from milk, soy and rice. Since both eggs and whey are restricted from the vegan diet, protein powders for vegans have to use protein from other sources. Sources include soy, hemp, brown rice and yellow pea.
Soy protein comes from soy protein isolate or soy protein concentrate. This type of protein powder contains many amino acids which are building blocks for important proteins to help build muscle and other functions. Soy proteins may lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease.
Hemp protein is made from hemp seeds which contain numerous essential fatty acids and essential amino acids. Since hemp proteins are similar to human proteins, they digest easily. Hemp protein does not contain gluten.
Brown Rice Protein
Brown rice protein is allergen-free and can be a good source of the branched amino acids that stimulate protein creation. Early research suggests that brown rice protein may improve glucose management in the blood stream.
Yellow Pea Protein
These powders are hypoallergenic, gluten free and low in fat and carbohydrates. The body is able to utilize the protein in yellow pea powders easily as well.
Sometimes two different types of protein powders may be mixed together to magnify the benefits of each protein powder.
Other terms that may important when looking at protein powders for vegans are:
- Raw -- This means that the source of the protein has not been cooked or treated with heat during the process. Raw powders maintain nutrient values that cooking might destroy.
- Organic -- This means that the protein source has not been exposed to conventional pesticides or synthetic fertilizers.
There is some controversy about soy protein powder. The impact of soy on men because of the phytoestrogens or dietary estrogens contained in soy is a concern. Soy protein isolate has also been associated with cancer; soy is highly processed to extract the isolate and the result can contain preservatives or sweeteners. The isolate has also been associated with thyroid problems. Because of the processing, some people suggest using soy protein powders sparingly.
Shopping for a Protein Powder
When selecting a vegan protein powder, there are several things to consider:
- One important factor in looking for a protein powder is the amount of protein needed per day. The recommended daily allowance of protein is about 0.45 grams for every pound of weight. Different protein powders contain different amounts of protein; researching the amount of protein that is actually available per serving of protein powder can help clarify which powder may be best.
- Looking for a raw and organic powder is important to many vegan body builders and athletic people. This can ensure that the powder contains the most vitamins and nutrients possible.
- Since the powder is going to be mixed into shakes or drinks or sprinkled on foods, taste and texture can influence preference for a specific powder. Sampling different protein powders is the only way to make this determination.
There are many choices in vegan protein powders created from each type of protein - as well as combination powders. Experimenting with the different powders allows the users to make the best selection for themselves.